Italian Harlem Alive and Well
Before it was El Barrio or Spanish Harlem, this area was Italian Harlem. One of the hold outs from the old Italian Harlem days is Patsy's Pizzeria, established in 1933. Having a late lunch last weekend the restaurant was filled with all sorts of patrons. A mother reminisced to her children about the old neighborhood at the table next to ours. A couple was speaking Italian at another. As we were sitting a group of tourists walked in, followed by another family that is greeted as regulars. The guests sat among framed photos of famous dinner guests from actors to politicians throughout the years.
The meal started with chilled Peroni beers. Next, mozzarella breaded and fried to perfection, the outside reminded me of the crust of a grilled cheese. These are not the corner diner's mozzarella sticks, these were elevated to an art form. I chose the fillet of sole with hot peppers over grilled asparagus, a dish from the spring menu which incorporated spring veggies into delicious lighter dishes. We also ordered one of their classic pizzas topped with sausage. These did not disappoint. The fillet was perfectly spicy and the pizza was indeed a classic.
There are a few Patsy's restaurants throughout the city, but I definitely recommend coming up to Italian Harlem for the whole experience.
2287 1st Ave, near 118th St.
Phone: (212) 534-9783