CARIBBEAN WOOD FIRED PIZZERIA IN THE CITY IS THE SECOND PHASE OF TWO BROTHERS’ CULINARY JOURNEY
BY MARIA BENVENUTI
Brothers Jermaine and Paul Burrowes have lived in Flatbush for over two decades. Originally from Guyana, they opened their first restaurant, MangoSeed, nearly ten years ago in Prospect/Lefferts Gardens. With Jermaine managing front of house and Paul creating recipes inspired by his home cook father MangoSeed has become a neighborhood destination for Caribbean fusion. They followed up in 2015 with ZuriLee Pizza Bar, “the first authentic Caribbean wood red pizza restaurant in the city,” as they describe it.
Named for the combination of Jermaine and Paul’s childrens’ middle names (Zuri and Lee), the restaurant is also an ode to their dad, only this time a tribute to his favorite food. Frequent pilgrims at legendary pizza joints like John’s and Di Fara, Jermaine and Paul were inspired to create their own version of a New York pizzeria, but with a hint of tropical influence and an emphasis on wood ring and scratch cooking.
One of the resulting pie surprises is the Oxtail, a blistered, airy crust adventure topped with mozzarella, shaved Grana ISLAND FIRE THIS FIRST CARIBBEAN WOOD FIRED PIZZERIA IN THE CITY IS THE SECOND PHASE OF TWO BROTHERS’ CULINARY JOURNEY BY MARIA BENVENUTI B QUICK BITE Padano cheese, and flavorful oxtail ragu made in house by braising whole oxtails, hand cutting, seasoning, then cooking them down for five hours. It’s a labor intensive process that yields (with the acknowledgement that it’s tough to use this term genuinely and accurately) a truly unique pie. Another standout is the Bake + Saltfish a riff on a traditional Caribbean breakfast in pizza form with a thicker crust topped with salted pollock, stracciatella, and Grana Padano. Other standouts include the Columbia (ricotta, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, stracciatella, and house made ZuriLee spicy honey, infused with scotch bonnet peppers), the Funky Flatbush (kimchi, taleggio, mozzarella, provolone) and the South American (mushrooms, mozzarella, beet and arugula salad, spinach pesto). There are also more traditional options like the “Bre[a]d 1,” a classic margherita pie. Side note: the Burrowes Brothers are avid sneaker collectors, so some of their pie names are references to classic Jordans.
Non pizza dishes include a variety of veggie centric options, all roasted in the wood fired oven: edamame is seasoned with truffle oil and sea salt; Brussels sprouts are re roasted and tossed with pearl onions, smoked trout, and a lemon drizzle; and cauliflower is bolstered with jerk chicken, Gorgonzola, and house made Flatbush hot sauce. Burger lovers will find a worthy choice in the Angus and lamb burger, with grilled pineapple, caramelized onions, chipotle aioli, and cheese, and wing fanatics will enjoy their Flatbush variety, tossed in house made buffalo barbecue sauce.
Bar cocktail faves among we reporters are the Crooklyn (bourbon, lemon, strawberry and black pepper jam, ginger ale), Casablanca (vodka, rose syrup, orgeat, lime, Peychaud’s bitters), and For a Few Dollars More (smoked pineapple and cinnamon infused bourbon over slow melting pineapple spheres). There’s also a sizeable selection of craft beers, vermouth, bourbons, ryes, scotches, and cognacs.
ZuriLee Pizza Bar
755 Flatbush Avenue / 718.513.608