It's been around for a while and it doesn't get quite the love of Lucali, the (deservedly) 10-ton gorilla of the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens area, but Sottocasa continues to serve up a mean pie in one of the most pleasant pizza place atmospheres you'll find in the city.
Unlike Lucali (or Grimaldi's/Juliana's, which are pretty overhyped at this point), Sottocasa is generally easy to get into and you don't feel like you're under siege being rushed out while you're sitting. I went last week with a friend and ordered the simple aglio olio, a white pie with mozzarella, ricotta, and garlic, plus chili flakes and basil. The crust to topping ratio was perfect, with enough structural integrity and flexibility to fold the slice, but not an excessive amount of dough. The crust itself, as I've always found at Sottocasa, was a good balance of crunch and chewiness, perhaps a little toward the chewier side, which I like. Nicely browned but not burned.
Fresh ingredients make all the difference, and Sottocasa’s sparkle.
There are a few other pies I've particularly enjoyed the past few times I've dined at Sottocasa. There's the red pie with burrata, cherry tomatoes, and sea salt. (This is only available on weekends, but since you can get a seat on a weekend, you don't have to kill someone to get a chance to try it.) The classic margherita is very satisfying as well, which, if a pizza place can't do margherita right, it's to be suspicious of.
My friend had a light appetite and ordered the prosciutto and mozzarella appetizer, which comes with arugula. It was $15 and expected it to be a depressingly small little thing, but when it came out it was just a heaping plate (could be split by four or five for an appetizer). It was similarly delicious, very fresh mozzarella and not-too-fatty prosciutto. I experimented by putting a bit of each ingredient on a couple slices of my aglio olio, which worked out well. An aglio olio with prosciutto and arugula could definitely be a permanent addition.
Sottocasa is the brainchild of Kesté alum Luca Arrigoni, but while I'm a fan of Kesté, I've long felt the student has exceeded master—Kesté's Roberto Caporuscio—on this one.
I haven't visited the Harlem location yet, but it's got a similarly good reputation. There was previously a Williamsburg outpost, but a few months ago Arrigoni and Caporuscio joined forces and converted the place to Kesté Williamsburg. Jury is still out on the rebranding.
The backyard is lovely when the weather's nice.
Sottocasa Boerum Hill is located at 298 Atlantic Avenue just off Smith Street.