When looking for a restaurant to celebrate Valentine's Day, I called around and settled on TEMPO, mainly because of the Menu. We have been there many times before, and always enjoyed the experience.
It was a thoroughly dreadful night, and we figured the only safe way to get there was by Subway. We finally trekked through the ice, snow, and wind, and arrived at TEMPO, where the party was in full swing.They were fullly booked and veryone showed up!
We were shown to our table in the larger back room. Tables beautifully set with crisp white tablecothes, and thankfully, tables are very spread out, not crowded together.
Delicious Kir Royale aperitifs served with their crusty bread and a dish of their fragrant, fruity, green EVOO. The little dish of sea salt is a nice touch. The special Menu and the Wine List looked wonderful. When there are three or four things you could absolutely have, the choosing gets serious.
After much hesitation among the many wonderful choices, Black Truffle Risotto, Buratta Cheese, Porcini Tarte Tatin, and more, I chose the Porcini Tart, my DH chose the Buratta. Both were excellent. The tart was rich, unctious, and very satisfying. The highly perfumed fresh Porcini with an aged Balsamic vinegar were excellent. The Buratta was warm and flowing, served with a fresh tomato and olive salad on crostini.
The main dishes were superb. I chose the Lobster and my DH chose the Braised Pork Belly. The Lobster was a nice sized portion of half a large lobster served with tiny potatoes,roasted garlic cloves, leek and asparagus, in a light butter sauce. The sauce was assertive enough, but basically allowed the fresh sweetness of the Lobster to shine through. The Braised Pork was sweet and very rich. It was a beautiful sight to behold, mahogony glazed and shining, set off on a bed of sauteed Cabbage and Green Lentils.
The Desserts were excellent. The Pear and Caramel Streusel Tart was warm, beautifully caramelized, and served with a nice scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream. The Terrine of Three Chocolates was wonderful, served with a Sour Cherry Coulis. Petit Four and Truffles were served with Coffee.
A beautiful dinner on a frightful night. We couldn't find a cab for the ride home, so we walked back to the Subway in the snow . Although we had to wait a long time for the Subway, we made it back home just fine.
Glad it went well and that the room was full. We reserved 2-3 weeks ago then called and cancelled out on Monday when we heard what the weather was going to be like. Had a great time instead doing the unusual... eating at home... but wondered how Tempo was faring. We love the food there, especially the buratta that's flown in from Italy fresh.
I'm so happy to hear this as we are having a dinner party for 11 people (a few from Manhattan who may never or rarely have stepped foot in Brooklyn let alone come for a wonderful dinner) next week. While I have eaten here in the past, I was impressed at how gracious the owner has been in helping us choose the menu and make other choices. and the sticky toffee pudding is on the menu!
The large room at Tempo is very different than most Brooklyn places. The age range is greater (comfortable for us 50-something folk, not to mention those that have us by 20 years, although there are plenty of young 'uns there) and its a spacious, more classy feel than most. The room reminds me more of Hearth. That being said, we tend to drop considerably more here than we do when we eat at al di la or most other places. Not that the price range isnt similar to Henry's End (I dont know Fleur... Noodle Pudding is way less for us), but it just makes us feel more like getting the mixed drinks at the bar, the better bottle of wine, the cheese for dessert. Well, you get the idea.
re: Steve R
Isn't it great to be in a place with all ages? On Valentine's Day, there were two couples with their parents. A very nice ambiance.
Definitely a restaurant for adults.
The desire to linger and keep on eating is a good thing. It means a comfortable, unrushed experience, where the food is excellent.
This is fine dining.
Thanks so much for the post! We've been thinking of hosting a big party there one of these days and it's always good to hear real feedback. The consistency of the quality of food and service they provide amazes me!
when i saw the subject line, i was worried it was going to be a report of a bad experience there. we've eaten there several times and i really like the food a lot. their steak for two is wonderful, with a slightly sweet-salty crispy exterior and whenever i'm craving steak, that's the steak it has to be. it can be a little pricey, but it's my fave place in the 'hood to celebrate a special occasion.
Went there with my family for the first time about a month ago, and wasn't too impressed. A sweet waitress tried to seat us when we arrived for our reservation, but went to check with the management first. For some reason, the owner decided to be very harsh and rude with her, basically in front of us; the next time i saw her it looked like she's been crying. there was no need for the harshness from the owner, and it kind of put me off for the rest of the night. And I thought the food was good, but trying a little too hard. May be my personal taste though, as I prefer simple Italian food. Tempo just seemed like it was trying too hard.
There restaurant on 5th is okay, their sandwich shop on 7th Ave and 3rd St. is just the pits. Their corned beef and pastrami is pretty bland, the bread doughy and their soup isn't exciting at all. I won't comment on their gelato since I haven't had any.
My husband and I have been regulars at Tempo since 2005.
The reason: it is a wonderful restaurant.
For years (um, decades....) we have been trying out different restaurants in the Slope area, -always feeling that while a certain restaurant had plusses, there were too many things lacking.
All in all, most restaurants in the Slope just do not live up to the great hype. Most of them are nice & OK for a casual neighborhood restaurant, but that's all.
Like some other people on this board, we too, had been a bit reluctant to try Tempo, because we had lingering (bad) memories of Cucina from it's declining years.
But when we finally were introduced to Tempo by friends who already knew the place, we were happily stunned. Wow. Finally! "Manhattan level" room, service and food - in Brooklyn.
From the start we felt welcome at Tempo, every single time, even when we were new to the restaurant.
The food is mostly really tasty and often quite delicious. The few times the food has "missed" a bit, has not kept us away, since the over all experience has been so delightful & delicious.
Oh, and yes - finally! A wine list that makes us smile! Both before (while choosing the wine), during (mmm, nice long finish!) and after (still tasting the wine, while happily strolling home...).
Speaking of which: the young sommelier (and the manager/partner) really know their wines; they approach wine with enthusiasm and passion. What can I say: we love these people.
Since we discovered Tempo, there is no reason to dine in Manhattan as much as we used to.
We have never experienced anybody from management, or the staff, to be harsh (at least in public), even when mistakes happened. And of course, as in any restaurant, mistakes sometimes do happen, we are all human. But they are always followed by heartfelt apologies or a glass of bubbly, for example.
We do not feel that Tempo "is trying too hard". They are doing their best, though, to get better and better. Nothing wrong with that. Just the right way to run a restaurant, as far as we are concerned.
We discovered TEMPO last year, and I am happy to hear from you as a long time diner.
We, too, travel to the City a lot less frequently than before, because there are so many fine dining options right here in Brooklyn.
When restaurateurs go all out, and constantly strive to offer their customers great food beautifully presented, in an attractive, tasteful setting, and has trained waiters and waitresses offering correct, polite, and professional service, they are doing what all restaurants should do.
There is no such thing as "trying too hard". There is only not succeeding.
chiming in on all positive assessments of tempo. i am not sure what i've enjoyed more: the welcoming and competent space, owners, and crew; the diversity of the diners truly enjoying their own experiences; or the food, wine, and well-mixed (and generous) cocktails and wine list. granted, my socks are not routinely knocked off by what's on the plate (tho they HAVE been on occasion), i have never been disappointed nor have had a 'bad' meal or course at tempo. it's a consistently great place to bring a date, your parents, or a professional associate you really want to treat well, all. that's highly praiseworthy, at least in my book.
i promised i would report on the dinner party that was given a few nights ago at tempo. it was a surprise 80th party and arranged with a set menu - 3 choices each for app, entree and dessert and included all the wine, beer (no one had beer), soda, coffee or tea that one might want for $75 pp plus tax and gratuity. there was a lovely printed menu with the birthday girl's name and 'happy birthday' on it in front of each place setting.
it was a really lovely time (and a real surprise for the bday girl whose daughter flew in from europe to surprise her.) each wine was much above average and they just kept walking around filling glasses the moment they were low. happy to switch from white to red. we ended up in the party room (big room) sort of annexed off so it was really a private party. in an odd way, that was the only thing i didn't like ...it was a little stilted for the first while and i think the 'comraderie' of the other patrons would have helped. but it ended up ok.
the host chose for apps: farro salad, wild greens with goat cheese and the clams. i tasted the latter two and loved my salad. entrees were the lamb shank with large white beans (mine..perfectly executed and i take great pride in cooking lamb shanks so that's high praise in my house); sea bass (i think that was it) and an organic chicken. desserts were the sticky toffee (too sweet for me); dark chocolate cake with gelato and a maple cheesecake (i hate maple in general so i didn't bother tasting it.) i loved the cake...that classic somewhat molten cake but thought that someone could have been a bit more 'outside the box' with the gelato flavor (a deep vanilla). still, there was none left! and they were great about pouring more wine during dessert for those who wanted it...noting that the spicey red was a great accompaniment to the chocolate.
the servers were so pleasant and professional. it was such a lovely evening out.
i went for a second time to tempo on sat night after al di la stopped serving dinner around 10:30. the same thing happened to my girlfriend and me a few months back and we opted for tempo and had a mediocre experience so it felt a little like dejavu (sp).
the host was incredibly friendly and the place is really nice. our waitress on the other hand seemed young and reading from a script. she recommended everything, she came back 2 times to tell us that what we ordered was no longer available and seemed uncomfortable to us.
we decided to share the burrata cheese appetizer. my girlfriend settled on the spicy pasta with calamari after her 3 other choices were unavailable. i went for the lamb shank with the chickpea fries...one of the only memorable items from our last visit. we had a decent if not overpriced glass of a cab blend and enjoyed the burrata quite a bit. it was actually better than the one i had at felidia recently.
the entrees were just as i remembered...heavy and unmemorable. the lamb was decent but a bit fatty. her pasta was overtly spicy and mediocre. after a few bites, we sat in our seats, talked a bit and took the food home.
i wish tempo well but i just dont see the fuss about the place. for the money, id rather go to applewood. being across the street from the amazing al di la, one of our favorites doesnt help things either.