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Sep 27, 2011 04:30 PM

Sottocasa - Neapolitan Pizza in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

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.

Sottocasa Pizzeria
298 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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  1. We tried this place last night. We got the rughetta salad and two pies: Marinara and Diavola.

    First, the salad. It was a fairly minimalist treatment of a baby arugula salad. We enjoyed it, but it was maybe a little heavy on the lemon. No complaints though.

    We got the Diavola based on your review. We enjoyed it, but between the sopresatta and the olives, it was a bit of a salt bomb. I like salt, but... well, maybe it's just a matter of personal preference. This isn't a complaint about the restaurant, but that pie was a little too salty for us.

    But the marinara: wow. The crust is beautiful. And the sauce is a very minimal marinara, which we both really loved. It actually *tastes* like tomatoes. And there were big huge hunks of roasted garlic on it. Your comparison of the crust to motorino is apt. The center of the pie is a little firmer than many other Neapolitans, and the crust is, in my estimation, slightly denser and chewier. But it's really, really good.

    Lately I've been singing the praises of Savoia, being the relatively unheralded Neapolitan pizza surprise. But I think of the two Sottocasa wins hands-down. Though it's no dark-horse. This place will do well, I'm sure, once the word gets around.

    We'll be back. The price is comparable to Motorino and Keste. The Marinara was $9, and the Diavola was... hm... maybe 14-15 or so. It would be nice if they expanded their apps/salads a little bit once they find their groove. (and get their beer/wine license)

    277 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    Sottocasa Pizzeria
    298 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

    1. I was going to go last night but, when we called, the owner said we could not bring a bottle of wine though, he already had a liquor license.. I guess i will go when we can drink a bottle or maybe some other time.. last night, i really wanted a glass of wine.. I wonder what his reasoning was behind turning us away..

      1 Reply
      1. re: Daniel76

        Went here yesterday during the Atlantic Antic.. I have been reading about this place for the last couple of weeks.. The place is brand spanking new.. No liquor license no BYOB as of yet.. However, it is supposedly on the way.

        We sat in the backyard yesterday.. The space is relaxed and neat.. Rocks on the ground, a few wooden picnic tables but, really, I would happily eat this pizza sitting on the trunk of car..

        The owners are Italians, one from Milan, the other from, I don't remember now. They were not from Naples or Sicily though.. Even the staff working yesterday were from Italy...

        We started with a tuna and chickpea salad.. Red onion, caper, tuna, and some wonderful olive oil.. Very well balanced.. Delicious

        Next up was the pizza.. The pie was beautifully done.. Airy, chewy,slight char.. Topped with San Marzano and Buffala Mozzarella.. It was wonderful...Kind of cross between Co and Franny's.

        We also had a calzone that was excellent... A little Prosciutto Cotto, sauce, and cheese...

        This place is a wonderful authentic and delicious addition to Atlantic Ave.. A must try for pizza lovers.

      2. Went mid-October and tried the Laura and Reginella. Flavor was great for the Laura, but the Reginella was a little too watery with all the tomatoes. Love that they're cooking in a wood-fired oven, but the balance isn't quite there yet in the crust -- both pies ended up soggy by the end. However, the crust was chewy and delicious. They just need some time to work out the cooking timing or heat, I think. After ordering, our pies were on the table within 5 minutes, and they could've used some extra time in the oven.

        This will be my new go-to pizza place in the neighborhood for quick pizza. The space is minimalist yet cozy, the backyard is inviting. It was a much needed addition, though I'll still head over to Frannys when I want a perfect pizza.

        1. I stopped in here last night for a take-out pie. They now have wine! I'll be back for a full sit-down soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: egit

            Note that Sottocasa is about to change their hours. The good news is that they'll be open 7 days per week now. But the bad news (at least for those of us who work in the area) is that they will no longer be open for weekday lunches, starting in January.
            So, it will be open every night for dinner, plus Saturday and Sunday brunch.

          2. I'm a bit slow on these things...just tried them for the first time. Had a delicious prosciutto pizza delivered. I will NEVER evaluate pizza that has traveled without recognizing that it would be several notches better fresh at a table in house. This was just a little underdone--it would have traveled better with another minute in the oven. But it was so very tasty.

            I had wondered, and just for information since it's not mentioned anywhere---the pie is about 11 1/2".

            1 Reply
            1. re: JonL

              There seems to be a consensus that the pizza is undercooked. Maybe if enough of us ask them to cook it longer, they will!