Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday Splurge: Rucola (Brooklyn, NY)

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Adam and I went to Italy 2 years ago. Though we did Rome (like any good tourist should do), we found true vacation bliss in a little place called Cinque Terre, five tiny villages along the Italian Riviera. I've never been so smitten with a place in all my life (well, minus my study abroad trip to Fiji, where not much 'studying' went down). In addition to the sights and sounds of Italy, we, of course, were taken in by the food. The Italians are famous for it and there's definitely a reason. 

Though New York is chock full of Italians, it's not quite as easy to find a truly authentic Italian restaurant here that compares to the ones in Italy. So you can imagine my utter surprise when we stumbled upon Rucola in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. It's on a quiet, residential block and it's actually quite unassuming during the daytime. But at night, the place comes alive. For starters, the space is quite gorgeous. The ceiling is made of wood beams (reclaimed wood, I think?). Mason jar chandeliers hang from the ceilings. They've even found a way to make fancy lighting fixtures out of old meat grinders (you heard me right, meat grinders).

Adam started with an old-fashioned cocktail - the New Rider - a delicious combination of rye whisky, Maraschino liquer, ginger and sage. I was having a major hankering for red wine, so I kept it simple with a quartino of Malbec. And since it was date night, we decided to go all out by starting with the chef's selection of cheese, meat and vegetable antipasti. Though the cheese and meat were both spectacular (how could they not be?), the vegetable antipasti was our favorite part by a mile. The chef was generous, including marinated olives, pickled fennel, balsamic roasted beets and eggplant caponata. By the time we were done, I was beginning to get worried about tackling my entree.

Speaking of entrees, we both chose something hearty, to compliment the brisk fall evening. Adam chose the duck breast with wild rice, champagne grapes and romano beans, while I was in the mood for pasta. It was a tough decision because the night's special sounded particularly tempting, but I chose the strozzapreti, a delicious combination of summer squash, green garlic pesto and grana padano. Though we were already full, both dishes were so fantastic that we wiped them clean.

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Oh...and the brussel sprouts! How could I forget those little bites of heaven?!? They were served crispy, drizzled with maple and parsley and topped with thin-sliced apples. I might just be in love with a sprout. For real.

I realize the post is getting lengthy. I could keep going on and on about the food, but I think you'd be better served trying it out for yourself. Maybe tonight? Brunch next weekend?

...But don't wait too long. It would be a damn shame.

190 Dean Street (at Bond Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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