Last November I had the privilege of being taught how to make turducken by Ed Cotton, the executive chef of Sotto 13. “Come back some time; I’d love to feed you,” he told me after our lesson and frankenbird photo shoot. A couple of weeks ago I finally took him up on that offer.
The meal began with that week’s special pizza, pork pie. Provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and cabbage are topped with pork shank meat. Once the pie comes out of the oven it’s blnaketed with housemade coppa di testa and lashed with mustard vinaigrette. It’s like a subtler, more sophisticated version of an Italian combo sandwich. Cotton changes out the pizzas regularly and recent iterations have included beef carpaccio with creamy kale, wild mushrooms and fontina and this week’s special: spicy lamb sausage pizza with n’duja, ricotta, and mint.
I’m a big fan of spaghetti carbonara, so when I saw linguine with duck carbonara I had to order it. It’s the kind of dish that one food writer friend calls “critic bait.” The linguine’s topped with a creamy sauce made with a blend of double smoked bacon, house made pancetta, ground duck meat, and chopped roasted mushrooms. The whole lot’s strewn with English peas, crowned with a quail egg, and sprinkled with plenty of Parmesan cheese and a generous amount of black pepper. Fried button mushroom chips provide textural contrast and a blast of umami.
Cotton grew up cooking and eating carbonara with his father, but his take on in it is purely modern yet still recognizable. In the age of kimchee Dorito carbonara that’s a refreshing approach.
Sotto 13, 140 W 13th St., 212-647-1001