No matter how full I am, the smell of pizza will always get me. ALWAYS. I can be walking home from a seven course dinner, belt cutting off my circulation, and walking past a pizzeria will make me stop dead in my tracks and contemplate a quick pizza digestif. I hope I’m not alone here. I visited Fratelli on the UES last week, and this story is relevant because I could smell the pizza half a block away. If I wasn’t already going there, I would have gone there. Ya dig?
Fratelli is a casual yet inviting pizza joint; fluorescent lightbulbs and formica tables are replaced with soft lighting, a stocked bar, and candles. Thankfully. I have nothing against the former, but let’s save that for 3 am on a Saturday night, shall we?
We scanned the massive menu and the usual suspects were all present: fried calamari, mozz in carozza (fried mozz), baked clams, caesar salad, chicken parm, chicken marsala, penne a la vodka…you get the idea. Aka ALL THINGS I LOVE. Sorry I’m not sorry. It’s really hard for me to pick in a place like this, but since it was our first time here, figured we’ll stick with the basics: fried calamari, baked clams, pizza margherita, and penne a la vodka with sausage and peas.
The fried calamari was good – crispy, hot, and not rubbery. My one gripe: I liked the spicy dipping sauce they serve with the bread more than the spicy tomato sauce they serve with the calamari. Ask for that, if they don’t give it to you outright. It’s more olive oil-based, but it’s really tangy and has a nice heat.
Baked clams. I don’t even really like baked clams and I liked these. If I can’t see the actual clam, and you mix it up with breadcrumbs and butter like Fratelli did…I’m set. And did I mention the portion size? Easy to fill up on these but given the rest of the food we had I will advise you to save room…
PIZZA AND PASTA TIME! Aka my favorite time. The Margherita pizza at Fratelli was really tasty, but it was lacking one thing: salt. Their tomato sauce is great, nice and sweet, and the crust had that awesome brick oven char, but I felt like the mozzarella on the pie was lacking salt. Didn’t stop me from eating two slices AND pasta, but still worth mentioning. I like my pizza a bit saltier.
The penne a la vodka was heaven. I kept trying to stop eating it…but…couldnt… I’m a sucker for a good vodka sauce, and with the spicy Italian sausage mixed in…save me from myself. And again re: portion size, you will definitely have leftovers. I dont hate it.
We were too full for dessert, but naturally we tried the white chocolate polenta cake anyway. Because we’re fatties. And ummm…it was DELICIOUS. How have I never had anything like this before?? Life changing. I don’t even like white chocolate! It was not too sweet, delicate, fluffy, and warm. We were full but we went ham on this thing. You need to go to Fratelli if only for the spicy tomato sauce and dessert. But don’t eat them together..
Fratelli 1317 1st Avenue (btwn 71st and 72nd street)
212-249-6092 (and they’re on Seamless for those of you lucky enough to live close by)