For most of us, it'll be a few more days until we're able to get in to try Brigantessa — they're still in friends and family mode, and the current plan is to switch on OpenTable next Tuesday, October 14. In the meantime, we stopped by for a visit today, and chef-owner Joe Cicala shared a copy of the menu.
Cicala says he considers this draft only about 80% done, so expect a few changes as they iron everything out before fully opening to the public. There are no prices listed yet, but we're told the price range will be comparable to Le Virtu. He said we can expect snacks ("spuntini") around $3 to $6, antipasti in the $10-$14 range, and so forth. (Primi at Le Virtu are largely $18-$20, secondi mostly under $30.) Pizzas will run around $12-$16.
As promised, Brigantessa's menu covers far more ground than Abruzzo-specific Le Virtu, though the focus remains on the southern regions of Italy. In addition to turning out Neapolitan pizza, look for the imported wood-fired oven to lend its influence across the menu — when we visited, lamb bones and aromatics were perched on the deck, to enrich an eventual stock with some smoky character.
While the simple margherita pizza may be enough of a draw, there's a lot to explore here. As fans of Le Virtu may expect, charcuterie plays a starring role. Their own culatello, prosciutto, and soppressata (among others) will be available by weight, while pizza toppings include luxe lardo and spicy, spreadable 'nduja. Tiny fish also make a strong showing — look for sardines in saor (a sort of sweet and sour marinade), fried sardine bones as garnish, the anchovy-and-garlic dip bagna cauda, and neonata di sardelle, a savory fermented condiment of baby eels and Calabrian chiles.
Desserts are not listed here, though chef Angela Ranalli has been said to be working on Moorish cannoli, coda d'aragosta (lobster tail-shaped pastry), and candy plates — and Cicala was excited to show off the restaurant's gelato machine. Expect a few flavors available on any given night — Cicala said they've even tried out a version flavored with fig leaf (which, we were surprised to hear, tastes somewhat like coconut).