Luca Arrigoni came to New York with stars in his eyes about performing in musical theater. What he got instead was a pizza oven that brushed the stars.
When Arrigoni (a Kesté alum) tried to install his imported two-ton pizza oven at Sottocasa, his new Boerum Hill pizzeria, the only way in was up and over the three-story building by crane (see a video here).
The oven now sits on a concrete-floored hut built at the back of the building because the grizzled wooden floors of the restaurant proper couldn't support the oven's staggering weight.
Pizzas ($9 to $19) are classic Neapolitan, undersized to an American eye, nimble on the cheese and with a lightly wet center.
But our two favorites stray from the Naples-endorsed formula. Instead of exposing the cherry tomatoes, arugula, buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto of the Fresca ($19) to the withering 1,000-degree heat of the wood-fired oven, Arrigoni tucks the ingredients safely inside the crust.
For dessert, the Nutella pizza ($10) receives the same treatment. The dough is sliced horizontally, dusted with toasted almonds and stuffed with imported Italian Nutella (less sweet than the American version). That means that each bite yields a warm-bread-molten-chocolate-warm-bread sandwich (click here to see a slide show of the entire process).
Sottocasa Pizzeria, 298 Atlantic Ave. (at Smith St.), Brooklyn: 718-852-8758 or sottocasanyc.com