Fratelli’s Coal Fire Pizza is a welcoming new comer to the highly competitive pizza game in northern NJ, opening their doors in early January 2013.
Since opening their doors we have visited them over a dozen of times and I am happy to report they have become one of EATOUTNJ’s go to places to get one of the best pizza’s NJ has to offer.
The owners of Fratelli’s are not new to the pizza or Italian food business, before opening Fratelli’s they successfully ran Travatto’s a zagat rated Italian eatery which transformed into what is known as Fratelli’s today and they continue to run another restaurant by the same name of the former in Oakland.
From your first steps through the door you’re welcomed with the sight of a majestic large Coal Fire Oven that sits to the right of the dining tables. The restaurant’s dinning room is not large, only approx 15 tables, which gets packed on the weekends.
On the other side of the dining tables sits a circular bar which provides ample seating to those seeking a quality beverage while catching a game, but as you may have guessed we did not come here for the game, but rather to get a taste of their pie.
On our last visit we started with their coal-fired wings.
The wings are an Italian/American twist on your staple hot wing. But instead of being fried and tossed in hot sauce these bad boys are roasted in the coal fire oven to a perfect crisp with olive oil, vidalia onions and sweet red bell peppers. The wings are very reminiscent to the wings served at Anthony Coal Oven Pizza in Clifton.
The extreme high heat from the open fire imparts the crisp wings with a delectable smokiness while the sea salt & olive oil brings everything together and showcases the simplicity of rustic Italian cooking in the form of a chicken wing.
This appetizer is a winner and has only gotten better and better each of our last few visits as the chefs have gotten comfortable with the intensely hot coal oven. ($7.99)
On a few of our last few visits we have begun to order the shrimp beeps, which have become a go to item.
We continued our culinary adventure with an order of their shrimp beeps, a dish which has a deep history in Northern NJ Italian American cooking.
Today the dish is not found on many menus anymore, except for a handful of establishments such as the Belmont Tavern in Belleville which I hear has quite the history of its own.
I have never had shrimp beeps before ordering them from Fratelli’s but the easiest way to describe them it’s very similar to shrimp fradiavlo.
The order of plump 8 shrimp are lightly breaded and fried and topped with a spicy flavorful marinara sauce.
I’m not a fan of spicy sauces, but this is an exceptional dish and superb way to start your meal. I have ordered it just about every subsequent time since the first time ordering it. ($7.99)
The shrimps are very fresh, plump and meaty. Not overcooked at all. It pairs very well with the spicy yet extremely flavorful marinara.
On another visit our table ordered the fried “Calamare” no I did not misspell. This is how it is spelled on the menu, and believe it was intended by the ownership to spell it that way. Being raised from an Italian American household I learned from an early age, this was the “proper” north nj pronunciation, capiche. ($7.99)
This dish is another winner. I found the portion size to be a fair amount. Enough for three people to amply enjoy and start a meal.
The Calamare are lightly battered and fried to perfection. None of the calamari were overcooked, and they had a nice light crispy exterior yet were very tender inside. The excellent calamari comes paired with a side of sauce. You have the choice of sweet, medium and hot. I highly recommend the calamare, and honestly you can not go wrong with any of the three dishes to start your meal.
And now for the highlight of the meal, the pizza. It is something we’ve ordered every time we have eaten there. The pizza is one of the best Thin Crust Pizza’s in the general New Jersey area.
The pizzas are always cooked well done – Meaning very crispy is the standard.
The highlights of the pie are the use of quality ingredients such as high quality fresh mozzarella, sheep milk romano cheese, extra virgin olive oil, a freshly made san marzano tomato sauce, a crust made of quality flour; all of which is brought together by the use of a High heat coal fire oven.
All of this amounts to nothing if you don’t have an excellent pizza maker – who are an expert of their craft and know how to make a consistent pie and exhibit great control over a coal oven which can easily burn and overcook the food you bake in it.
The pizza is topped with high quality ingredients such as fresh mozzarella which is laid down on the pizza before the sauce is put on. And their is a very good reason for it; by placing the cheese on before the sauce helps keep the pie from getting soggy and allows the pie to retain more crispiness. The sauce is a very fresh tasting Mariana like sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes. It’s a bit tart yet is balanced with a touch of sweetness from the quality tomatoes.
The ratio of sauce to cheese is conservative. The pie is covered with one layer of thin slices of fresh mozzarella. The sauce is then sporadically placed throughout the pie. Not to little/ not to much.
The dough has a very nice consistency. It has a wonderful flavor, similar to a freshly baked chibata. There is a chewiness to the crust yet it has a wonderful crispy exterior. It is the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside.
The pie is baked to crispy perfection in about 3/4 minutes. This is an excellent representation of coal oven pizza and one of my favorite styles of pizza. So naturally this has become one of my go to pizzerias.
Between Pizza Town USA and Fratelli’s I have my two favorite pizzerias within two miles of my home.
The quality of their pie is second to none. The only other pizzerias’ of the same style or similar that I say is in the same caliber in the North NJ region I would say are Grimaldi’s of Hoboken, Queen Margarita in Nutley (Neapolitan style – cooked in a wood fire oven) and Amano of Ridgewood, (also Neapolitan style).
Brooklyn Pizza in Hackensack, used to be a favorite. It was the first place I ever experienced this style of pizza as a child. It used to be amazing, but as the owners branched out with a number of pizzerias throughout the region, the quality was affected and the standard of the consistency fell.
The prices are pretty consistent with pizza of this quality. $11.99 for a small and $14.99 for a large.
The service has always been attentive, the food at times can take a little while to come out. But it usually comes out fairly quick.
I give Fratelli’s 4.5 stars for the pizza – based on the quality of ingredients, the consistency of the thinness and crispness of the pie and its texture and taste.
The appetizers get a solid 4 overall – based on the amount given, the freshness and quality of the product, it’s execution and the taste and texture of the appetizers.
I highly recommend their pizza and all the dishes ordered, especially the wings and shrimp beeps.
Overall I give Fratelli’s 4 stars for consistency, service, quality of food and overall experience.
Fratelli’s Coal Fired Pizza can be contacted at:
206 Route 46 East
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407