Check Out Brigantessa’s New Small Plates and Expanded Happy Hour

The menu includes Jena Leigh Taylor's notorious contest-winning meatballs.

Vegetable Antipasti | Photo courtesy of Brigantessa

Brigantessa has gone through a lot of changes recently: this summer, news broke that longtime chef and part-owner Joe Cicala was out at both Brigantessa and its sister restaurant Le Virtù in a dramatic split. In August, chef Adam Taylor stepped in at Brigantessa, tweaking the menu a bit but mostly keeping the ship steady.

But now, he’s unveiled a new menu of small plates inspired by southern Italian street food, especially for the restaurant’s first-floor bar, or taverna.

Taylor’s taverna menu is made up of ideal bar bites, meant to go along with a cocktail or a glass of wine at the bar. Think snacks like crispy-gooey mozzarella in carozza, a deep-fried cheese sandwich, and miniature calzone-esque panzarotti, and eggplant polpette, a meatless yet meatball-like dish served with red sauce.

But the kicker on the new menu comes from Taylor’s wife, Jena Leigh Taylor, winner of this year’s controversial meatball contest at Taproom on 19th earlier this fall. Her recipe — handed down from her grandmother — is being served, and it’s your chance to taste a part of south Philly history.

In addition to the new menu, Brigantessa has expanded their happy hour deals, served Sunday through Thueaday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., with $10 pizzas and $5 snacks like roasted olives, mussels, and panzarotti. A rotating selection of beers, the house wine, and their Sicilian Mule cocktail go for $5 during happy hour, with the Arbusto, a seasonal apple shrub cocktail, for $7.

Check out the slate of taverna small plates below.

New Taverna Menu at Brigantessa

Fried Brussels sprouts with Calabrese chili agro dolce, ricotta salata and grilled lemon $8
Crispy salamari and peppers with tomato-basil aioli $12
Wild mushroom arancini with porcini mayo $10
Panzarotti with house mozzarella, fennel sausage ragu and marinara $8
Vegetable antipasti for two, featuring a variety of seasonal vegetable starters $18 (available in a half-portion for one for $9)
Eggplant polpette, a traditional, meatless southern Italian variation on classic meatballs $9
Mozzarella in carrozza with warm piennolo tomatoes and basil $9
Jena Leigh’s Meatballs, served in “Sunday gravy” $9

Brigantessa [Foobooz]