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May 2, 2007 03:51 AM

Tempo prix fixe

SO, his mother, and I have reservations for Tempo, one of our absolute favorites, for Thursday. We walked by the restaurant this past weekend to peruse the menu (and drool) and noticed they're now serving a prix fixe menu (for either $25 or $35, I think). The current menu looks like they did some shuffling to accommodate the prix fixe, although the menu on their website is still the old one (with delicious Polenta Funghi Misti, which I urge them to bring back).

Has anyone tried the new prix fixe dinners? And how is the current menu? I read reviews of their DIB menu, and it sounds like it's the same. Also, any suggestions as to what to order?

And most importantly, we are concerned that this switch to a moderately priced prix fixe indicates hard times for Tempo. We hope not, since we love it!

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I received an email from Tempo about the prix fix last week. Yesterday, May 1, was the first day that they were offering it. I was under the impression that it included everything on the (somewhat changed) menu, but I am not 100% certain about this.

    I was worried that this switch spelled hard times for Tempo also, but I passed by last Friday at around 10:00pm, and it was still fairly hopping. Its a very big space, but during main dining hours, it always seems to be pretty filled, if not completely packed.

    Its probably my favorite restaurant in the hood, if not all of Brooklyn, so I do hope they are still doing well.

    1. Move over Chestnut, there's another great 3 course meal to be had for $25pp. In the interests of research, we went to the new fixed price dinner at Tempo tonite. As everyone knows by now (I'm assuming you all hang on my every word... don't you??), Tempo is already one of our 4 favorite places (along with al di la, Henry's End and Chestnut) to eat. And now, with this deal, it's also one of the best dinner bargains around. Every weekday night $25 gets you any of the 8-10 apps, any of 8 of the 12 entrees (the other 4 have a $5 supplement...still worth it) and any dessert. Basically two thirds the price of what it was with no change in anything else. If anything, more choices than before.

      I had a new tripe appetizer. Very different from al di la, this one isnt in brown gravy, but in a tomato based sauce with large carrot slices. I love the one at al di la, but this was very nice. Ginny had the pea flan and that was out of the ordinary and recommended. Light, tasty and inventive. I ordered the papradelle w/wild boar and mint (a long time favorite there) and it was just as great as usual. Ginny's dish was a rice cake made from risotto, lightly fried to keep the cake shape, and surrounded and topped with cockles, shrimp and bay scallops. Saffron in the lobster based sauce. Outstanding. Desserts include gelato and sorbetti choices, as well as cakes and tarts. My gelato was great; so was her rhubarb tart w/vanilla bean gelato on top (substituted for the sorbetti). Wines are still plentiful by the quartino ($10-12) and the wine list is the same extensive, well chosen selection. For us, including 3 quartinos, coffee, tax and tip, $120. It can clearly be had for less. Let's see... once a week at Chestnut, twice a week here... only leaves 4 nights to fill. I can probably still squeeze in Applewood, Queen.... Go. Before they change something.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Steve R

        We DO hang on your every word, Steve! Glad that you approve of the T.P. prix fixe.

        1. re: Steve R

          They haven't gotten rid of the duck pastilla roll, have they? Or the mixed green with goat cheese roulade salad? Those are two of my favorites.

          1. re: elecsheep9

            The duck roll was definitely there and I'm pretty sure so was the salad.

            1. re: elecsheep9

              They are both on the menu. I will happily trade the polenta with mushrooms for the one with sausage that they have now. Didn't like the rice pudding though- bland. Though I could eat a bowlful of the macerated ( read :SWEET) cherries that they serve with it.

            2. re: Steve R

              Tempo is still a little more expensive than 360/Chestnut. The difference is that the wines at Tempo are in the $30-$50 range, while there are some really good wines in the upper $20s at Chestnut and 360, not to mention a good beer list at Chestnut. Our dinner at Tempo cost $120 including tip (service was very nice) with a bottle of wine and two espressos. It would have been in the $90s at 360 or Chestnut.

              1. re: bobjbkln

                The wines at Tempo are in the$30 to way over $100.

            3. We went on Thursday and had a wonderful experience. This post might be long; lots of good stuff to talk about.

              As Steve R noted, the prix fixe menu was extensive; the choices were dizzying, and all the favorites mentioned on this board were included.

              SO's mother started with the ragu polenta, which was creamy and decadent, with a simple ragu on top. As mentioned, I have had the polenta funghi misti before, and, while I still prefer the old polenta (diehard mushroom fan here), we still thought this was delicious. SO had the beet salad, which he wolfed down before I could try it. I guess that meant he enjoyed it. Not wanting to have a heavy appetizer, he noted this was a perfect starter. I chose the duck pastilla rolls, which came in a nice presentation: two long, taquito-length rolls stacked vertically next to each other. I had fun knocking them over before digging in. The rolls had a crispy skin that tasted light and had a slightly flaky texture. The shredded duck inside was full of flavor, the tender duck really coming through. I was pleased to find that this dish wasn't greasy at all. Wonderful.

              For our mains, SO's mother had the orata (or sea bream). After starting with the polenta, she wanted something lighter, and this was a great follow-up. The fish was roasted just right, flaky and tender, with red and yellow cherry tomatoes dotting the plate. SO went with the risotto cake paella. The presentation was great, with a small risotto cake with seafood strewn all over. It smelled really great, but I can't tell you how it tasted. Although I didn't see SO actually chew, the food was gone before I had a chance to get a bite. Although I didn't get to taste his, I was quite happy with my fettucine with scallops, asparagus, and truffle shallot cream sauce. The truffle flavor was subtle and cut through the cream sauce nicely. The scallops were firm and grilled until slightly crispy on both sides, and I was impressed that the scallops, through seasoned on the outside, retained the scallopy flavor within. I cleaned the plate and was so full, I nearly passed out. But we trudged on.

              For desserts, SO's mother immediately eyed the date and sticky pudding with toffee sauce, which she declared was the best she ever had. It was rich, warm, and had a whisper of dates. SO went with the ginger creme brulee, and this I did get to taste; lovely, with strong ginger notes accenting the creaminess. I was full at this point, but still had some of the strawberry coppetta, which was a vanilla gelato sundae with strawberries and drizzles of balsamic vinegar.

              For drinks, SO loves Tempo's cocktails and had Booker's Manhattans all night. His mother went with a sweet moscato (she's a dessert wine all the time person), and I enjoyed a quartino of the rosso. The waiter misheard SO's mother the first time and brought her the muscadet, but this was quickly corrected, so we were able to try that one as well.

              Overall, the atmosphere was cozy, comfortable, and upbeat. The service was attentive, but not overbearing, and the food was phenomenal. With tax & tip, the total for the three of us was about $150. Amazing. We're planning to go every week. Because we're worth it.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Gluttonous Prime

                Ended up at Tempo last night after a frustrating attempt to get into Al di la. Had an excellent meal, as usual. Not going to fully review it here as its pretty much all been said before; however, I do want to clarify that the menu is now ENTIRELY prix fix. There is no al a carte (except for a few additions such as a cheese plate, etc.) A few items require an supplemental charge, but there is plenty to select from without it. And most of our fave dishes are still on the menu.

                Also, our waiter told us that the price differential for weekends/weekdays is because "the weekday portions are smaller." We thought this was odd...are people less hungry on a weekday? What if you are going for a special occasion, birthday or anniversary, during the week--do you really want a smaller portion? A little peculiar, if true.

                I also think the prix fix, while a good deal, actually makes a meal there more expensive than previously. Because often we would share either an appetizer, a dessert, or both. Very rarely do we go out and have 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts.

                This isn't really a complaint, just an observation. We enjoyed our meal and as always, service and ambiance there is great.

                1. re: jinx

                  I went to Tempo last (Sunday) night with my family for my sister's birthday. It was a wonderful dining experience. Every dish was great from the polenta with mushrooms to the bucatini with pistachio pesto to the herb pasta with chicken, chantarelle and white wine ragu. The desserts were memorable (especially the beignets and the date and toffee sticky pudding). It's hard to imagine a better deal for $25 per person! The reasonable prices on the food allowed us to splurge on a couple of bottles of Amarone (which were excellent).

                  I am also pleased to note that they had several new dishes on the menu (I was worried that the prix fixe approach would mean less innovation). Also, the polenta with funghi misti is back!!!

                  The service was extremely gracious. Our server was attentive and thoughtful without being smothering.

                  We were seated in the second dining room, which was great for a larger group because it was very quiet. I was glad to see that the main dining room was full. This was the first time that my wife and I went to Tempo after the introduction of the prix fixe. The quality of the food and service was just as high and I would note that the portions were the same size as I remember them.

                  1. re:

                    they have the prix fixe on sundays too?

                    the key is to watch yr drink orders...i still leave with a bill of $150 for 2 even with the prix fixe...

                    next time, im getting diet coke.

                    1. re: sam1

                      The prix fix is every day. In fact, I believe it is the ONLY option, save for the steak for two (which says 45 per person complete -- but I was never sure what complete meant).

                      And, honestly, even though you walk away spending $150, that IS after wine or some drinks -- imagine if you were paying ala carte prices for the food you were getting plus the drinks -- it is still a bargain!

                      1. re: elecsheep9

                        Agreed. It is a 'bargain' (of course, all relative) not only because of the consistently high quality of the food, but also the attentive, yet not stuffy service. Simply a civilized, adult atmosphere where you can have a conversation and actually hear your dinner mates and with tables spaced well enough that you're not sitting in the next guy's lap. Only very minor complaint is that I'm not a big fan of most of the desserts. The toffee pudding does hit the spot some nights, albeit a bit sweet for me, but they've taken the one chocolate dessert off the menu. A little (dark) chocolate at meal's end would be nice.. Psychologically, I've had to adjust to the prix fixe - just don't want dessert (even great ones) some nights. Guess what I realized: I can say "no thank you" when they ask about dessert! I know, I'm not getting the whole bargain, but for $25 I feel like I get my money's worth with the above-mentioned polenta and the bucatini.
                        Great wine list too - a few out of the box choices that deserve a try along with many mainstream and easy to drink.

                    2. re:

                      We have been back to Tempo quite a few times since they introduced their Prix Fixe, and I agree, it is excellent. We usually wind up going on the weekend, and at $35 pp it is still the best all around great deal in town.

                      The Polenta with Wild Mushrooms is lush and luscious. The Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu was very good, but a bit oversalted this time. The Wild Salmon with crushed Moroccan Spice crust and Piri Piri Glaze served with a shaved Fennel and Apple Salad was excellent.

                      The desserts are always great. The Beignets are as light as a feather pillow and almost float off the plate. The home made Gelato exceptional.

                      Gracious and correct service make the whole evening a wonderful dining experience.