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Scalino - new Ital. place in Park Slope

p
parkslopemama May 30, 2007 08:27 AM

A few days ago, a place called Scalino opened on 7th Avenue, at the corner of 10th Street.

I haven't eaten there yet, but the menu looks good: classic Italian dishes like antipasto, veal meatballs, white beans and sausage, arugula salads, pappardelle w/ tomato cream and smoked bacon, braised lamb shank with lentils, etc.

At this point, it is cash only and BYOB. Open daily 5:00 - 11:00 p.m.

I will report back whenever I have a chance to try it!

  1. a
    angelhair May 30, 2007 09:12 AM

    Red Hot Szechuan used to be there before they moved across the street several years ago. Then it was some other mediocre Asian place that never was busy. Now it's Scalino. Haven't eaten there yet but have walked by it a couple of times. It looks really unfinished. I'm all for spare, spartan decor but this just looks like they haven't finished renovations. But since they're open, presumably they have. I'll probably try it soon.

    7 Replies
    1. re: angelhair
      m
      maggiepc May 30, 2007 07:35 PM

      I had dinner at Scalino this evening. I have high hopes for this place. One of the owners, Matthew,--I think he said that it is him & his brother--was running the show and waiting on all of the tables. He was friendly and chatted about adding things to the space and the menu over time. They are waiting for their wine/beer license so it is byob for now (a good thing imo!).

      I thoroughly enjoyed the food. My companion began with the Antipasto Toscano (prosciutto, salame & parmigiano) and I with the Sauteed Baby Artichokes. We followed with Paglia E Fieno Con Sugo (fresh thin pasta w/ meat sauce) and Pappardelle W/ Tomato Cream & Smoked Bacon respectively. It was all prepared with quality ingredients, executed well, and delicious!

      The feel is comfortable & unpretentious. I look forward to dining there often especially since it is right around the corner.

      1. re: maggiepc
        e
        EZ Pass Jun 4, 2007 10:20 AM

        No disrespect to this restaurant, which sounds promising, but can I just take this opportunity to wonder why "Toscano" is considered to be such a compelling adjective that it is applied to things that are not Tuscan in the least? If the antipasto has real Italian prosciutto and parmigiano then, unless it's prosciutto di San Daniele, it's at least two-thirds "Antipasto Emiliano." Even if the salame is Tuscan, it hardly makes sense.

        1. re: EZ Pass
          funkymonkey Jun 4, 2007 10:23 AM

          it's all marketing. most people aren't going to think about what specifically is "toscano" about the antipasto.

          1. re: funkymonkey
            e
            EZ Pass Jun 4, 2007 10:53 AM

            Well, I think slightly less of a restaurant that considers marketing more important than accuracy. I think diners are willing to learn, if restaurants are willing to teach.

      2. re: angelhair
        g
        Gnu23 Jul 11, 2007 01:52 PM

        FYI: The mediocre Asian place was called "Taste of Fish."
        Probably one of the worst things you could ever think of to call a restaurant. I never ate there simply because of its name.

        1. re: Gnu23
          yuriwebboy Nov 7, 2007 02:19 PM

          there was a good dim sum place that was very short-lived that i can't remember the name of, but was somehow connected with R.H.S.

          1. re: Gnu23
            e
            elecsheep9 Nov 7, 2007 02:34 PM

            My wife and I always used to joke about what a bad name "A Taste of Fish" was for ANY restaurant, let alone a SUSHI place.

            Before A Taste of Fish, it had a japanese sounding name -- I want to say it was something like Aji Aji or something like that -- we ate there a few times and it was decent. However, once they changed names we stopped going. I was never even sure if the owners or management changed -- it seemed like this Aji place simply changed names to A Taste of Fish (which, we always imagined was what the original name meant in japanese), but we just couldn't eat there on principle.

            If I recall correctly, I think it was a chinese place before being Aji/Taste of Fish.

        2. b
          bebevonbernstein Jun 3, 2007 02:46 PM

          I was just at the wine store, and the guys there said it was actually quite good. A couple of them have eaten there and liked it; one actually recommended it when I said I didn't know what to have for dinner tonight.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bebevonbernstein
            j
            jinx Jun 7, 2007 05:17 AM

            We ate there last night and I'd give it a mixed review. On the plus side, the owner is really enthusiastic and friendly (and as noted was completely handling the room himself..and doing it quite well, considering they were packed.) The menu is simple trattoria style and reasonably priced. My husband really enjoyed his polpetti appetizer and I thought it was good (but not nearly as good as Frankie's meatballs--the gold standard in my book.) He also enjoyed the Paglia E Fieno Con Sugo. My arugula and parmigiano salad was fine, but my pasta--penne with broccoli rabe and sausage--was way over-oily--just swimming in oil--and the sausage wasn't that tasty. A friend had the sauteed artichokes which were actually artichokes romana (more fried than sauteed) and she found them too greasy as well.

            Also they had only one dessert right now. Hopefully they will add more--how hard is it to have gelato or a tartufo? (Ok, I'm one of those dessert people, a meal just isn't finished without dessert. :)

            So I think the food needs a little work but, its promising, and the hospitality of the owner--he just seems like a really nice guy-- speaks for a lot! We'll try it again in a few weeks and see how its shaken out.

            1. re: jinx
              c
              cdog Jun 27, 2007 04:49 PM

              how can i even consider the above review helpful or legitimate...not nearly as good as frankies????? please, there are not even in the same ballpark...i found them inedible and the sauce was a step above ragu..

              i think the owners are trying hard but they need to give the place some character and also consider hiring a legit chef/cook. i can cook you a better meal than you can get at this joint. in fact, any serious foodie could do more justice to italian food than scalino. sorry for being harsh, but it is the sad truth.

              1. re: cdog
                s
                sourcherry Jun 27, 2007 09:49 PM

                It's at the bottom of my list for sure. See my other recent post on Scalino.

          2. c
            cdog Jul 25, 2007 08:09 PM

            i'm willing to get it another shot as it is one block away from my house, but your comment about critcism being suspect is a bit off. i just don't think the food is good...
            any committed home cook can do better...
            i don't think that every place needs to be on par with al di la..i am not using that as the measuring stick..i look at each place and judge them on their merits and this one just doesn't cut it....

            1. o
              ORP Sep 14, 2007 11:17 AM

              I have to agree, Stefano, with everything you said: I've eaten there about seven times since they've opened (full meals on every occasion), and it's definitely become my "default" place in the slope. Of course this is partly because of the price (extremely reasonable) and because it’s still BYO, but also it's because the food is healthy, delicious, and simple. At this point I've tasted almost the entire menu and many of the specials (which change fairly often), including all of the desserts (there are at least four).

              Of course, there have been some missteps: The specials are a bit uneven. If you stick to the regular menu, and to the pastas in particular, I don't really think you can go wrong.

              The beauty of this place is its simplicity, from the food to the décor and service. If you're someone who needs complicated fare in order to feel as though you're getting your $'s worth, this is not the place for you (if you can cook as well as these guys can, open a place next door: You'll be full every night, like they are). For me, though, the unapologetic simplicity and excellent flavors in their arugula with parmesan salad is emblematic of the entire menu. I tried a more complex special last month (tortellini in a spicy red sauce with lobster) and was pretty disappointed-- however, the fact that the owner (and our waiter) made a point of asking me how it was, and if it was too hot, said volumes.

              The service is tremendous, end of story. Anyone who thinks otherwise must have had some rotten luck, I think (or done something to tick off the more portly owner, who is the only one of the two I could ever envision being brusque with a customer). I've brought wine and beer every time I've gone, and I've never had to ask for a glass or an opener: I just put the bottle(s) on the table and wait a few seconds, no matter how busy they are. The very first time I was there, he noticed the table was wobbly: He stopped in his tracks, got down on the ground (we were outside), and adjusted the table legs until it was rock solid. I've never felt so well taken care of at a place that only costs around $20pp for a full meal.

              After reading all these posts, I definitely think the rough patches some people seem to have experienced were merely growing pains. Every time I’ve gone, they’ve changed the menu (as they figure out which creations work and which don’t). If you want the self-assured qualities of a restaurant that’s been around for years… I’d suggest not going to a spot that’s just opened.

              The decor is a bit spartan, but neat and comfortable. It's definitely relaxed, and feels like a place you could comfortably eat at every day of the week, which I think is unusual in a very good way. Since it's on the corner and has huge windows on both sides, a fantastic open feeling is created: Sit facing the street if you're indoors. Unfortunately, the outdoor seating is definitely superior at this point-- it's a shame it'll be too cold soon; it'll be much harder to get a seat.

              1. realfood Aug 26, 2007 01:49 PM

                just discovered this place (another post)...liked it a lot and plan on going back very soon - we ate at frankies this weekend- which was mentioned as a comparative in this thread.....well the food was good but....an hour before we got our salad - another hour before we had our entree - total non-service - we had to beg for our check (another 1/2 hour) - sad when a place gets so popular that they really could care less whether you exist.

                5 Replies
                1. re: realfood
                  TBird Aug 31, 2007 10:41 AM

                  being BYOB gives this place the edge. we've had a few (successful) wine dinners there recently.

                  1. re: TBird
                    c
                    cdog Sep 15, 2007 07:44 PM

                    i told my wife tonight that we should give it one more chance...we ate their twice and i just don't see the appeal. everything we had was no better than anything your average home cook could pull off. yes, it is cheap and yes the service is good, but i am not sure that i would choose price and service over the quality of the food. i said it in an earlier post and will say it again, if they are still serving penne with rapini and sausage and the sausage is being served in the casing, that is just wrong. on my last visit, the meatballs were as soft as a rock.
                    i will go within the next week or so for my third trip and report back.

                    went to franny's tonight............................oh my...............price was through the roof but it was amazing..............

                    1. re: cdog
                      TBird Sep 16, 2007 05:02 PM

                      i think it's ok not to like scalino, it's definately nothing to blow your mind, and no need to "give it another chance", espicially after two attempts already. it is what it is. it more than serves it's purpose for me with it's byob free policy, but because i have a 8-12 person group that meets for wine dinners and they(he) is more than accomodating for us.

                      what did you order at franny's that made the prices thru the roof? i get the pizza there that is the same price as any other place, only the pizza is much better!

                      1. re: TBird
                        c
                        cdog Sep 17, 2007 10:21 AM

                        Franny: i am not big on just eating pizza so we made sure we added some other treats. i would agree that the pizza price is not bad especially if you stick to the basics. three glasses of wine, two pizzas, two appet. one dessert, one coffee and a tip got us to $96.

                        Scalino: twice should be enough, but i am committing to one more as it has been a few months since we went. i want to see if they changed anything to improve on my previous experience.

                        1. re: cdog
                          e
                          elecsheep9 Nov 7, 2007 12:53 PM

                          As I have pointed out -- the prices at Franny's only seem excessive when you think of it as just "pizza". Yes, a slice can be had most anywhere for about $2. But just as a $.99 hamburger at Wendy's is much less expensive that an $8.00 burger at Bonnie's Grill, that is not a fair comparison.

                          You have to compare the pizza you have at Frannys with an entree at a restaurant. With that thinking, 3 glasses of wine ($8 to $12 a piece usually = $24 minimum), two apps ($7 to $11 usually = $14 minimum), one dessert ($6-9 usually = $6 minimum), and one coffee ($2.50 or thereabouts). So that brings the cost of the meal before tip and two pizzas to $46.50 -- roughly $50 after tax or $58-$60 after tax and tip. That leaves $36 for two entrees (which happen to be utterly delicious pizzas) plus tax and tip on said entrees, making the pre-tax and tip cost of the entrees at about $15-$16. That is not at all out of line...certainly not "through the roof".

                          Once you can change the paradigm so that you are not thinking in terms of "pizza", but in terms of an entree like any other, the prices at Franny's really make perfect sense.

                2. m
                  manhatanite Nov 7, 2007 09:49 AM

                  I go to Scalino at least three times a month now and I was curious to find out what the reviews were... and boy was I surprised to see negative comments at all! I have yet to have a negative experience there - so far its appeal lies in its unpretentious atmosphere, great view through the windows, simple but great ingredients and the outgoing owner. I always get the Bufala mozarella which just melts in one's mouth and somehow always end up with the Oxtail (served on a bed of polenta), which I didnt even see mentioned in the previous posts. There are both simply delicious. The place is still BYOB and has a few killer desserts (highly recommend La Bomba which is three sorbets covered in white chocolate and the Mandarin sorbet which is served in an actual mandarin!) I def think it is worth every penny of its very reasonable prices (prices equal Dizzy's but offer a more upscale dining experience).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: manhatanite
                    famdoc Nov 7, 2007 12:07 PM

                    Visited Scalino for the first time this week and was underwhelmed.
                    On the plus side: the owners/hosts are warm, hard-working and eager to please, if not a bit hard on their busboy in front of customers.
                    We found the price/quality/quantity factor to be lacking: appetizers and salads range from $8-10 for what is, essentially, four bites. Specifically, the artichoke appetizer (literally four bites) and the yellow beet salad (perhaps three or four small chunks of beet, amounting to a half a beet). Pastas were unspectacular and at least two members of our party commented on how much butter or oil was used.
                    BYO is a plus. Didn't have desserts. Went home and had dinner.
                    Would certainly return if there would be more generous servings for the money.

                  2. stefano Nov 24, 2007 12:26 PM

                    A retraction to my post of a while back defending this place. I have eaten there a couple of times since, but my last experience was, well, my last. I especially have to call bulls**t on Scalino's owners--I think they are stingy. Their portions have shrunk and their prices have gone up. $8.50 for 4 artichoke hearts is insulting. Frozen spinach/broccoli rape in 2007? Please. They've put their bottom line ahead of all else and the place is suffering for it. And I didn't make a big deal of this last time, because I thought they were still working on the place, but the atmosphere is like a chinese takeout joint (less the bullet proof glass). Ah well...

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: stefano
                      TBird Nov 28, 2007 07:58 AM

                      had dinner there last night celebrating our 2 year anniversary of moving to PS. 2 app's(white asparagus & mixed 'schrooms) and 2 mains(pork shoulder & sausage penne) were again, adequate, and being able to bring my own wine free of charge, is priceless. tab came in easily under $50.

                      1. re: TBird
                        famdoc Nov 28, 2007 12:21 PM

                        TBird: My complaint was the meager portions, particularly the appetizers. Did you find the asparagus and the mushrooms to be adequate and were they worth the $6-10 you no doubt paid for it. We fed four people for $50+tip, but went home hungry.

                        1. re: famdoc
                          TBird Nov 28, 2007 12:31 PM

                          yes, the app's were, i believe, $8.50-ish each. i didn't feel jipped with the portion size, we certainly didn't go home hungry. but we spent the same amount as you did for only two people.

                          i'd also add that you are correct, everytime i have been there, "he" is unusually hard on the staff in front of customers.

                          still, byo... :-)

                          1. re: TBird
                            c
                            cdog Nov 29, 2007 12:29 PM

                            T Bird: it seems that BYOB is a big plus for you. i agree that BYOB is a good thing, but is the FOOD good. i still have to say that the answer is no. they used canned beans for their sausage and beans and they leave the casing on the sausage for the penne. read any recipe and that is the first thing it will tell you, remove casing.

                            take away the fact that it is BYOB and then rate it. i think that there are a few other reasonable places in town that beat the food and the tab, with wine, would not be at high. Bar TOTO is no great shakes but by far beats this place and Spirito on 9th street as well.

                            i've eaten at this place twice and it just doesn't measure up. i will go back to the meatballs. the sauce was nasty and they meatballs were rock hard..considering they are veal, i find it hard to believe that you can get veal that hard.

                            sorry, but if the food is average or below average and it is BYOB, i would rather skip it. i prefer to pay the extra bucks for a glass of wine and have good food.

                    2. j
                      jjinbklyn Jan 28, 2008 06:21 PM

                      Wow - we first tried Scalino about two months ago and have been back about 10 times since. I can't even imagine how people could have had negative experiences there. Everything we've had has been delicious, absolutely and completely. Some of the pasta sauces are quite rich and buttery, but delicious nonetheless. They do amazing things with cod. The salads are quite generous with impeccable ingredients. The oxtails are great, the homemade pastas fantastic. The owners couldn't be more pleasant. The decor is definitely spare, but I'm there for the delicious food, the easy atmosphere, and the congeniality of the owners. Unlike others, I have *never* gone home hungry, and usually end up taking something home. This place is exactly what the neighborhood needs. I just hope it doesn't get impossible to get a table...

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: jjinbklyn
                        c
                        cdog Feb 22, 2008 06:35 PM

                        i was determined to get back a third time. it was better than my previous two visits, but i am still shocked that this place continues to draw crowds and that they have added lunch and brunch. i know that BYOB is big for some, but that isn't enough. my wife had the ravioli and it was less than spectacular. they are basically serving store bought frozen ravioli and at $12 a plate, not worth.

                        i had the pork shoulder and was some midly surprised. the meat was well seasoned and cook, but the sauce/gravy was less than spectacular.

                        we also had the sausage and rabe for appet. and we both enjoyed it.

                        overall, nothing special. this really is the last time we will dine at scalino. i'd rather head down to Anthony's.

                        sorry TBird...i know you are fan and continue to rave about the BYOB status, but i had rather pay a few bucks for a glass of wine and have a good meal.

                        1. re: cdog
                          TBird Feb 22, 2008 07:04 PM

                          "and Spirito on 9th street as well."

                          cdog-yeah, but you like spirito. that about 'splains it all...
                          ;-)

                          we had another wine dinner last friday night(at scalino) and the overall concensus was still positive.

                          1. re: TBird
                            s
                            slopeguy Feb 23, 2008 04:46 AM

                            its funny since I liked Spirito better than Scalino. The food was better prepared and the wine list was top notch....I will bet that many italian places have frozen ravioli in their freezer.

                            I do not mind Scalino, I have not had a bad meal once..At first service was hit or miss but the gents now have their grove on for the place.

                            We all know what was there before hand so if you do not like head down to Anthony's.....Their pizza is good not sure about anything else...

                            1. re: slopeguy
                              TBird Feb 23, 2008 06:46 AM

                              "its funny since I liked Spirito better than Scalino."

                              how'd that time out review go? something to the effect of "you'd be better off heading next door to mcdonalds..."?LOL

                              not that they were much nicer to scalino.

                              1. re: TBird
                                TBird Mar 2, 2008 07:47 AM

                                we had yet another successful wine dinner last night at scalino. i didn't vary from my pappardelle in cream tomato sauce and bacon.

                                1. re: TBird
                                  d
                                  Deuce Mar 2, 2008 08:55 AM

                                  That's a really terrific dish. I assume the owners/staff were their usual accommodating and attentive selves.

                                  1. re: Deuce
                                    TBird Mar 2, 2008 09:02 AM

                                    of course! gotta love 'em.

                                    we wiped out 4 bottles of wine(2003 Hewitson Mourvedre Old Garden, 2004 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge, 2004 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, 2004 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Cohn) and had a few terrific dishes, all at under $50 per couple including 30% tip.

                          2. re: cdog
                            rebloonin Mar 7, 2008 09:50 AM

                            whoa whoa whoa......Anthony's??? I have given their pizza several tries, all times to be disappointed. My boyfriend is too easy on them and somehow is able to ignore the always soggy center of our pizza. I have had other dishes there and was always underwhelmed.
                            I will give everyone credit- I can see how Scalino could offer very up and down experiences. I personally have never had a down one but I can see where inconsistency could lie. I will disagree that the spinach ravioli is frozen- if you know anything about pasta you can tell just from biting into it that it is fresh (though the sage butter "sauce" could use some serrrrrious improvements). The lamb shank over the ever changing legume has always been delicious and far less $$ than you can find a shank elsewhere...unless in your own kitchen. I will agree that the portions can sometimes be smaller than usual but, what are we, pigs? I know we all love to eat and enjoy our food but let us not fall into the American trap of complaining about "not enough food". I always leave Scalino full.
                            Might I also add the humorous "rock and roll" the taller owner/waiter said to me and my boyfriend when seating us one evening outdoors. Despite the sometimes rude and usually grumpy brother, the happy-go-lucky owner is always pleasant, consistently checks up on our table, and shakes my boyfriend's hand on our way out leaving us with a "See you guys soon, be well."
                            I don't doubt anyone that has had a negative experience here- I just hope it doesnt happen to me! I'm sticking with this place.

                            1. re: rebloonin
                              TBird Apr 22, 2008 04:40 PM

                              finally saw an application for liquor license in the window. are my byob days soon numbered....???
                              :-(

                              1. re: TBird
                                rebloonin Apr 26, 2008 02:47 PM

                                OH NO! Not good.com!!!
                                The BYO at Scalino is so money it doesnt even know it. The lamb shank is so darn good though so I don't see myself staying away completely but yeah, nothing beats a $10 bottle of wine at no corking fee.

                                1. re: rebloonin
                                  s
                                  slopeguy Apr 28, 2008 04:58 PM

                                  It was bound to happen sooner or later...

                        2. r
                          ranta Apr 28, 2008 09:17 PM

                          Tonight, I ate at Scalino for the third time. And my experience was the same. The food was decent (the pork shoulder was oversalted; shame, b/c it was very tender and the white bean and spinach sides were very good; my partner's cod was also oversalted, though he felt his sides were tasty). However, I detest the service. The owners are overbearing and way, way too loud and solicitous, to the point that it seems phony -- or as if they're jacked up on speed (esp. the thinner of the two). And when they're not being overbearing, they don't pay attention to you. (Of note, but perhaps it was nothing: At no point did the owner address me directly or look at me; he interacted only with my friend, who's a guy. Just seemed weird.) Would it totally kill them to hire *one* experienced waiter?

                          My partner and I will not return, despite the decent food and prices. The moment we sat down we regretted not going to 12th Street instead.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ranta
                            TBird May 17, 2008 06:49 AM

                            we had yet another successful wine dinner at scalino. 8 wine collectors from ebob. i had the calamari salad which was excellent and the oxtails on palenta which weren't so great. no problems with the owners. wines consumed were:

                            1997 R. López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Viña Tondonia
                            1967 Marcarini Barolo Brunate
                            1987 Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir Estate Chalone
                            1997 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
                            1997 Kanonkop Estate Paul Sauer
                            1997 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Charmes-Chambertin
                            1997 Biasca Merlot
                            1977 Warre Porto Vintage

                            and then afterwards at my place: 2000 Château Yon-Figeac plus some dogfish head beer "red and white"...

                            1. re: TBird
                              rebloonin Jul 17, 2008 09:53 PM

                              Oooh....bum bum bummer- does that mean its not byo anymore? Pity.

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