Saraghina is one of those well-respected new pizza restaurants that I just didn’t get to during my intense pizza search. So I’m very thankful that it happened to find its way onto TONY’s list. Partly because it helped make my pizza search more comprehensive, but also because it was quite delicious.
Michele Iuliano, the chef and owner of Luzzo’s in the East Village gave his secret dough recipe to the owners of Saraghina. I am a big fan of Luzzo’s and find their wood and coal oven pizzas to be fluffy, crisp, and delicious. It’s true Neapolitan style combined with a little taste of NY coal oven pizza.
And Saraghina is just as good. It’s in the middle of Bedford-Stuyvesant, not quite the NY destination spot yet. The exterior made me think of a dive bar on a residental street. But inside, as we were led further into this maze of a restaurant, I felt like I was at summer camp. The tables, chairs, open rooms, and vintage signs gave the place a comfy, laid-back, rustic vibe. It was reminiscent of the ski-lodge feel of Roberta’s, but less stuffy.
There are two separate menus: one for pizza and one for other (daily) offerings. We chose a tagliatelle with squid and pesto dish. And the pizza was chosen for us by Time Out (thank you!) It was the Capocollo Pie.
The pasta dish was a bit disappointing. The pesto tasted a little off and the squid was sliced strangely so that it resembled a chewy vegetable rather than a cephalopod. The tagliatelle was also slightly overcooked and soft. Their wine selection was underwhelming. By the glass, they really only had white or red. And neither option was good enough to stand up to their pizzas. We tried them both.
But we didn’t come here for the wine or the pasta. The wood oven that welcomed us in reminded me that it was all about the pizza.
The capocollo pizza is basically a margherita (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil) with the addition of capocollo ham. When the pizza arrived, the ham emitted the aroma of cooked bologna (was I the only kid who did that?)
But the salty spicy flavors from the earthy ham was a great complement to the sweet sauce, rich cheese, and smoky crust. And oh, the crust. Delicious. It had a stiff, crispy char that fell softly away as you pulled it apart. It was maybe a bit doughier than Luzzo’s pie, and just as delicious.
Each time another dish (or glass of wine) appeared on the table, the mustachioed waiter delivered it with a “Voilá!” It was definitely more creative than saying “Enjoy” or “Bon Appetit!” but I felt like I was at a magic show. Which I guess wouldn’t be too far off. When I was at summer camp (before heating up the bologna in the microwave), I’d expect a pizza meal with maybe a rabbit being pulled out of a hat. Anything to keep me entertained. And Saraghina does just that.
Is Saraghina the best pizza in NY? Would their Capocollo Pizza make my Top 100 of the year? The flavors work very well together and although it may not be the best pizza in the city it’s still an 8 out of 10 because it’s a great take on a Neapolitan pie in a rustic setting that you could only find in Brooklyn (or maybe up in the mountains somewhere).