By Hillary Latos
As Williamsburg is becoming a foodie destination luring Manhattanites across the bridge, one place that put the scene on the map is Roman import Antica Pesa . The restaurant has already gained a loyal following of celebrities, A listers and moguls.
Just like its sister property in Italy, this Brooklyn outpost pays homage to Italy’s top culinary traditions and has brought over young native Italian chefs to ensure an authentic experience with a fresh approach. In a city known for its plethora of famous old school Italian restaurants, Antica Pesa elevates traditional dishes to new culinary heights with a contemporary and modern flair. Though their famous Cacio e Pepe pasta still remains one of the best in the city, autumnal additions to reflect the season’s bounty with heartier fare have been added to enhance the dining experience. With the cozy faux fireplace, plush leather sofas, reclaimed wood walls and soft lit pendant lamps this moody setting is an ideal place to curl up on a chilly winter night.
To truly enjoy the range of flavors order family style and come with a group. Start with the crispy sweetbreads and fried artichokes or the tender octopus with lightly spiced lentils. For pastas, try the robust chestnut flour gnocchi with lamb ragu and bitter greens or the chittara alla carbonara with guanciale, egg, parmagiano and pepper. The guancetta- braised beef cheek with whipped carrot and thyme puree virtually melts in your mouth as well as the fall themed wild boar stew with creamy polenta. For seafood, the catch of the day has a crunchy and unexpected burst of flavor with the sunflower and pumpkin seed crust and the baccala alla romana- salted cod is a Roman classic with tomatoes and caramelized onions with a carrot almond cream. Dessert is divine with seasonal touches such as the winter spiced panna cotta with cranberry jam and the chocoholic centric chocolate cigar with smoked cocoa and hazelnut praline.
Of course no Williamsburg hotspot would be complete without a bespoke cocktail program with creative versions of classics from the past. The Sazerac features whiskey, chai tea and absinthe and other tasty concoctions are the Pina’s Habit with Galliano, Frangelico, pineapple juice and vanilla, or the Antica Pesa with Campari and vermouth.
Even if you can’t escape to Rome this winter, relive La Dolce Vita and Roman hospitality on the other side of the river at Antica Pesa.
115 Berry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249