SACKETS HARBOR — There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Sackets Harbor being crowded on a warm, summery weekend afternoon.
Well, on this warm, summery weekend afternoon, the village was indeed crowded. Cars lined West Main Street, while others slowed to a standstill as they approached intersections, looking down side streets to find parking. One man in a blue car (you know who you are) decided that stopping to chat with two women on the sidewalk was more important than other things, like, say, driving.
A word of advice to anyone who wants to stop in the middle of a two-lane roadway: don’t.
I was lucky to find two open spots right in front of Goodfellos restaurant. I took the one and forced Mr. Blue Car to parallel park into the other. I’m the kind of person who will drive around the block a few times hoping a spot opens up, making what I like to call “loser laps” rather than take my chances parallel parking, so I’m glad it was him and not me.
He joined the swarm of brunchers outside Tin Pan Galley, while I (fortunately) went the other direction into Goodfellos.
Goodfellos bills itself as a “brick oven pizza & wine bar.” I like both those things, so this seemed like the place for me. After pulling up a seat at the bar, I turned my back around to look at the man slinging pizzas into the prominent brick oven in the dining room.
The pairing of real brick and exposed ductwork inside the restaurant brings back a comfortable feel that would make even the nicest newly built luxury lofts jealous.
Find me a bar, restaurant, or even a storage shed in someone’s backyard with a tall tin ceiling, and I’ll think it’s a nice-looking place. Well, Goodfellos has a tall tin ceiling and, combined with the comfortable seats and high-top bar, it certainly looked nice.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, but lunch is served only on weekends.
There is no separate lunch and dinner menus, so if you want that 1-pound New York strip steak at 11:30 in the morning, go right ahead. On most days, I’m the kind of person that could go for a flat slab of meat (which Goodfellos will serve up with herb roasted potatoes, mercado verdi, red pepper pesto and a Della Vaschetta sauce for $28,) but I was feeling like a lighter lunch today. So much so that I was actually tempted by the entrée salads.
That may be the first time I’ve uttered that sentence. So I compromised a bit and went with the Prosciutto y Fico pizza ($15), which comes with a garlic, olive oil and fig puree base with prosciutto and ricotta and gruyere cheeses, finished with Bartlett pears, spring mix and balsamic vinegar.
It has spring mix, so it’s healthy, I tell myself as I take my first bite.
I had snuck a few peeks behind me to watch the dough being rolled out, prepped and slid into the burning oven.
The top didn’t reveal a ton of dark char, which worried me until I lifted up the sturdy slice and examined the undercarriage, which revealed the spots of char that I had been craving.
All my cravings, even my unexpected salad craving, were largely fulfilled.
Both the figs and balsamic, which is cooked down to a tangy glaze, were sweet but not cloying. In bites with a fat pinch of prosciutto, the balance was perfect. I could have gone for a bit more prosciutto on the pizza, as the salty kick of the meat was much needed. Plus, deep down, I’m still the guy who has chosen entrees based on the number of meats packed into it.
The cheeses-gruyere and ricotta-were solid, if a bit too mild. I would have opted for goat cheese or a crumby Gorgonzola that would have stood up stronger to the salty and sweet flavors. The cheese is appropriately applied, meaning that my cheese-sliding tragedy from days past would not recur.
The server was attentive and waited until I didn’t have a huge bite of pizza in my mouth to ask me how everything was. Props for that.
For those who crave more substantial fare, there’s a wide variety of steaks, chops, seafood and pastas ranging from $18 to $28. The pork chop, stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, rosemary and basil, and served with a side of polenta, caught my eye. I’ll order that on a return visit.
Goodfellos is not cheap, but it’s quite good. There’s a full bar with about 10 drafts and the same number of bottles. As the name would imply, there’s a nice wine list as well, but I opted for a pint of the War of 1812 Amber Ale, brewed only a few doors down. When in Rome?
.... because of a great atmosphere and good food. Until I return for dinner, though, the rating is still incomplete.
202 W. Main St.
4 to11 p.m. Monday through Friday
11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m Saturday and Sunday
Pizza served till midnight on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday