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Edible South Florida Summer 2013 : Page27

Lucali BROOKLYN-STYLE Mark Iacono, the Brooklynite chef and owner of Lucali, has been called the “accidental pizzaiolo.” Nearly 10 years ago he took over the space of a beloved Carroll Gardens candy shop that was closing, with no purpose other than to save it from becoming another generic chain. A granite and marble worker by trade, he spent a couple years building the place out by himself – and learning to make pizza. When Lucali finally opened, it immediately became one of New York’s iconic pizzerias, with constant lines and frequent celebrity visitors. A few months ago, Iacono opened a South Beach outpost of Lucali, in the burgeoning Sunset Harbour neighborhood that now has as many good restaurants as it does body shops and tow lots. In his uniquely hands-on way, Iacono designed the space to recreate the look and feel of the Carroll Gardens original, and temporarily closed the flagship while he worked on adapting his “Brooklyn-style” pizzas (as the servers call them) to the Miami climate. Lucali, like Iacono himself, seems to have one foot in the old (Italian-American wise-guy) Brooklyn and one foot in the new (artisan hipster) Brooklyn. There is a beautiful minimalism to the whole operation. A white marble counter wrapped around the oven serves as the kitchen, with all the ingredients needed for pizza assembly arranged on it like a still life. The dough is rolled out with a wine bottle, ladled with sauce, fresh mozzarella, a grating of parmigiano reggiano and – if requested – shavings of fresh vegetables or pepperoni, before taking a quick trip into the combination gas-and wood-fired oven. When it comes out, the pizza is garnished with a shrubbery’s worth of fresh basil, still bright and green. The sauce, which originated with a recipe from Iacono’s grandmother, is simple and pure in its tomato flavor; it’s so good many people get an extra bowl of it. The crust, pocked with air bubbles, offers more crunch than chew. It’s a pizza that succeeds through balance rather than flamboyance, a perfect marriage of great ingredients. Lucali’s menu is an exercise in brevity. There is one size of pizza, available with a choice of about a half dozen toppings; a calzone; a couple salads listed on the specials board; and a couple desserts (including an excellent dessert pizza topped with Nutella and sweetened ricotta cheese). It may also induce sticker shock – the base model pizza starts at $24, with toppings $3 each (or $8 for the long-stemmed Italian artichokes). But this is a big pizza, probably about 20 inches across, unlike the typical 12-inch, single-serving Neapolitan style pies. It’s made for sharing with someone who will appreciate it. edible SouthFlorida.com ∙ summer 2013 ∙ +0 Lucali 1930 Bay Road Miami Beach 305-695-4441

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