Basil Pizza and Wine Bar Review

by Frayda
personal pizza pie at Basil pizza and wine bar in crown heights

Basil is a fine-dining restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They serve dairy, with a specialty in wine and wood-oven pizza. The Kosher Cactus visited in June of 2021. This review was written in July of 2021. 

Where is Basil located? What is the best way to get there?

interior shot of basil from inside the restaurant with view of outside
A giant butcher-block dining table seats parties of 6 or more

 Basil is located at 270 Kingston Ave, at the corner of Lincoln Rd.

Basil is open from 12PM- 10PM, Monday through Thursday, is closed on Fridays, and is open seasonally from 2 hours after sunset on Saturdays.

You can take the 3 train to get to Basil- the Kingston Avenue station is less than 1 block away. You can also drive. We found parking on Eastern Parkway about 2 blocks over, which is not too bad. Occasionally there is parking on St Johns Place, which is a block further than Lincoln. 

If you are planning on drinking (it is a wine bar, after all), your best bet might be a car-service. 

Does Basil deliver food?

You can order food from Basil for delivery via their website, JMenu, UberEats and more. From what I can see, almost the entire menu is available online. 

Do I need to dress up fancy to visit?

house made basil spiced fries with parmesan cheese at Basil in crown hieghts
Basil’s house fries with -obviously- basil

You certainly can dress up if you want to, but you will not be expected to. Depending on the time of day that I visited (I’ve been a few times), I’ve worn different outfits in varying levels of fancy. No need to go all out, but if you want to freshen up your lipstick, who am I to stop you?

What is the service like at Basil?

It used to suck. I’m being honest here; I didn’t visit Basil for almost two years (around 2018) because the service was so awful.

They have seriously turned around.

This visit was a total pleasure. Everyone was kind, considerate of our needs and on-the-ball for the entire evening.

We were seated quickly, we were helped efficiently, the bill came promptly when we asked for it…

Congrats, Basil. You guys did real good. 

What is the vibe at the restaurant?

interior shot of inside Basil restaurant in New York
A show while you eat! Basil’s open-air pizza oven is visible to all patrons

The restaurant space is really beautiful, in a modern sort of way.

When you sit inside, the space is open directly to the kitchen. Part of the fun while you eat is watching the pro chefs do their thing. T

here’s giant glass drop-lights, exposed brick walls, a feature wall of hundreds of wine bottles and a giant butcher block table for large groups to sit.

Basil also has outdoor seating. There’s a few tables on the sidewalk, and a street-eating block directly on Kingston Avenue. Now that the weather is nice, it’s really pleasant to sit outside. The space is well-lit, and has a roof to protect from the elements. 

What type of food does Basil serve?

Basil’s specialty is pizza, and it does not disappoint. Every pie comes with a thin, crispy, piping-hot crust, delicious flavours and original toppings.

The restaurant also has pasta- house-made, with incredible sauces.

The menu itself is fairly compact- just 1 page for lunch and supper each.

Personally, I think that is how you can tell that a restaurant is really good- they have worked on and perfected the same few dishes… when you order them, you are guaranteed  a fantastic dish.

What is on the Menu at Basil?

salad from Basil in Crown hights with arugula, beets, rainbow radish, orange
It’s healthy, and it looks like a party. How can you say no to this?

Ok, first of all: Arancini Balls. This is actually a cost-efficient way for restaurants to repurpose leftover risotto, but don’t let that fool you- these are AMAZING. A crispy, fried exterior, with soft rice and mushrooms inside, and little bites of cheese inside… so good. So, so good. Arancini Balls are served with a basil cream, micro-greens and halved cherry tomatoes. 

The Bianca Pizza. It has garlic confit. On the pizza. And ricotta cheese. And fresh herbs. I mean, whoever made this up must have snuck into my dreams first. 

Basil Fries. Never a disappointment. Just simple house fries served with fresh herbs (hello, Basil) and parmesan cheese. 

Two Eggs Any Style. It’s a fancier way of saying a ‘breakfast special’, with a fancier dish. 2 eggs, any style you want, plus home fries, salad and bread. How can you say no to that?

Salmon Burger. For the record, I usually think salmon burgers are a waste of space. (If I’m at a meat restaurant, I’m getting meat! If I’m at a dairy restaurant, why would I order a burger?) This one happens to be really fantastic. It has a garlic aioli sauce, and it somehow changes the composition of the flavor. It doesn’t taste like a traditional burger- and that’s a good thing! (I mean, do you want a burger at a dairy restaurant?) There’s also portobello mushroom, tomatoes and some lettuce inside.

What else?

  • Starters
  • Salads
  • Eggs
  • Pizzas
  • Pastas
  • Fish
  • Dessert
  • Drinks
  • Wines

What is the Hashgacha at Basil?

Basil is under the Kosher supervision of the OU. All dairy food is chalav yisrael, all breads and pastries are pas yisroel. All wine is Mevushal. 

Is Basil wheelchair accessible?

Sadly, Basil is not fully wheelchair accessible inside the restaurant, and there is no accessible restroom. For the brave amongst you, however, there is outdoor seating that can easily accommodate a wheelchair. 

How was the wait?

creme brulee dessert at Basil Pizza and Wine Bar, with fruit ontop
Creme Brulee #thePicSaysItAll

At supper time, the restaurant gets very full, and very busy. The wait staff were great, and led us to a table very quickly. Our order was taken as soon as we were ready to place it.

Because of the crowd, our food did not really arrive properly- all the dishes arrived at once, instead of staggered, even though we had ordered appetizers and mains. And then, one of our mains did not show up for almost 35 minutes, and we had to remind the waitstaff twice.

Honestly though, the staff were super gracious and apologetic about the mistake, so no hard feelings. 

Does Basil serve desserts?

Basil has a dessert menu available on request.

We ordered a Brownie Sundae. It was huge. 5 scoops of caramel ice cream, small chunks of brownie cake, hot fudge and sprinkles on top- this could have easily served a table of 6+.

Other options are Creme Brulee (always a winner), Basil Ice Cream (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!) and many more. 

Do I need to make a reservation?

Ideally, yes. Usually, yes. You might get lucky if you show up without a reservation for brunch or lunch, but supper hour is almost always packed. You can make a reservation online at Basil’s website, or call to reserve. 

Does the menu at Basil have vegetarian options?

espresso drink with ice cream inside affogatto
The best way to end your visit- Affogato

The restaurant is dairy, so everything is vegetarian.

There are some vegan options, like the Pappardelle Pasta (ask for no sour cream). Some of the salads are also vegan- or you can ask your waiter what they’d recommend.

If you ask, there are also diet-friendly, Whole-30 approved, paleo and Keto tweaks that the chef can make to accommodate you. 

How is Basil dealing with COVID-19?

As of June 2021, most COVID-19 precautions are slowing down in NYC. You can wear a mask until you are seated if you want to, and the wait staff will wear a mask at your table if you indicate that you’d like them to. 

Final Thoughts:

Basil is a lot of fun. The staff is great, the ambience is excellent, and the food is truly incredible. We ordered 2 apps, 2 mains, dessert and just 1 drink (and one designated driver, lol). We also ordered a bottle of sparkling water for the table. Our total bill was $152.

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