A few weeks ago I got a phone call from my grandparents, who invited me out for a pizza dinner at the new, up-and-coming restaurant: Da Legna. As soon as I heard this I was ecstatic, not only did I have time to spend with my grandparents, but I had a chance to finally escape the droll, dull cycle of my school’s repeating meal schedule.
Da Legna (http://dalegna.com, 858 State St, New Haven, CT 06511) is located in New Haven, Connecticut among some of the greatest, oldest, most popular pizza joints, in one of the most famous pizza cities in the world. Before even entering Da Lenga, I could tell that they must be pretty confident in their pies to stand amidst some of the biggest names in the pizza business in New Haven: including Sally’s, Pepe’s, and Modern.
After going to Da Lenga for the first time with my grandparents, I decided that I needed to try it again about a week later with my parents, to round out my opinion on the food, and to see if the restaurant remained consistent with their most popular dishes.
As a result of this second visit, in this article I will focus on the true what TO eat and what NOT to eat, and not any dish in between.
In this article I will tell you about the inconsistent yet delicious Brussels Sprouts, the less-than-exciting fried Mac and Cheese Wedge, and some of the beyond salty yet creatively delectable pizza choices.
As we entered Da Legna, I took a look around at the spin- off of old-world Italian atmosphere that was presented. The lights were beautiful. The tear drop shaped bulbs were pointed at the ends and contained a spiraling ruby red lighted filament on the inside of the glass. In addition, the interior of the room was constructed of red bricks and part of the wall was covered in a light partially spotty coating of light green paint.
The first time I went to Da Lenga, the Brussels Sprouts were fantastic. They were not crispy, but they were moist, absorbent and dancing amongst an abundance of crispy shaved bacon, and a heavy drizzling of rich, tangy balsamic vinegar. But as I watched the hot skillet of tantalizing green sprouts being brought to our table the second time, I noticed something utterly different.
The sprouts were dry and the deep dark green shade that Brussels Sprouts are supposed to present was an un-ripened light green. The sprouts were not spread out among a field of crunchy bacon, but were just scattered with barely cooked bacon. And last but certainly not least, the sprouts were served with subsequently less balsamic vinegar. While you can not hope for exactly the same dish every time you order it, within fine dining establishments, consistency is something that chefs yearn to achieve; and Da Legna surely did not achieve that goal with their Brussels Sprouts.
When you think of a fried Mac and Cheese Wedge, you get excited– because how delicious does that sound: tender perfectly cooked pasta oozing from every nook and cranny with hot, beyond gooey melted cheese, and ultimately coated with batter and fried to a crisp (maintaining the gooey inside in the process).
Although this is exactly what was served at Da Legna, the dish seemed to be falling flat. As hot cheese dripped down my face, I felt as though the dish needed another factor to round out the flavors. Some sort of dipping sauce or spicy Italian cole-slaw to complement the mild nature of the Mac and Cheese, and while the dish was good on its own- for something to truly be great and noteworthy, it needs to incorporate more flavors than just one.
Lastly, I will tell you about two of the pizzas that I have sampled at Da Legna: the Barbecue Di Maiale, and the State.
The Barbecue Di Maiale consisted of a crisp, light, airy yet malleable crust, topped with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, tender, beyond juicy pulled pork, smokey, robust, roasted corn, and was finished off with a heartily thick and heavy layer of hot, buttery mashed potatoes and melted cheddar cheese.
The pizza was almost like you had taken a homemade barbecue with everything that it entailed and rolled it up into one pizza: delicious.
Next up was the State pie. It was creatively prepared, but an abundance of dry, salty meats and salty cheese left me drinking cup after cup of water to keep my mouth moist.
The pizza contained crisp, spicy, oily pepperoni, spongy, juice-filled sautéed mushrooms, dry, tasteless meatball chunks, crispy, toothsome bacon, large round juiceless slices of sausage, and a vegetable pairing of spicy garlic, snappy onions, and roasted peppers– you did not want to be sitting next to me after that pizza– my pores were quite literally leaking with the smell of garlic!
Overall the experience I had at Da Legna was enjoyable, but the inconsistency of some of the dishes, paired up with salty nature of some of the pizzas, were all red marks in an otherwise good experience. I would give it: ZZZ- 3 Z’s- Good.