Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship will tell you that most arguments start with where to get dinner. Hangry people can get a little mean.
Next time you feel yourself climbing the irritability scale, skip the fight and head straight to Ops. A few pizzas and some excellent wine does wonders for the mood, especially in this relaxed yet elegant former garage just off the Dekalb stop, a space that feels like a very cool person’s well-renovated living room.
Ops opened in October 2016 and still feels under the radar: Brooklyn’s pizza scene is crowded. It’s absolutely worth a visit for the range of pizza options and the wine selection full of deals.
When to go
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, Ops is a casual spot suitable for a Friday night out or any weekday that has included one too many meetings. Ops does not take reservations but waits are rarely more than 10 minutes. If you’re a party of two, there’s lots of bar seating to wait in and they offer excellent cocktails to pass the time.
There are a few fun bars in the area (Old Stanley’s is a personal favorite) so you can head to Ops after happy hour or use it as a kickoff for a night out.
Who to bring
Bring three friends or your SO and another couple, if you’re the double dating type. Four people can tackle a good amount of pizza and a bottle (or two) of wine. The booths here are a bit curved, so you’ll be sitting close to your crew. Make sure everyone eats gluten and dairy and is down with wine.
We see kids here fairly often and they’re typically happy and quiet (thank you, pizza). So if that’s part of your life, bring the whole family (just maybe before 8 or during lunch on the weekend, if possible). If your parents are in town, Ops is a great spot for them to bring you and your roommate or SO. It’s not too loud and they’ll feel proud of you for making it in New York.
What to order
First off, you’re drinking wine.
If you want variety, all the wines are $12 by the glass, and bottles range from $46-60. There are huge deals to be found here (champagne at $60 a bottle is a steal) but your best move is talking to the staff.
Give them a few oenological keywords and they’ll bring over some options for your entire group to try so one person doesn’t bear the enormous responsibility of choosing. Some phrases that have yielded delicious results: an orange wine from Italy that will remind me of Call Me by Your Name; a chilled red with chugging potential; a red that will go with pizza; something bubbly.
Once you select a bottle, you can confirm the price (there’s no upsell here) and they’ll leave it in the middle of the table to serve amongst yourselves. If you can’t reach a consensus, everyone’s free to try their own thing and order by the glass.
Once you’ve got wine, order the square pie.
It takes longer than the others but it’s the best thing they serve. If you grew up eating Elio’s frozen pizza, this tastes like a dreamy gourmet upgrade: the crust is thick and crispy, with a curly layer of parmesan on top, and a few olives and basil leaves hiding here and there. It’s large, so if you’re only two people you may have leftovers, which will make for a perfect breakfast.
To round out your meal, try one of the round pizzas, which use natural yeast and a starter to make a tangy, slightly chewy crust. Pizza spots are extremely specialized these days and it’s a treat to find a spot that can execute multiple styles. For the classic pies, we liked the Cicero, with lots of onions (they mean it), and the Margherita is cheesy with excellent tomato sauce. Ask for the house chili oil and use it liberally.
The Calzone, with rotating fillings, is highly instagrammable but skippable — get another pizza instead. The marinara sauce that comes with it should be sold by the jar and you might need an extra side of it for your crusts.
If you want something other than pizza, their salads change frequently and usually feature seasonal bitter lettuces and cheeses. The house bread (sold by the loaf if you want toast the next day) also uses natural yeast and comes alongside butter or a cheese plate. Choose the cheese plate.
As the food arrives, the staff will balance it on empty tomato cans in the middle of your table. At a certain point in your meal, as you fight for the last slices, it gets endearingly cluttered in a nostalgic way.
At the end of your meal, the bill is a delightful surprise: as at Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants in Williamsburg, where Ops’ owners originally met, service is included. The sum of the items you ordered is what you’ll pay. There’s no math involved and you’ll be free to linger, in considerably better spirits than when you arrived.