Taking NJ friends out to dinner in Park Slope
I'm looking for a place with a great atmosphere and even better food...reasonably priced and great service. I unfortunately haven't been to many of the Slope restaurants so I only know of a few - Tempo, Applewood, and a couple others. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated - it's a celebration dinner for two close friends who recently got engaged, and they're from Jersey (and almost never come in to Brooklyn) so I want to make an impression on them.
Tempo is not overpriced and the food is reasonably good. The tables are well-spaced and service is usually good. I think it has a nice overall ambiance.
I agree with Marion's recommendation for Convivium. They have an outside garden that is attractive on mild nights, and they also have seating downstairs in their wine cellar room, which is unusual and really attractive and inviting. The food and wines are also a little off the beaten track but get good reviews in general.
I like Blue Ribbon as well, but it can get crowded and rushed. Their tables are a little tight, but if you're at a four-top you should be OK. They have a very eclectic menu and a large wine list. But they are on the high side when it comes to spending.
I also like Blue Ribbon Sushi, which is next door to Blue Ribbon, so you can stick your head in there and take a look at the room before making up your mind which one you want to visit (Blue Ribbon doesn't take reservations for parties of fewer than six; don't know Blue Ribbon Sushi's policy). Blue Ribbon Sushi is in a nice and attractive room, and I've always liked their sushi.
Belleville is a Paris-type bistro that can be memorable when they are on their game. I like it better on cooler evenings when the doors are shut and you can kind of imagine you are in France. I've found the food to be good but the service to be a little hit or miss. Prices are reasonable, though.
Best of luck wherever you end up...
Convivium gets my vote for a special celebratory meal; pricier than most places in the slope, but edgier and more memorable than the many fine "new American" places such as Stone House or Applewood.
Sharing the stellar seafood or cured meat tapas platter also makes for a more, err, convivial experience for a group of friends than everybody getting their own appetizer.
Ask for the garden if it's fair and the cellar if it's not.