Deep Fried Burrata
Hail Mary
68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11222
★★★★★

Hail Mary has the feel of a 1950s diner going through a slight identity crisis. Retro, metal-legged chairs are juxtaposed with white tufted booths and Tiffany lamps. Each table has neatly arranged place settings complete with cloth napkins, yet the place is wallpapered to the nines and loaded with things you’d expect find in your grandparent’s basement. I kinda liked it.

We arrived on rather sleepy Sunday night. The main dining room was nearly empty save for one couple preoccupied with a slice of mile high funfetti cake. The three of us sat down at a booth and ordered a round of cocktails: “Bourbon Banana Split,” “You Ignorant Slut” and “No Hombre Left Behind.”


Then we turned to the dinner menu and zeroed in on the reason we had ventured to Greenpoint: “Deep Fried Burrata / Spicy Marinara.” We ordered two because real talk, how often do you cross paths with battered and fried burrata? Up until this point, never.

As we waited with bated breath, 80s hit after 80s hit after 80s hit played in the background—everything from Billie Jean to Jessie’s Girl to The Final Countdown. The latter of which was almost too apropos.


THE BURRATA 

When the waitress set down the two deep fried burratas, I asked myself the obvious. Should we have ordered three?

A golden brown orb of deep fried heaven was delicately positioned over a layer of chunky marinara and topped with finely sliced basil, a healthy amount of freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. 

I picked up a fork and knife cut through crisp outer shell, past the layer of gooey mozzarella to the Stracciatella and cream inside. I constructed an amuse bouche with each element of the dish and took the bite. I’m tempted to use the phrase “flavor explosion,” but I’ll refrain from borrowing a line from Guy Fieri and say it was outrageously good. 


It’s incredible how the burrata maintained its integrity despite being tossed in flour, subjected to a buttermilk bath, dipped in breadcrumbs and dropped into the gauntlet of the deep-fryer. Perhaps it’s the fact that Hail Mary imports their hard-crafted burrata each Thursday from “a guy” across the Atlantic in Puglia, Italy.

The three us devoured the deep fried burratas. After savoring the first few bites, the remainder practically teleported into our stomachs. You can’t even imagine the roller coaster of emotions when we finished and then the chef brought out a third burrata on the house.

 

THE SAUCE

The menu described the sauce as “spicy marinara,” but the heat is much less pronounced than the description suggests. The sauce was definitely chunky, but there was also this broth quality to it that added a certain level of richness, saltiness and sophistication. The sauce elevated the other aspects of the dish and complemented the vast array of flavors and texture.


THE TAKEAWAY

It’s impossible to rate this dish on the dimensions of a typical mozzarella stick, but we did our damnedest below. Suffice it to say, the deep fried burrata from Hail Mary is greater than the sum of its parts. Individually, each aspect of the dish maybe didn’t score a 5, but they came together to create an experience that’s worthy of a solid 5.


UPDATE

2/14/17 — Hail Mary has permanently closed its doors. For those of you who had the privilege of trying the deep fried burrata, relish in its memory. For those of you who didn't, at least you got to read this review :)


THE BREAKDOWN

Price $16 per burrata
Crispiness
★★★★★
Breading
★★★★★
Cheese
★★★★★
Gooeyness
★★★★★
Dip
★★★★★
Presentation
★★★★★
Overall
★★★★★