Taste Test: The Margherita Pizza at Jimmy's Bar and Oven

Welcome to Taste Test, where Chowder contributor Fiona Coxe samples buzzy dishes around town — and finds out whether they are worth the hype.

The Margherita Pizza at Jimmy's. (Photo by Fiona Coxe)

It was a hot night in July when I first dined at Jimmy’s in Brookline. It opened just a few nights before and, predictably, the service was poor, and the food, though it showed promise, missed the mark on several counts. Fast forward a few months — a cool breeze blowing through their open wall of windows — when I returned to Jimmy’s for a second try.

Jimmy’s, though it sports an industrial ambiance, serves Italian-inspired dishes, with pizza, pasta and salads comprising the majority of the dinner menu. Pizza isn’t a new concept, of course, but owner Jimmy Hamelburg, a Brookline native, zeroes in on the basics: the dough, the sauce, and the oven.

The dough is mixed, kneaded, rolled and tossed from scratch every day. The sauce, a unique blend of tomatoes, herbs, wine and Parmesan cheese, is also made fresh — and it’s the same sauce you’ll find in Jimmy’s pasta dishes. The oven is an of-the-moment Wood Stone model (find them at Area Four, The Salty Pig, and Jody Adams’ forthcoming Trade, too), which blasts the pies at a blistering 920 degrees for just 6 minutes each.

On my return trip, I stuck to a classic Margherita pizza. Elegant in its simplicity of ingredients, Jimmy’s version seriously delivers in flavor. The thin crust bakes up until it’s perfectly crispy, which delivers a wonderful charred flavor. But that’s not to say that the thin crust can’t support a hefty dose of toppings — the chefs at Jimmy’s certainly aren’t shy with their cheese, and the pie is finished off with a fine sprinkling of sweet basil.

In short, the servers have stepped up their game since the opening, the prices are fair, and Jimmy’s has become a solid place to have a meal — and you can’t go wrong with the Margherita pizza.

Jimmy’s Bar and Oven, 1653 Beacon St, Brookline. 617/277-2774, jimmysbarandoven.com.