Who is Roger Dean Fischer?
From Berkeley Springs to Brooklyn, a tale of homemade bombs and coal-fired pizza.
There was this pizza place I used to go to. It was on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, a gentrifying strip if there ever was one. But it wasn’t cute or twee the way most new Brooklyn pizzerias are. Anselmo’s was old school, no nonsense. It had exposed brick, faux green marble tabletops, an overall tacky kind of charm. A close-up of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam hung off one of the walls. Like other Brooklyn pizza meccas, say Totonno’s in Coney Island or Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge, Anselmo’s relied on a coal-fire oven. For my taste it had some of the best pizza around—crust dusted in char; pliable, but not cardboardy like a “New York” slice, or limp and soupy like Neapolitan pizza; sauce hovering neatly in between tartness and sweetness. I usually took my pies with anchovies, which liquefied under the oven’s blistering heat.