(CNS Foodie): I was excited when I first heard about a pizza/pasta place opening in Camana Bay (because I love pizza). So when The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta opened in 2015, I eagerly grabbed a quick bite with a friend but, unfortunately, wasn’t all that impressed. The pizza was either trying too hard or bored me to tears, and the pasta dish I tried was lacklustre. But that was then and this is now. Brooklyn has finally come into its own.
Finding a family-friendly place to eat, with a nice atmosphere that won’t break the bank, can be tough in Cayman. Throw quality food into the wish list, and you’re even more hard-pressed, but The Brooklyn does a pretty decent job of offering a diverse menu of real, hand-prepared dishes for both big and small tummies as well as the simple to complex palate.
To start, we ordered the Mediterranean calamari and mac & cheese fritters. We’re calamari connoisseurs so I wasn’t too sure about the “Mediterranean” business but the preparation was really lovely and became a welcome change to the same old fried with aioli dish. Thankfully they were still crispy fried (perfectly I might add – as we know how disappointing it is to get rubbery calamari) but tossed with artichokes, olives, pan-roasted tomatoes and lemon. It kind of made me feel like I was not eating fried food but a light and vibrant seafood dish. The mac & cheese fritters were weird but good. They were just what you’d think – mac & cheese balls rolled in breading and fried crispy. We enjoyed them but they were rich so our 2 year old could really only eat one.
Our friends ordered mussels, which arrived in a tasty garlic and white wine broth, and the garlic toasts they came with were great for dipping (as they should be), but I thought the portion a bit small. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the adorable complimentary flowerpot bread. It’s literally baked in a terracotta flowerpot, a golden brown bulb with a nice sprinkle of salt on top. Our son loved this bread; I had to keep it out of his sight so he didn’t fill up on it. You will, too, so be careful!
At last, the pizza. We ordered a “fun guy” and a supreme. Now I’m not a huge fan of truffle oil. I think it’s widely over used. But I looooove mushrooms, and I wanted to taste the dish as it’s intended, so while I didn’t love the truffle oil part, the pizza overall was pretty yummy. It was a little on the rich side but it was exactly what the menu said it would be.
The supreme was your standard recipe with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and peppers. I expected there to be some sausage but there wasn’t. Still, it too was pretty yummy. The veggies were fresh, the sauce was tangy and didn’t taste tinned. The cheese was your general nondescript mozzarella but it was added in the correct proportion so there was enough to be gooey but not too much to weigh the whole pizza down.
The crust, which is half of what makes a good pizza great, is your standard “thin crust” and pretty darn good. It had a light consistency but still enough body to hold the toppings (even in the middle) and toothy enough to really have something to chew.
We also ordered a beet salad and a kids’ penne with marinara sauce. The salad was OK except the honey mustard dressing with goat cheese didn’t work for me. The penne was just what you’d expect — penne pasta and tomato sauce. It was a good size portion, though, and we took some home.
Our friends ordered the short rib pappardelle and the carbonara, both of which were delicious. The pappardelle was a bit rich but what I thought was going to be bland and boring based on its appearance was quite flavourful from the rib juice and broth. Carbonara, which is usually way to heavy for me, was actually really well done with a lighter (more authentic) version of the dish.
Our server was fairly attentive, though I think he kept forgetting about us sitting on the front couches, as we were a little out of sight. The beer selection was quite good, which is a nice thing to see. We ordered two beers and two glasses of wine and with the included 15% gratuity, it came to $165 for four adults. That’s not too bad for how much we ordered.
While we weren’t blown away by anything specific, overall we all enjoyed what we ordered and felt we got our money’s worth. Add to that the fabulous atmosphere of sitting outside watching a charming live band called “Little Magic” play some tunes, the sunlight setting on the canal, and the energetic bustle of the Crescent in Camana Bay and you have a really nice evening out.