Mozzarella Sticks
Big Mozz
East River State Park
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
★★★★★

#TBT to warmer days…

Welcome to Smorgasburg—the place where Cup Noodles are reimagined as hamburger buns and rain drops are for whatever reason deemed an acceptable inspiration for cake. It’s a foodie’s paradise and home to over 100 unique food stalls. Word to the wise though—be prepared for tourists, long lines and empty pockets. 

We made the trek over to East River State Park back in August to taste the most hyped mozzarella sticks of last summer—Big Mozz. The setup was almost too good to be true: a generous amount of hand-stretched mozzarella, breaded and deep fried to form a dark outer crust, served piping hot with a side of homemade marinara. On this particular Saturday it felt like 1000 degrees, but we embraced the heat and felt the anticipation slowly build as we waited in a line that moved at a Smorgasburgian pace.


THE STIX

When the Big Mozz crew handed us our order, the group just stared at the mozzarella sticks in awe. They were just as advertised and definitely lived up to their name.


The actual presentation was nothing special, but the fact they were substantially larger than your typical mozzarella sticks helped. Ultimately, it was that quick-and-dirty, no frills presentation that’s customary at any street fair.

It was only when we picked up the sticks that our impression started to falter. They were greasy, like napkin-won’t-cut-it-wash-your-hands greasy. On closer inspection, the dark exterior was slightly overcooked and verging on burnt. Despite this, the breading managed to be crispy, crumbly and seemed well-balanced as far as seasoning was concerned. Little bits of stray breadcrumbs clung to the outer crust adding an additional dimension of crunch and making for a solid texture.


When we broke a stick in half, we were presented with an Instagram-worthy, velvety ribbon of cheese. But like most things on Instagram, the reality was quite different. Texturally, the hand-stretched mozzarella that I had held in such high esteem was as chewy as a 3-hour-old wad of Double Bubble. What was quoted on bigmozz.com as, “honest, small batch mozzarella” ended up tasting like burnt rubber. 


THE SAUCE

The double whammy came with the marinara sauce. It tasted like pureed tomatoes direct from a can with just the slightest hint of red pepper flakes. It was severely under seasoned and ultimately added almost nothing to the overall experience.


THE TAKEAWAY

As we all exchanged tacit stares, choking down the last globs of mozzarella, the reality of the situation began to set in. It’s hot. We’re dehydrated. The line was tedious. The sticks cost $2.50 a pop and they tasted like disappointment, like dad-missed-the-baseball-game-yet-again disappointment.


THE BREAKDOWN

Price $10 for 4 stix
Crispiness
★★★★★
Breading
★★★★★
Cheese
★★★★★
Gooeyness
★★★★★
Dip
★★★★★
Presentation
★★★★★
Overall
★★★★★