F, G, R at Fourth Ave.-9th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
16th St. to Flatbush Ave., Prospect Park West to Fourth Ave.
Albanese pizza is the storefront equivalent of a Ringling Brothers clown car: Just when you’d think the tiny shoe-box shop—with a half-dozen black-marble tables, generic murals, neon window-trim, and a lone computer in its Internet Café—couldn’t squeeze another entrée, hero, hot-pasta plate, or handmade pie out of its kitchen, they do. The immodest menu touts ten varieties of chicken, sixteen heroes, baked pastas galore, 24 hot and cold appetizers, and, not to be forgotten, more than a dozen hand-shaped pies, from personal mini pies to eight-slice, thin-crust traditional rounds and thick-crust (yet airy) twelve-slice Sicilian rectangles with sauce, cheese, and toppings traditional, nuovo, and (unfortunately) canned. Locals tout the pasta specials, like gnocchi, pasta with vodka sauce, and fettuccine or tortellini Alfredo, but most diners go for slices or whole pies, which showcase a lovely crispy crust (thin or thick, depending), too often marred by second-rate toppings. The lasagna pie is a meat- and cheese-dense brick, aimed at a beer-steeped Super Bowl crowd, but the delicate Sophia Loren pie is its tasty opposite: Crisp and thin crust, sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, ribbons of basil, and abundant fresh garlic add up to midsummer on a (paper) plate. If you’re nearby, mangia bene; if not, keep walking.Pan Pies
Albanese’s signature six-slice “pan pies” are easy to share, with vegetarian toppings like pesto, broccoli rabe (enriched with optional ricotta), or mozzarella topped with vodka sauce.Recommended Dishes
Sophia Loren pie, $17