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Jun 15, 2007 08:05 PM

Po is open for business

Had dinner tonight with a couple of friends. I was a little nervous about being in a restaurant on its first day of business, but things went very smoothly. The place was crowded, but not loud.
The food was good- fresh and tasty. Not mind blowing, but filling and homey. We had the meatball starter (good enough for a main course, almost), portabello salad, shaved fennel salad, and beet salad. ALso had the linguini with clams; orichiette with sausage and b.rabe, spaghetti carbonara and salmon. I took almost half of mine home, the plate was so big.
Like I said above, none of us had anything we didn't already know and love, but that's a nice thing.
Service was wonderful. Very friendly and sincere. .The music was weird! At one point, at the very end of dinner, they played M.J. 'Beat It', perhaps a sign that it was time to let the table turn over!

Would love to hear other reports. We won't be frequent visitors because we live in Crown Heights, but would definitely go back again.

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  1. Thanks for your report! I am looking forward to trying.

    1 Reply
    1. re: curly30

      We also had dinner at Po last night. It is nice to see that someone is clearly raising the bar on Smith Street. It was packed when we arrived but much more manageable around 10. Service was great - it's amazing that the place just opened and has a real neighborhood feel. Food was as good as could be expected. Meatballs were amazing; Mussles were loved by everyone at our table (except me); beet salad was great as was the pork tenderloin. I think the pasta dishes are clearly a highlight, given the reactions from people at my table. As for the music, much like Momofuku does these days, it is nice to be at restaurant that doesn't feel obligated to put on "Now That's What I Call Fine Dining Music! Vol. 2" for dinner. Also - I have never seen more sport coats on Smith Street. Come on people. It's June in Brooklyn.

    2. Went on Sunday evening. The restaurant was full, but it did not feel "packed"; decent spacing between the tables. The music was, um, er, "interesting," and was definitle a topic of our discussion. Service was terrific -- for a new restaurant, I did not sense any hiccups or "first week jitters." The wine list, on the whole, is fairly moderate -- we had a nice sangiovese/montepulciano for around 30.

      The food was good, but not transcendant -- I had the meatballs and the pasta special, which consisted of rigatoni with a fresh tomatoi base, olives, garlic, and thin strips of beef was tasty but again, not overwhelming. The meatballs might have been a bit heavy for the hot weather, but they tasted wonderful. My companion had the asparagus appetizer and a spaghetti dish that were both quite good. Dessert, the chocolate terrine, seemed to be an afterthought and was the weakest part of the meal.

      All in all, a nice addition to the Smith St. pantheon, but it may take a while for it to break out of the crowd. Definitely worth trying, however and, as I said, the service was surprisingly good fresh out of the gate.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Clinton Hiller

        I had the white bean ravioli with balsamic butter that was exceptional at the village so it would be worth a try at Smith St

        1. re: timmy

          so this is the same po as the west village now in bklyn?

          1. re: col8118

            "so this is the same po as the west village now in bklyn?"

            Yes, it is. The funny thing is that the West Village branch gets decent reviews on the Manhattan board but the Brooklyn venue is being rated more highly. I think the Great Addition to the Neighborhood syndrome is in operation.

      2. Sounds great! Has anyone done the $50 tasting menu?

        3 Replies
        1. re: kam0424

          We had it, the second night that they were open. I have to say it was an incredibly good value for 50 dollars. Had amuses of crostini before the meal. Then had an appetizer course, two pasta courses, an entree, and dessert. We were stuffed by the end.

          I thought the service was very good for a second night. Our server and the host (I got the sense he was the owner?) were both gracious. They were a little harried but that was to be expected, the place was jam packed.

          I had my heart set on sweet breads when my husband suggested the tasting menu. So I asked the server if they could work the sweet breads in and she passed the note on to the chef, which was obliged.

          Starter was a fairly standard antipasto, a tasty start for a very warm evening.

          First pasta course was more interesting --- an oversized ravioli with kale (I wish I could remember the other ingredients, been a week since), that we both really enjoyed.

          Followed by the gnocchi (same dish listed on the menu) with a bolognese. This was very well prepared, loved the soft fluffy gnocchi. I wish the portion wasnt so generous, this is the dish that really filled us up. The entree sized portion is epic in size by the way, I saw the gentleman next to us work his way through it.

          The entree was the exact sweetbread dish from the menu---small slices of sweetbread sauteed with pancetta and potatoes, a rustic preparation I've never had before. While I do think I still prefer a lovely whole sweetbread that's been simply grilled, this was a very tasty combination and the flavors worked well together.

          For desserts, we were each given a different a superb panna cotta, though the cherry sauce with it was a little overpowering in its sharpness. And my husband a slice of some sort of dense chocolate terrine with caramel (again, memory a little hazy)

          All in all, we enjoyed it, could easily see going there often. Wasnt mind blowing in any way. Everything was very competently prepared. I dont think its entirely dissimilar to Lunetta in my book. A little more 'entree' focused. I have to say that I was hoping that Po would gamble more with unusual Italian fare.....more offal, that sort of thing. Kind of stuff you find at Babbo. This felt like a very brooklyn menu. Which is fine, maybe that's all the neighborhood will support. But I would love it, really love it, if the owner of Po decides to take some risks with some specials or an entree or two, something you couldnt have gotten on Smith St. before they opened.

          (By the way, we rather enjoyed how strange the music was in contrast to the place, wasn't loud or intrusive, just made us laugh now and when guns and roses came on)

            1. re: Nehna

              We ended up popping back into Po last night for a light meal at the bar. The place was packed on Sunday at about 7pm but we were in luck that we found two seats at the bar. Having already had a few small plates to snack on at Sample, we decided to get a couple glasses of Prosecco and two entrees to share between us. The bartender was very friendly and welcoming. We shared the sweetbread dish we had on the prior visit and also a plate of oriechette with sausage and broccoli rabe. I still have the same feeling that the sweetbread gets lost in the dish but it's still a tasty addictive combination (must be for us to have ordered it again...) and we thoroughly enjoyed the pasta dish.

              The bartender suggested gelato and strawberries for me for dessert which, as promised, went great with the prosecco. And my husband enjoyed the Po Sundae (mint gelato, cinnamon, pine nuts & chocolate sauce).

              It was really nice sitting at the bar there for a bite to eat, I could see doing it often on a summer night.

          1. man, i'd love to try this place...cant wait! i think imma hit it tonight...weekday - should be nice.

            1. Had dinner there tonight (Thursday). What a pleasure. The menu was fairly short with limited specials (but note that that the specials were in the same price range as the regular menu items), but the food was great, and the service was perfect (less than a week after the opening). I have to say we were very pleased. The manager (when asked, he said that he was a partner in this restaurant with the owner of the Village Po) was really charming. The place was full by 7:30 PM, but I don't think that there was a wait for walk-ins. We had an appetizer (goat cheese salad), a Primi (white bean ravioli), and two entrées (sea bass and lamb, cooked rare as requested). Total price with a bottle of Verdiccio including tax and tip $130.

              From what I read here, I was prepared to hate the overwhelming music, but frankly, I didn't hear anything annoying.

              So, while we are normally not into "trendy", I'm so glad that PO has made it to Brooklyn.