Wheated was such a surprising disappointment. As we made our way to the Flatbush pizzeria, we were starving and super stoked, having read so many good reviews and seen the mouth-watering pictures. But what we didn’t take into account is that Wheated is likely the only somewhat decent pizzeria in Flatbush, an area not known to be a food mecca. So, in hindsight, the rave reviews were more likely from locals who were ecstatic that they no longer had to travel 30 minutes for a homemade pizza.
We needed to eat an early dinner, and we happened to arrive just a few minutes before the restaurant opened at 6 pm. They seated us immediately upon opening. We weren’t intentionally early, but that’s how the timing worked out, and thank goodness! Within a few minutes of opening, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. The dining room was packed, as was the patio, which seats over 20 people. We sat on the patio. It was nothing special, but it’s always nice to sit outside when the weather allows. And they have heat lamps to extend use of the patio into colder weather.
What I like about the menu is that all of the pizzas are named after Brooklyn neighborhoods. Fun touch. We ordered the “Ditmas Park” and the “Bay Ridge.”
The Ditmas Park is similar to the classic marinara, except it also has pecorino romano cheese. While most marinaras have no cheese at all, I’ve seen a number of places sprinkle just a touch of pecorino romano on for a little flavor, which is what I expected here. That was not the case. They were quite heavy handed with the pecorino romano, covering the entirety of the pizza with it. This was pretty unusual, and essentially contrary to the purpose of a marinara. Not necessarily a problem in and of itself, but when we tried it, the pizza tasted totally off. Our server sensed dissatisfaction and quite nicely offered to remake it. Thinking it was the pecorino, this time we ordered it without, hoping that would fix the problem. When the new one came out (very quickly, so props for that!), it was obvious the entire pizza was the problem.
The most notable problem was that the tomato sauce was incredibly acidic, strong and foul tasting. Very clearly not properly seasoned or reduced. It was like they took some harsh canned tomato sauce and dumped it on the pizza. In fact, I suspect that’s exactly what they did. Canned tomatoes are the base for most tomato sauces, but they are only a base and not the final product. Restaurants should cook, season, and craft canned tomatoes to make their own unique tomato sauce. I adore tomato sauce, whether marinara, pomodoro or red sauce. I normally love a thick helping, covering every inch of pizza. I’ve even been known to ask for extra tomato sauce on pizzas that didn’t provide enough. But in order to eat this pizza, I literally wiped every ounce of sauce off and essentially ate dough. And the dough was so mediocre, almost tasting packaged.
The Bay Ridge was better, mostly because it didn’t have that terrible tomato sauce. The Bay Ridge is a unique idea for a pizza, using a base of vodka sauce instead of tomato sauce. It also comes with fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, and fresh basil, so it’s essentially a classic margherita, but with vodka sauce. Love the idea. A good vodka sauce is so rich, creamy, and satisfying. But while this sauce was better than the tomato sauce (it had to be), it was still disappointing and weak. It was edible.
The mozzarella wasn’t good quality – quite rubbery, and it didn’t melt well into the pizza. The pecorino romano didn’t really affect it much because they only used a sprinkle (as they should). And the basil was… basil. The pizza was of the quality you would find at a national chain, which is terribly disappointing when you’re seeking quality, wood-fired pizza.
To end on a positive note, though, I will say the service is top notch. The servers are attentive, friendly, and accommodating. Everything you could really ask for. I only wish the quality of the food matched.