Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.
Following old family recipes from the Campania region of Southern Italy, Giuseppe and his chefs craft housemade pasta, hand-cut tender beef fillets, and seared sea scallops. Servers then shuttle these classic dishes into the cozy dining room replete with golden wall hues, multicolored hanging lights, and white tablecloths.
Chef Pasquale Pascarella constructs each gourmet pie on Pizza Rosso’s menu from fresh ingredients using traditional culinary blueprints. The homemade red sauce cooks for five hours and spends another hour putting on its make-up before it is ready to grace the olive-oiled pizza dough with its presence. The margherita wears fresh buffalo mozzarella and a blanket of homemade sauce to keep its thin, crispy crust warm pizza ($11 for a 12”, $13 for a 16”); the hogan pizza balances prosciutto, figs, arugula, and ricotta into an edible flavor aria ($14 for a 12”, $18 for a 16”). The lasagna layers pasta crafted in-house with sauce, meats, and cheeses to create a delicious model of the earth’s core ($10). The grilled vegetable and pesto panini ($7) presses its ingredients together for an easily handheld meal during lunchtime fencing duels, and the smooth, creamy gelato ($5) chases the last cheesy slice with a rousingly sweet finale.
Wide, high-arched windows usher sunlight into a dining room anchored by brick columns and a brick fireplace. Behind the dark wood bar, bottles and taps spill craft beers whose names bedeck a chalkboard menu. Under a constellation of speakers suspended from the ceiling, diners chow down on slices of gourmet pizza. John Dough's signature is the fresh clam pizza, a white pie decorated with littleneck clams that the chef shucks to order after fishing them from olive oil seas. Classic margherita, chicken pesto, and sausage and hot oil pizzas also sail out of the restaurant's oven, while custom pies show off a customer's choice of toppings.
In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
Nestled inside the Saugatuck Rowing Club, The Boathouse at Saugutuck, a Zagat-rated eatery, serves upscale American fare amid sweeping views of the lower Saugatuck River. Owner, chef, and part-time beer brewer John Holzwarth honed his craft under the tutelage of master chefs Fortunato Nicotra and Lidia Bastianich, and The Boathouse's menu reflects his love of creating seasonal dishes or reproductions of Mona Lisa from local, organic, and sustainable foods. The waterside restaurant tops linen-covered tables with red-wine-braised beef brisket served with roasted shallot and buckwheat polenta, fresh lobster, and homemade ravioli stuffed with heirloom apple or golden hubbard squash.
Letizia's Pizza collects a multifaceted menu of traditional Italian dishes using family recipes perfected by three generations of pizzaioli polishing. Demanding diners customize their thin-crust pies ($7+) with traditional and unique toppings such as spinach, pepperoni, and clams arranged to resemble Leonardo da Vinci's secret back tattoo ($1.25–$2.75 each). Aloof eaters enjoy pre-topped specialty pies such as the 10-inch Garbage pizza, a savory circle littered with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and anchovies ($13), while gobbling gamblers place bets on the 12-inch Casino pizza, clams, garlic, onions, peppers, and bacon blanketed with red or white sauce ($16.50). Pizzas with a gluten-free crust are available by request for diners on a break from grains after catching wheat making out with their cousin (12", $14.75). Patrons in the mood for other Italian classics shift their sights towards Letizia's pasta and sandwich options, which include eggplant parmesan grinders ($7), baked ziti ($9.25), and other comforting fare.