sotto13pizza

Thin, designer pizzas have been part of the American dining scene ever since Wolfgang Puck introduced them at Spago in Los Angeles, 30 years ago. But I bet you can’t remember the last time one of these personal pies made you sit up and take notice. For me—and certainly for my husband, who vows to not like pizza–it has been a long, long time.

And then on Thursday night, in Sotto 13, a cozy Italian spot on West 13th Street, in New York‘s  Greenwich Village, everything changed.

The restaurant, down a small flight of stairs, is one of those welcoming Village spots with low lighting, a long bar, and lots of tables for two. It feels like a date even if you just wander in on the way home from the office. There’s a lounge up front; walk past the wood-fired pizza oven, which looks like a ceramic igloo, and you’ll find a skylit restaurant in back.

sotto13

The menu is all about tapas and small plates: cloud-like batons of fried chickpeas with a sun-dried tomato pesto ($6), addictive crispy shoestring zucchini served in a big paper cone ($5), and to-die-for crostini topped with ricotta, lemon, and truffle honey ($5). It’s fresh, light, and modern, and you can easily build a meal for less than $20 a person.

And then there’s the wild mushroom pizza ($15). The delicate disc, cut into six wedges, arrived covered in a crumble of mixed mushrooms and three cheeses: ricotta, mascarpone, and bel paese. I could have inhaled the whole thing myself, if not for someone giving me a look across the table.

“But you don’t even like pizza!” I protested. “This one seems different,” was the reply. And it was.

There’s a mixologist who’ll set you up with such cocktails as a Bourbon Smash or his own take on the dirty martini. But for me, this place is all about the pizza, the red wine, and the candlelight—a breath of classic West Village charm reimagined for a new generation. Affordable, adorable, and romantic, it’s the perfect date night.

Sotto 13
140 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10011

This post was written by Sally Kilbridge. As the country’s foremost expert on destination weddings and romantic travel, Sally is the creator and editor-in-chief of a new website, Destinationw.com, as well as the go-to resource for CNTraveler.com, the website of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Formerly the deputy editor at Conde Nast’s Brides magazine, Kilbridge writes about travel, food, weddings, and home for national and foreign print and digital publications.