5 Dishes to Try at Sottocasa
Lauren Shockey The Laura pizza, the must-order pie
For this week's review, I headed out to Boerum Hill to visit Sottocasa, a new Neapolitan pizza place from Kesté alum Luca Arrigoni. I had stumbled upon the spot somewhat by chance early in December, and quickly fell for the sausage pizza and cozy, neighborhood vibe. No, it might not be the best pizza in the city, but it's well priced and the kind of place you want right around the corner (and to have on speed dial -- they deliver). So much so that I decided I wanted to review it. On my first visit, the eatery was fairly empty, but as I returned for three more visits, it seemed like word was getting out as the crowds clobbered in. For good reason, too: The pizza's tasty, with a good mix of traditional and newfangled pies. Here's what made it into my fave five.
1. The Laura: This pizza is named for Arrigoni's wife, so you'd expect it to be the best of the bunch. The pie is layered with tomato sauce, and then topped with mozzarella, thin slices of speck, creamy mascarpone, and rosemary, which really ties everything together. You don't see that herb on pizza regularly, and after eating the Laura, I'm going to lobby for its usage more often.
2. The Salsiccia: The pizza that wooed me in the first place. Frankly, just a quality, tasty sausage pie. I tended to prefer the red pizzas over the whites, which were slightly on the dry side. This one, sauced with tomatoes and sprinkled with mozzarella, can't be beat.
3. The Popeye: When a pizza's named Popeye, you sort of assume it's going to be virtuously healthy. Not the case here. Sure you've got a healthy dose of spinach ... underneath both mozzarella and a hefty portion of creamy ricotta. It's cheesy and gooey, and certainly delish.
4. The Radicchio: Of all the white pizzas I tried, this was my favorite. Slightly bitter from all the red chicory and plenty spicy from the crumbled hot sausage, but mellowed thanks to smoked mozzarella.
5. Pannetone: At a pizza place, the focus should be on the pizza, first and foremost. Here, you'll find a couple apps, but they are really just simple salads and can be skipped. Don't, though, overlook the desserts, which are decidedly tasty. The tiramisu is a good bet, but my top pick is the pannetone. Sure, it's a store-bought dessert, but hello, it's slathered with Nutella and basking in custard! It's sort of like the most decadent French toast you'll ever eat. And eat it soon, because pannetone is, unfortunately, a holiday staple and not a year-round treat. Though it damn well should be.