Sottocasa, a new Neapolitan style pizzeria has recently opened on Atlantic Ave. near Smith Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. I have been passing by for the last several weeks, noticing a “coming soon” sign, and eagerly looking forward to giving them a try when they opened, pizza fanatic that I am. Living in the area, I was hoping for decent neighborhood joint where I could satisfy my Neaoplitan-style pizza craving without having to travel too far afield.
Sottocasa is a located in a cozy lower level storefront, with minimalist décor. There is also a nice backyard with picnic style benches. A nice ambiance. When I dined there last week no wine or beer was available as they said their liquor license had not arrived yet (they said they were expecting it within days). The co-owners are Italian (as is much of the staff). One of them manages the front of the house while the other mans the oven. Always a good sign when the owner is there making the pizza. So far so good.
So how was the pizza? Our party got several pizzas, so I got to try a few. The benchmark regular Margherita was excellent, although with perhaps a bit too much extra snap from grated cheese sprinkled on top, masking the subtle flavors of the fresh mozzarella and sauce. The Radicchio, a white pizza with smoked mozzarella and hot sausage, was superb, although the sausage was sliced, not crumbled like I prefer. The stars of the show were probably the Laura and the Diavola. The Laura was made with speck and marscapone. A bit unusual in that the speck was cooked with the pizza and placed under the cheese in this pie, rather than layered on top after cooking. In any event, the flavor was exceptional. Perhaps the best of them all was the Diavola, which was topped with spicy soppressata and olives. This salty, briny pizza packs a massive flavor wallop. although the Laura was perhaps a bit more subtle and refined. My preference for one over the other may depend on my mood on any given evening.
Of course, the key to any good Neapolitan pizza is the crust. Here the crust was a winner. Flavorful and with a nice smokey char from the wood oven. The chef-owner apparently cut his pizza-making chops at Keste, but in my opinion he has exceeded that establishment’s crusts. Perhaps Keste’s crusts are more "authentic", but they are just too soggy for my taste. The same goes for the recently opened Forcella. Sottocasa makes a crust that is compliant, but not too soggy. A bit more like Motorino, but with a better texture. Overall one of the best Neaopolitan-style crusts I have tried.
The pizza chef came out personally to see how our table was doing and ask how we liked our pizzas, something I always appreciate.
I can’t wait to return to try some of the other pies, as this place has reached the pizza pantheon right off the bat. I hope they can keep it up. And if they can up their sausage game, I think they might be a strong contender for the best Neapolitan style pizza place in New York City.
I was hoping for a good neighborhood spot, but this place really exceeded my expectations. It is well worth a detour.
298 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201