A new Sicilian café has arrived on Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue. Their selection of tavola calda, hot Italian snacks, are quite good, particularly the farcita -- a pizza with a puff pastry hat. Chow.com Contributing Editor Alex Van Buren filed the following report.
The weather in New York is starting to shift: Some days are pretty chilly and rainy. I’m someone who loves how comforting Italian food is when it’s miserable out, so I was very happy to find out about Catania, a new Sicilian café in downtown Brooklyn.
It’s run by four cousins from Catania, which is on the Eastern coast of Sicily. Salvo heads up the front of the house, and Mimo makes the pastries.
I’ve been here a few times, and although I’m not crazy about everything they serve, like a few desserts that are supersoaked with liqueurs, I love the tavola calda.
“Tavola Calda” means “hot table” in Italian. They’re hot snacks meant to be eaten on the spot or taken away.
At Catania they serve several kinds, but I am obsessed with the eggplant farcita. “Farcita” means ”stuffed,” and this is like a stuffed pizza -- somewhere between a great calzone and a slice.
The bottom layer is olive oil bread that is rolled out and topped with fried eggplant, basil, parmesan, tomato sauce and mozzarella. Mimo places a layer of puff pastry on top, brushes it with egg, and the whole thing goes into the oven.
For $3.75, it’s a great snack. If the farcita is sold out, go for the eggplant parm, which is also delicious.
This is not a terribly romantic space, but it’s comforting, which is what I want in this weather. They don’t serve wine, but you can cut across the street to Brooklyn Wine Exchange and pick up a cheap Italian bottle.
Catania is at 193 Atlantic Avenue between Court and Clinton Street. For more dining recommendations, visit chow.com.