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ISO "great little mom-and-pop" place in Brooklyn for tonight

floretbroccoli Jul 8, 2006 05:17 PM

My brother's visiting from out of town and asked if I could come up with a "great little mom-and-pop" place in Brooklyn.

We grew up in Brooklyn (Mill Basin -- way off the current groovy-Brooklyn map) but I've lived in Manhattan forever and haven't kept up on Brooklyn restaurants.

Does anybody have a quick suggestion for tonight? I'm looking for some place low-key but charming, with good food, not wildly expensive. Also, since this is so late, some place where we won't need a reservation or can get a reservation with no real advance notice.

Thank you.

  1. s
    sam1 Jul 11, 2006 01:34 PM

    I love applewood but found that their summer menu isnt as strong as their winter/fall one. Chef Shea does incredibly well with meat and game which I think doesn't translate well in a summer environment.

    The lobster in the cucumber soup was pretty much a waste of lobster. I wish they had the sauteed one as an appetizer. I guess I'll have to wait for October.

    1. f
      Fleur Jul 11, 2006 08:44 AM

      The nicest "Mom and Pop" that we have found is GARDEN CAFE in Prospect Heights.Truly unusual concept with excellent execution.

      The husband mans the stove and the wife acts as Hostess. They only have about 10 tables, so the feeling is one of dining in a friend's home, albeit a friend who is a very fine chef.

      1. Peter Jul 11, 2006 02:56 AM

        Odd that they didn't have any other reservations -- I called mid-Saturday and had no problem with 8:15pm and there were one or two empty tables of 2. Ah, but you were a larger group, weren't you?

        And we even ordered the same. The two of us had the pork belly, the lobster soup and the banana split. Nu duck though -- we went with the goat and the veal. It was too hard to pass up braised and roasted goat and oh my god was it good.

        Gald you enjoyed it and come on back to the neighborhood. Al Di La, Rosewater, and Convivium Osteria are all as lovely and delicious in their own ways.

        Peter in the Heights

        1. floretbroccoli Jul 9, 2006 08:40 PM

          Thank you all so much for your recommendation.

          It turns out that my brother, withouot specifically recalling it, had gotten the phrase mom-and-pop from an Adam Platt review of Applewood. We only figured this out when he was further researching Aliseo.

          So, while we did end up at Applewood, quite happily, last night, we wouldn't have gotten there without your help. And I very much look forward to trying Aliseo when he's next in.

          2 Replies
          1. re: floretbroccoli
            Peter Jul 10, 2006 03:26 AM

            Too funny. I recommended Aliseo above, but was eating at Applewood last night myself. I was there at 8:30, how about you?

            Oh, and what did you think of the experience?

            And yeah, it's funny that Adam Platt describes Applewood as a "Mom and Pop" place. Far from it, no?

            1. re: Peter
              floretbroccoli Jul 10, 2006 08:45 PM

              How funny! No, we were there earlier, the only reservation we could get at the last minute.

              My brother and sister-in-law, my parents, and I all enjoyed the experience very much. The food was excellent, the service good, and the ambience pleasant. What more could one ask?

              Of the appetiziers we ordered, I thought the pork belly was the best. I had the lobster-avocado soup, which was good but not memorable. For main course I had the duck breast with cabbage. I'm not usually a lover of cabbage but I felt that this dish was perfectly balanced. Without the cabbage the duck would have been too rich. And the cabbage even enhanced the flavor of the duck. My favorite of the desserts we had was the caramlized banana split.

              Yes, Platt really stretched the term "mom-and-pop." My sister-in-law commented that to her that phrase suggests an old-time Italian restaurant. I guess some of the readers of this board must agree, since y'all came up with an Italian place.

              Sunday, we all went to Sripraphai. Now THAT's more like a mom-and-pop joint.

          2. m
            Marion Morgenthal Jul 8, 2006 07:34 PM

            I think Aliseo is a great idea. Two others that I'd throw out for consideration are Red Cafe on 5th Avenue, which is a small place with small menu executed very well, and Caserta Vecchia on Smith Street, which is a family-run Italian restaurant with good food and a very friendly vibe.

            1. Peter Jul 8, 2006 06:54 PM

              Aliseo is perfect. And I think you'd be hard-pressed to spend $75 for 2. More like $50 or $60 the place is so affordable.

              Warning: it's on the very casual side. It's not candle-lit and all that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Peter
                jen kalb Jul 9, 2006 02:53 AM

                Id say Aliseo fits the bill as charming and romantic - while not dressy, the clientele is stylish - I would say it has a sophisticated but warm atmosphere Like the food and wines too - I think they have a good midweek prix fixe you might want to look into. Not redsauce italian - the owner is from the Marche -it truly is in the osteria mold with a range of plates - cheeses, salumi etc to accompany the wine, supplemented by enough other dishes that you can have a very nice dinner if you choose.

              2. b
                Bookistan Jul 8, 2006 06:08 PM

                Aliseo on Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights. Charming, rustic decor; the food is Italian with a subtle creative twist (the slogan on the menu says "fusion is confusion". The last time I was there I had a wonderful pea flan and homemade fetuccine. About $75 for 2 with a half carafe of wine; cash only. There was a lot of early buzz about this place but now it's a bit quiet, perhaps overlooked by newer restaurants.

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