We haven't been going too often (annually?) for a # of years and I haven't thought much of it when we did the past several times. However, finding ourselves there for lunch today, both the place and the food impressed. First of all, it was very clean, very bright and cheery, and very friendly. That alone is a major difference from the past. The owner and several of the long time staff were there but they all at least nodded hello and tried to smile. Our server was not a long timer and was downright outgoing and upbeat.
Our lunch was nothing major. Ginny had the rice ball "special", with cheese and more cheese covering it. It was excellent, with meat and peas studded throughout and very clean tastes. We split an order of plain panelle (6 to an order), again cleanly fried in oil and tasty. I had the vestedda, which came on a very nice medium soft sesame roll, with tasty ricotta and melted cheese inside. It was also fresh (well, for a spleen) and exactly as it should be. My glass of house wine was more than fine and Ginny's double espresso w/anisette was perfectly done. $30 total with tip was very reasonable.
If the rest of their food (they had good looking rabe, seafood salad and pasta sarde going) is as well prepared, this place is back up there with Joe's of Avenue U as one of the last remaining places to eat this type of Sicilian cooking in Brooklyn.
For those who dont already know, Ferdinando's is on Union, between Hicks and Columbia (same street as Boulliabaise and Schnack).
Ferdinando's food is always fresh lunchtime. I think most of the negative comments have come from those eating dinner there.
Are they open for dinner now? I went there a few times some years ago. The decor hadn't changed since 1900. I hope it's still that way.
Yes, I think that they are open until 8 PM, but it is the same food that they prepare for lunch.