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Elementi on 7th Ave. (Spot where Snooky's was)

While walking around the Slope on July 3rd, we noticed that a new place had opened (without any fanfare whatsoever), in the spot where Snooky's long stood. It is called Elementi and had a very classy/elegant look.

The menu looked to be gourmet italian -- I got the impression that they were trying to be in the vein of Al Di La or Noodle Pudding, but I can't confirm that. At about 9.15 on the 3rd, there were a few tables filled up front, but it was certainly far from packed -- but that's not surprising given that it seemingly sprung up out of nowhere.

It looked nice enough and with an interesting enough of a menu to make me want to try it soon, but I figured I'd wait to see if it was written up here at all.

Anyone else notice this place and has anyone tried it or know anything about it?

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  1. The silence on Elementi has been deafening. The place is often empty, and there have virtually no chowhound posts on it....

    FWIW, I had lunch there once. Funny combination of good and eh. Their version of BLT (speck, arugula, tomatoes w/aioli) was delicious, but served on a thick fluffy roll. The owner noticed that I was leaving half the bread on the plate, though, and he came over to ask. I said the bread was too thick, and he said "Okay, thanks for the input. I was thinking of changing that."

    Overall, I was glad I tried it. But the food is not as good as it should be for the prices and the "fancy" decor.

    11 Replies
    1. re: parkslopemama

      I think part of many Slopers' problem with Elementi is that it took over from the famed Snookys. That place was an institution, having been there for decades. But really, is it fair to take out the Snooky's demise on the place that is in the unfortunate position of being in the same spot? It is not as if the owners of Elementi shut Snooky's down. The market is as the market is -- Park Slope prices are out of control, and, presumably, Snookys' wasn't making the money to stay open.

      But where was all the support when Snooky's was nearing its end? Honestly, I never drank at Snookys, but did order from there on occasion. The food was decent -- pretty standard bar and grill fare -- nothing special or really memorable. Now I had only ordered from there during the past 7 years -- perhaps when it was still in its prime it was great...that I do not know.

      Perhaps the outcry (to the extent there has been) is more indicative of a displeasure of what Park Slope itself has become -- it has gone from a folksy, middle class, genteel neighborhood to an upscale, pretentious, a haven for yuppie ex-Manhattanites. (I myself have witnessed this during the 7+ years that I have lived here.) Perhaps that is just fine for 5th Avenue, which, as late as 2002, was kind of the edge of no-mans land, but for 7th avenue, long the stalwart thoroughfare of Park Slope, I guess it is unacceptable.

      Or maybe I am just romanticizing Snooky's and the change in Brooklyn too much. Maybe Elementi just isn't any good. I've never been, so I can't say.

      1. re: elecsheep9

        ugh...im so happy i dont live near you.

        personally, i have no interest in supporting any new places unless i hear its good from a few sources. there are plenty of options that have become my standards in the neighborhood. 7th ave and garfield is like no man's land for nightlife.

        with tempo doing their prix fixe, al di la still rocking as usual and all of the other usual suspects, it seems a bit foolish for the owner (apparently a local) to try their luck on a new eatery without a focus on exceptional food...or a huge pr blitz.

        1. re: elecsheep9

          While I don't think you're romanticizing Snooky's, I do think that people's avoidance of Elementi has little to do with its location. I merely think we've hit saturation point in terms of pasta joints, particularly mediocre ones. There's Tutta Pasta, Two Boots (definitely NOT a mediocre joint), Second St. Cafe, Sotto Voce and that new place down near Ninth St. Plus, there's La Villa and Al di La (most certainly NOT mediocre) down on Fifth Ave.

          What marketing genius came up with the idea for yet another pasta joint?

          1. re: famdoc

            I have to agree, it's a niche filled long ago so why bother?
            The only way to attract attention is to have good cheap food,
            or spectacular expensive food
            not okaaay expensive food
            (not that I've tried Elementi, but it would take something more than the mere opening of such a place to get me in the door and I eat out pretty often)

            To compare, on the new restaurant thing, I immediately became a regular at Sheep Station because of their perfect lamb chops and perfect lamb sandwich. Where else would I get that?
            Similarly, I go to Fish Camp occasionally, because that cod sandwich is great.

            I'm still hoping for a really good Ethiopian restaurant...

          2. re: elecsheep9

            Did Snooky's deserve support? In 20 years in the neighborhood I never went in there, and I live around the corner. Who were the customers? I can live without a sports bar with Buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks and misspelled specials. I may have gone there to drink once or twice when I was 18 (when it was legal).

            1. re: Peter Cherches

              this is a great food thread (:-)) - I mean none of the posters (including me) have been to the place and unless Im reading too fast, most didnt go to Snooky's either (I certainly never saw any reason to in 25+ yrs), and truthfully dont see what the issue is. The Seventh Ave Center Slope restaurant scene, like its clothes shopping scene has always been uninteresting - I cant think of a place along there that has seriously tempted me in a long time except for Mr. Falafel which is barely a restaurant. Many of these restaurants had long leases (Snooky's, Tonio's Carriage House etc) date from pre-gentrification Park Slope, from a time when chic restaurants really werent finding an audience. These are filling stations, take out joints and watering holes, like those on the UES avenues and have never pretended to be more. They have their audience of non-chowhoundish eaters - I dont see that any chowhound should feel compelled to visit places that we know in our heart to be mediocre - having said that, tho, I was dragged kicking and screaming to Tutta Pasta for a function last spring and it was fairly good, better than I expected, certainly better than any basic Italian place outside NYC would be.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Great thread. There was a time, honestly, when Snookys was the plush countryclub newcomer to a nabe filled with hard corner bars like Rattigans, and where most eating was done at home, except for the occasional Chinese, pizza, or coffee shop like Purity (now there's another story). I confess that even as a native, Snookys was a place for a bite with the folks just every so often, nothing more. Whatever happens to Elementi, and it appears they've not been astute marketers, it does seem odd that a comfortable, unpretentious, value-priced cafe (not a slacker lounge or) does not seem to be able to find a clientele. Or are costs that high?

                1. re: obob96

                  I started drinking in Park Slope when I was 18, in 1974. Rattigans must have been gone by then (or not center slope). I remember Iron Horse (empty for years now), Minsky's (now Miracle Grill), City Lights (real estate office, formerly Tai's bodega), The Coach (is that now part of D'Vine Taste?) and The Gaslight (Is that now the Japanese place next to Mr. Wonton?).

                  1. re: Peter Cherches

                    I was 18 in the Slope in 1966, and Rattigans was on the SW corner of Garfield and 7th, gone by 1974. There were others all along the avenue south, whose names I forget; Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life gives a brilliant portrait of this old Slope saloon world. Even more iconic was the Palm Pines on Union St., where Camperdown and later McFeely's were later: a very tough neon goodfellas spot.

                    1. re: Peter Cherches

                      Though it closed before I arrived in the neighborhood, City Lights was located at the corner of 1st street, where Artesana furniture store is currently located, which was previously a fish store and a fruit store before that. The Gaslight is where Mr. Wonton is currently located and not next door. Anyone else recall when they use to serve Mexican food out of the back of the Gaslight. My recollection is of eating at some picnic tables on the sidewalk and this being, maybe, the only option for Mexican in the area. I also remember being in the Coach Inn the day the Knicks won the draft lottery which gave them the rights to Patrick Ewing. Even though I was nowhere near of legal drinking age at the time, I sure seemed to have spent my fair share of time in the local drinking establishments during the 80's.

                      1. re: offtheeatenpath

                        I know this is an old thread, but wow. The place in the back f the Gaslight was called el Gringo. I worked there as a prep cook in 86-87. The gaslight was on the corner, and was sold to the chinese restaurant that replaced it.

          3. I guess this is moving towards a "Snooky's should never have..." or even "I remember when Park Slope was..." I have lived in the Slope for 30+ years. The assumption that there were never any great restaurants and only watering holes is just wrong. Snooky's back in its day was a fine restaurant with a decent menu and a great salad bar. Nothing could beat the freshness of their greens and the homemade croutons. It was family friendly as well. As was Minsky's, Ding's, Villa Roma, Tonio's, etc., Then, around 10+ years ago (maybe more) Snooky's started going downhill. The quality suffered. You could see the marks on the meat where the jockey beat the horse. I tend to agree with Famdoc, people are sick of pasta joints. Sette sucks, Tutta Pasta is positively caustic and even Tempo isn't as great as it first was. This leaves Al Di La and Frankie's 457 (I know, they're on Court Street) and even Aunt Suzie's for the die hard old timers.
            As far as "real Chowhounders" avoiding mediocre places: I have to say that I've seen positive reviews for places that have befuddled me. I figure they either received a rave review because it's hip, or the people giving it rave reviews are nuts. I guess when you get down to it the only original place in Park Slope that has been consistent in food that is good for the price is 7th Avenue Donuts. After all who can resist a Virginia ham platter and their fantastic donuts for less than $7?

            I will eat Elementi soon. Elementi, if it's good will get the recognition it deserves by the patrons.

            30 Replies
            1. re: bigmackdaddy

              I haven't lived in the Slope for the past 30+ years, but my wife and I did buy our coop on 5th and PPW about 20 years ago (2/88). Before then we lived in Clinton Hill for about 8 years, and we used to head over to the Slope frequently for victuals and libations.

              I remember the Snooky's that did have the salad bar and that was crowded all the time, and I fondly remember Minsky's (corner of 7th Avenue and 3rd, where Miracle Grill now sits). In those years we used to go to Snookly's for dinner, especially on weekends. If memory serves, I did enjoy my meals at Snooky's but I never confused it with a great restaurant. Same for Minsky's. They were terrific neighborhood places that served up good food at decent prices and as a result were crowded all the time. (Then the rents went up...)

              My wife and I used to go to Snooky's after we moved to the Slope, mostly for brunch. We had been going there often enough for the staff to know us and that sometimes made a difference. On occasion, if we had a day off together, we sometimes would wander in for a weekday lunch, which we always enjoyed. We liked the laid-back atmosphere and the opportunity to linger, eat slowly, read the paper.

              But, honestly, in the past five years or more, we never went in. Nothing conscious about this decision, just that other places came along in the Slope that caught our interest more. Snooky's quit appearing on our radar. We didn't toss it off.

              It seems to me that restaurant owners in the Slope now have the choice of paying the landlord or paying for a quality executive chef. Most pay the landlord, and hire whatever food talent they can afford, or so it seems to me.

              OTOH, the places that regularly get slammed on Chowhound seem to get along, if not prosper. I remember when Tutta Pasa opened. I thought they wouldn't last more than a year, two at most. What did I know?

              Dining in the Slope continues to be a puzzlement...

              1. re: BrookBoy

                What was Minsky's after it was Minsky's? I first moved to the slope 21 years ago and remember eating on the terrace of that restaurant and sort of enjoying the food. Just don't remember what it was called. Maybe BrookBoy, with his great memory, can recall.

                1. re: famdoc

                  For a short time, wasn't it called Third Street Bar and Grill? Or was that even before Minsky's...(I've lived in the Slope area since '74 or so)....

                  In those days, when you wanted a special meal in the Slope, you went to Charlie's on Flatbush Ave...or Camperdown Elm on Union (that may have been a few years later...)

                  1. re: jinx

                    I remember Charlie's. There was also the original Garden at 399 or 397 Flatbush Ave.

                    1. re: jinx

                      Minsky's became Rex for many years. It was run by the Malaysian-Chinese family that owned Fuji San, and the son is the owner of the dreaded Lemongrass Grill chain. Before the location became Miracle Grill it had I think three bad incarnations after Rex, run by the Lemongrass son: Vietnamese, Malaysian, Peruvian.

                      Charlie's is now Blockbuster Video. Was it Michel's before or after Charlie's?

                      Camperdown Elm either had the same owner or got their chef from Maxwell's Plum in Manhattan.

                      1. re: jinx

                        Minsky's was a neighborhood place that sat on the corner of 3rd and 7th Avenue, where Miracle Grill is now located. As I recall, it was casual, had entertainment, at least on the weekends, and drew good crowds. I think it was supposed to be a knockoff of the original Minsky's, famous, I think, as a Burlesque house many years ago. In any event, it was a lot of fun, and you could get a decent burger there.

                        I think the current owners (reputed to also own Fuji-San, a few blocks to the north) bought out Minsky's and soon thereafter closed it down, in order to open their own place, which I cannot remember. I do remember, though, that it was the first of a number of places that followed Minsky's (including Nam), none of which ever proved as popular as Minsky's.

                        I don't remember Third Street Bar and Grill, so maybe that was from an earlier time, or maybe I just don't remember it.

                        In the 80s and 90s, Seventh Avenue was quite a bit different in terms of bars and restaurants. There was a bar called Ryan's (shot and a beer joint) where Appletree now resides. There was another, slightly more upscale place called the Coach, where D'Vine Taste now sits (I think). The Coach served up a pretty good hamburger and was an alternative to Snooky's. My wife and I watched that marathon playoff game between the Mets and the Houston Astros in 1986 in The Coach, who let the patrons stay on until the game was finished.

                        Mooney's pub, now on Flatbush, was located at 99 Seventh Avenue in those days. They moved to Flatbush sometime around 1987.

                        I don't remember Camperdown Elm, either, but thank you for jogging my memory of Charlie's, on Flatbush where Blockbuster is now. Charlie's was a big and sprawling place that my wife and I really liked. I remember stopping in Charlie's for a cold beer after having been at one of the Slope street fairs on a very hot day, and we said hello to Joe Hynes, who was not yet the Brooklyn District Attorney, but who was well known. He was just beginning his first campaign for District Attorney. We saw him in Charlie's on several occasions after that.

                        Another place we liked and visited frequently was McFeeley's, a steak joint at 847 Union, just off 7th Avenue. They did pretty well for a while and then declined in both service and quality. Hard to say why.

                        Another interesting spot was Raintree's, an inviting place on the corner of Prospect Park West and 9th Street (the south side), directly across from the park. Raintree's was a beautiful place, but the food was downright bad, so they never drew a crowd. There's a condo there now.

                        Thanks for the memories, folks...

                        1. re: BrookBoy

                          Thanks for the stories guys. As I said, i've been in the Slope since 2000, so I have seen the recent changes -- especially to Fifth Avenue, but its great to hear about what the nabe was like before I moved in.

                          KEEP 'EM COMING!

                          1. re: BrookBoy

                            Rex....I remember eating there on several occasions around 1988-89.
                            Wasn't bad.

                            Raintree's...yes, pleasant setting. Decent brunch. Otherwise a disaster.

                            Remember a French place (name was a woman's name) in the space now occupied by Applewood (even before it was a private party space and a bar). Quite good, by all standards. Then, suddenly, shuttered, apparently because owner owed someone alot of $$.

                            Also, remember a French joint on Flatbush, called Bistro La Marsaillaise. Also respectable food, but must have been 15,000 square feet of space, always looked empty. Also shuttered suddenly after a year or so.

                            Ah...the good old days...when we went to Manhattan for good food.

                            1. re: famdoc

                              La Marseillaise was, I believe, the last restaurant to inhabit the Charlie's space before it became Blockbuster.

                              1. re: Peter Cherches

                                Yes, La Marseillaise was the last place before blockbuster. It was great when it first opened but then the quality declined ( probably due to lack of clientele) before they shut their doors.

                                That place was way ahead of it's time--authentic quality french food in a place run by french people. If it were on 5th ave (or even 7th, or even in the same place on flatbush) today it would be packed.

                              2. re: famdoc

                                yup - we greatly enjoyed our meals at that place - but the Park Slopers never believed it possible.

                                1. re: famdoc

                                  Bringing this back because while out to dinner last night a friend brought up that french place that was where Applewood is--it was called Adele's.

                                  Also, before Charlie's was Charlie's, it was Michel's... (or was that after??)

                                  1. re: jinx

                                    I've been trying to recall the name of that joint. It was actually quite good, by Park Slope standards. But, the owner got into some financial troubles and closed abruptly. It was then just used for private functions (I rented it for an anniversary party about 15 years ago). For awhile, it was Yak Yak or whatever that bar was called.

                                    And how about the place at the corner of 9th and PPW: Raintree's....nothing special, but good location and decent brunch.
                                    Didn't Charlie own it?

                              3. re: jinx

                                I think it was Third Street etc (we arrived post-MInsky's )- I remember a truly mediocre brunch there - the kind that comes garnished with a piece of curly kale leaf and an orange slice.

                                When my contingent (gentrifiers) arrived, there seemed to be a prevailing view that only good dining was to be had in Manhattan - it took many years before fine dining places got support.

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  does anyone remember villa julia where tuta pasta is now?

                                  1. re: parkerbk

                                    villa julia...sounds familiar..vaguely recall it....

                                    Thanks for the reminder about Raintree's, yes we'd eat there often, if only for the setting right on the park. Brunch wasn't bad. I think he tried to open a sidewalk cafe, was refused, and then shut down. That doesn't seem that long ago (to me!)

                                    I can't believe none of you recall Camperdown Elm. That was a lovely place, I remember my parents taking me there for my birthday when I first moved to the Slope, in college. Then it was McFeeley's for a long time, until J.T. McFeely opened Santa Fe and kinda lost interest in the original place. I don't imagine he's still involved with Santa Fe (and hard to believe that's been here as long as it has.)

                                    But coming back around to the original gist of the thread--Amazingly Snooky's stood fast through ALL these changes, it was a survivor, and the last of an era, so in that sense its sad to see it go, even though I hadn't eaten there in 20 years. And isn't anyone going to at least try Elementi, LOL?

                                    1. re: jinx

                                      I'm tempted to suggest a Chowhound naysayers' dinner there.
                                      We'll all eat our words when we find it to be magnificent.

                                      1. re: jinx

                                        McFeeley's went downhill because they fired the maitre'd, a gentleman named Tony who a lot of the regulars loved, and later boycotted the place, and because they changed the menu a few times and because they chased a ton of the regulars out.

                                      2. re: parkerbk

                                        Yes I do. I might have called it Villa Roma by mistake. I went to junior high school with the owner's grandkids. He was a big guy, 60's , bald, real intimidating. I loved the place.

                                        1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                          I believe it was Villa Giulia.

                                          For years I was a fan of the Oasis, a middle eastern place, then after it closed one of the owners/brothers opened up Who's on Seventh, which was a mediocre health food place. Anybody remember the really hippieish health food place in the '70s? I think it was called The Gazebo.

                                          If I remember correctly, in the '70s Smiling Pizza actually had good pizza.

                                          1. re: Peter Cherches

                                            How things have changed. I remember when Smiling was the man and Pino's was considered dog food. Now, people clamor for Pino's and La Forchetta their sister store. Well one thing hasn't changed. You can still get a decent rib eye at 7th Ave Donuts for around $9.

                                            1. re: Peter Cherches

                                              Ha, the Gazebo was the FIRST place I ate at in Pk Slope, summer of 80 before i moved here from college upstate. IT was bright green w/ white lattice, and i had brown rice w/ veggies and melted cheese and thought it was great (I was 21 and smoked a lot of weed then...). Now it's Cousin John's bakery. Another , and much better, health food place was at 7th Ave and 9th St, it was our favorite throughout the early/mid 80s, but I've forgotten the name. Lots of dishes in a great tempura w/ lovely rich sauces and rice. Then it too was gone of course. And what about the Slope's first foray into yuppie/foodie chow, "Le Parc Gourmet" at Carroll and 7th, now Thai, where Kelly McGillis of all people once waitressed!!

                                              1. re: bklynbiker

                                                I'm feeling older with each post to this thread--as in, when "gourmet" meant a place that had lots of jars of mustards. Durels, bet Garfield and Carroll, and Herzogs, on the NW corner of Third and 7th were two examples (both now gone) from my 50s-60s-early70s Slope boyhood. But then again, we usually ate from Italian Fifth Avenue, loaded as it was with bakeries, pork stores, laticcini, butchers, and greengrocers; 7th avenue was only really useful for Ebingers.

                                                1. re: obob96

                                                  Sheeeeet, Herzog's wasn't gourmet, they were downright delicious and deadly. We lived right behind them. We could always tell when they fried chicken came out. I remember Durel's. They were great. I used to work for Bellamellio's on 1st and 7th Ave.

                                                  1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                    Way back when from my vantage point of Union and Fifth, any place that sold imported German pickles was considered exotic and maybe even gourmet.

                                                    1. re: obob96

                                                      Did Herzog's sell those? I remember them being a Merit Farms type pf place, except a lot better. Granted I was only a kid when they were around and i stuck with their sandwiches, knishwiches and fried chicken.

                                                2. re: bklynbiker

                                                  anyone remember the big cheese, heinzerling and christophers?

                                                    1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                      I remember that other health food place--with the tempuras--but can't recall the name either. But I also remember the original Circles on 7th Ave...which served all kinds of great health-foody type sandwiches in pita bread, lots of sprouts is what I recall. Well, it was great to a 20 year old, at the time :) and cheap! Nothing like what Circles became later. Not even sure if it was the same owners, but the logo stayed the same.

                                                      1. re: jinx

                                                        AHA! Our Daily Bread, that was the name. Now, that was 'eatin in the 80s... OK I"m not sure chicken in tempura w/ jarsburg cheese sauce is especially heathy (!), but they did serve brown rice, and it all tasted damned good!

                                2. anybody check timeout this week? they gave elementi 5 of 6 stars...pretty much raved about it.

                                  i walked by last night from the train and saw they posted it right on the door...

                                  they called it the best thing to happen since al di la.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sam1

                                    One of the more unconvincing rave reviews I've read, actually.

                                    1. re: sam1

                                      I went last night and, although they still have some kinks to work out, when they are on the food is as good as anything being served in Park Slope right now (lamb chop special was superb). The arrogance of posters who blast places they've never been to never ceases to amaze.

                                    2. I hear they're not long for this hood which is fine by me. I'd rather see a good Indian place finally come in to replace this strange, cheesey 70's looking establishment. We got plenty of good Ital already that are far better than this ppace which is cleary out of step with the hood.

                                      1. This is the first time on this board. I'm surprised to hear that Snooky's closed. I've been there only a few times, but the food was great! Prices was not that bad, and for me it was only the traffic nad parking that was the down side for my family and me. Another thing that was a shock me was that Melrose Glatt Kosher on Brighton Beach
                                        Ave is closed. I went passed it today to pick up dinner and saw the gate rolled down and STORE FOR RENT sign on the gate. I really hope it just moved and not closed down.

                                        1. We had lunch at Elementi's recently and the food was good. Good enough that we decided to try Elementi's for dinner, too.

                                          Many people here have complained about Snooky's being gone, but that is hardly Elementi's fault.
                                          I have lived in the area for 13 years and my husband has lived here for 27 years -and neither of us ever had any interest in Snooky's. Always passed it by. My husband ate there twice and never had any urge to go back.

                                          Likewise, some posters complained about Elementi's decor. The decor is just fine. They really tried, even if the results were not to everyone's taste. What is more important is that the place has all new surfaces, everything is new and spiffy and CLEAN!
                                          (Take a hard look at most local restaurants, look at floor corners, along the floor moldings, bathrooms, etc, and you will notice how dirty most restaurants are here).

                                          As someone who grew up used to (compulsive) Scandinavian cleanliness (in restaurants, among MANY other things), it was quite shocking to move to New York and try to get used to all its grime and gunk and roaches and mice and rats, etc. I had never even seen a roach before I moved here. yyyiiikkkes!!

                                          So if you ask me, I am more than happy with a bit tacky decor, as long as it is squeaky clean.

                                          (If there was a board like this about NY doctors offices, I would really sound off.)

                                          17 Replies
                                            1. re: elecsheep9

                                              Still on our way. (We "always" wind up at Tempo ;-) )
                                              I will let you know.

                                                1. re: elecsheep9

                                                  We had lunch at Elementi again. Very friendly & fast service. Nice pasta; rigatoni w. baby shrimps & "light red" marinara.

                                                  We also tried Elementi for dinner.

                                                  We had for starters:
                                                  -Mussels in white wine & pesto sauce
                                                  -Insalata Elementi (arugola, roast peppers, walnuts, pears)

                                                  -Branzino "Mediterranean style", fresh herbs
                                                  -Fillet Mignon w. red wine sauce, strawberries, broccoli & roasted potatoes.
                                                  2004 Barbaresco
                                                  -No dessert.

                                                  We had a very warm welcome, and our waitress was very nice, -and very efficient. She did not know much about wine, though (let's be real, how many of the servers at our local joints know much about wine?!). When we ordered a wine, the year on the wine that was presented to us was different from the year on the menu. Our waitress was so totally clueless (but in a disarmingly sweet way) about what a faux-pas this is - that it was easier to let the issue slide. And, frankly, we had seen the wine list beforehand, so we sort of knew what to expect. (It is pretty short, but so are most wine lists in the area).

                                                  The food was partly very, very good, and partly good, and partly so-so (= the sides that came with the main courses).

                                                  -The Mussels were very good; fresh and tender. The white wine & pesto sauce was also very tasty. Great to dip the bread in after the mussles were gone.

                                                  -Insalata Elementi. I love salads, and this one was fresh and tasty, a classic pear & walnut salad, but exactly what I wanted and needed at that moment. (also, in anticipation of the red meat, I needed to start light)

                                                  -The Branzino (farm raised striped bass) was actually delicious. Perfectly cooked and flavorful -and tasted fresh; actually the best Branzino my husband has had in a looong time.
                                                  The "seasonal" veggie: broccoli, that came with it, was perfectly cooked, but a bit boring. As was the polenta cake, which was one of the weak links, neither one of us touched it. The hubby hates polenta and I am not fond of it either. I/we would much rather have just a small mound of rice -or pasta to go with that fish...
                                                  But, the fish, as I said, was a really happy surprise. Not bad for farmed fish. And very honest to put the fact (farmed) on the menu.

                                                  -My fillet mignon (2 pieces) was cooked exactly the way I had asked: medium rare.
                                                  It was tender and good. Not the best fillet mignon I have ever had, but tasty. The 2 pieces were not thick, so actually the amount of meat was the equivalent of one thick piece of Fillet Mignon.
                                                  It came with red wine sauce, with strawberries ("Sort of Christmasy", smiled the very friendly owner, when I commented about the odd combination -that made me try the dish). (red strawberry wedges= elf's hats?).
                                                  I had the same accompaniments as my husband did: perfectly cooked plain broccoli (a bit "boring", but actually, I am grateful they were not was not sauteed and swimming in oil, as seems to be the case in so many other Italian places.
                                                  -And I ate them all, actually enjoying the freshness & clean taste of them. Hey, maybe they compensated for my unhealthy choice of ordering meat ;-D )
                                                  Here the weakest link were the herb-roasted potatoes. They were actually pretty tasteless. The texture of the potatoes was too flowery...
                                                  (I make "killer" roasted potatoes myself, so I am very critical.)

                                                  We were full, and perfectly happy. No room for dessert.

                                                  Our overall feeling about dinner at Elementi was:

                                                  Pleasant, partly very good -with a few weak links. Friendly service. We feel it is a good spot for reasonably priced, good, casual dining and there is no reason not to keep Elementi in one's restaurant rotation.
                                                  It is not experimental, earth shattering food, but it is solid, good "classic" fare, and every now and then, that is just fine.
                                                  Actually, when I had their Chicken in Marsala sauce for my first lunch there (tasty), I almost laughed: That is a dish I have not had for ages, and guess what, it almost felt refreshingly different (in all its "classicness") from what I usually eat nowdays

                                                  We want to support Elementi especially since the state of 7th Avenue is so depressing. We want Elementi to succeed and stay.

                                                  We just do not want to see that space be taken over by another bank, a mortgage broker, a real estate firm (grrr!) or some other boring business!

                                                  7th Avenue needs nice restaurants and cafe's and we, who live in the area, should try to support the existing ones that at least dare TRY to open on 7th Avenue.

                                                  We are bummed out that Tempo Presto closed. It was the only spot on 7th were you could get a cheap salad -fast. The rent of that space (as so many other spaces on 7th) was outrageous. (Guess which boring businesses can afford it?)
                                                  Can't someone open at least a bar with snacks there?! Please. Anything but not a bank, etc...

                                                  As I wrote on another thread:
                                                  We knew Tempo Presto was about to close, but decided to walk over anyway last week Monday to see if it was still open. Nope. So we weighed the remaining, bleak options (not feeling like walking back and buying groceries) (and Elementi is closed for lunch on Monday) ...
                                                  so we
                                                  had lunch at Sotto Voce:
                                                  That was the most torturously slow lunch either of us have experienced ... ever. It took forever to get our food. We were both going out of our minds!
                                                  The service at Sotto Voce is about as uncaring unprofessional as it can get.

                                                  This brings me back to Elementi:

                                                  When we had lunch at Elementi (two times) we were seated, presented with menus, had certain menu items explained to us, ordered our food, were served our food, ate our food, requested the check, had the check presented, the credit card processed, and were out the door -all in considerably less time than it took the food to arrive at our table at Sotto Voce.

                                                  We are going back to Elementi, both for lunch and dinner.

                                                  1. re: FoodWine

                                                    Thanks for this excellent review, free of any hard feelings about the space's history as Snooky's.

                                                    Based upon your review, I'm game to try Elementi. Just wondering how much you two spent on that meal. It would be very similar to what I would order.
                                                    Did you have wine? By the glass or bottle? Prices? thanks.

                                                    1. re: famdoc

                                                      Sorry, I meant to put the price down, but forgot totally.
                                                      Dinner, including a bottle of wine ($34) + tax, before tip, was about $99 for the two of us.

                                                      The most expensive item was my Fillet Mignon, a special for that night, at $23. If I remember correctly, the Branzino was $18.

                                                      1. re: FoodWine

                                                        What a terrific even-handed review. I am eager to give this place a shot finally. Living near the park as I do, it'd be nice to have a place on 7th Avenue to go to regularly. Sometimes, especially in the cold, the trek down to 5th Avenue can be a hike (although generally its more noticeable on the way back...when I am full, tired, and usually a bit intoxicated.

                                                        1. re: elecsheep9

                                                          I know, we have about the same hike... maybe a bit longer.. (GAP)

                                                          1. re: FoodWine

                                                            Too funny...We live right on GAP myself! (Wouldn't it be funny if we were in the same building?)

                                                            1. re: elecsheep9

                                                              That really IS funny! One day in the lobby, we will look at each other and go: " ...Are you possibly...?" Haha.

                                                    2. re: FoodWine

                                                      thanks for the very complete report- I wonder tho how if neither of you touched the polenta cake, how you can say it was boring? Its sort of nice to see a restaurant trying to give a more italian style accompaniment to fish that the pasta or rice that "comes with" in italian american places.

                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                        Sorry, my bad: In my effort to make a long and winding report not even longer, I sometimes forget that people cannot read my mind.
                                                        I did take two small bites of the polenta -and then did not touch it.
                                                        (My husband was the one who did not touch it at all, he refuses to eat any polenta -even if I insist it is good.)

                                                        And yes, you are right, it is good a restaurant tries to be authentic, these were plainly my preferences. who knows, someone else might love that polenta cake.
                                                        And I do like Elementi, I give them big, big points for trying, for making a thorough renovation, being clean, serving food made out of fresh ingredients and for being friendly.

                                              1. re: FoodWine

                                                Quite frankly Snooky's went so downhill in its last ten to fifteen years that if you didn't see crop marks on your steak you were lucky. I ate at Elementi. While it wasn't great it was decent enough. The owners and maitre'd were very nice and didn't seem like they were snooty, snobby or trying to pull a fast one at all. My only real critique is their use of subpar olive oil. If they switch to real, unfiltered oil like Frankie's 457 uses the taste of their food would improve a great deal. As for the decor. Clean and simple. Nothing wrong with that at all.

                                                1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                  i called inquiring about their corkage policy and they didn't seem to even understand what "corkage" meant. weird.

                                                  1. re: TBird

                                                    That is below amateur. I wonder if the owners have any previous restaurant experience at all or if they decided to blow their extra cash into a venture they thought was interesting. Now that you say that it makes me wonder about their perception of extra virgin olive oil. I see a Gordon Ramsay episode coming out of this.

                                                    1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                      i agree. i was considering them for my upcoming bday. when i finally gave them the definition of "corkage", i was greeted with "oh. we don't do that.". i thought maybe it was a prank and someone was filming my reaction?

                                                      1. re: TBird

                                                        Well, if it's Ashton Kutcher you have my permission to kick him in the shin.
                                                        I would usually recommend Tommaso but from what I hear they're hit and miss on the food lately. Although one can't beat singing waitstaff and owner.

                                              2. My wife and I took a shot at MOIM at 8:30 this Friday without a reservation--only a 20 minute wait, but as we're de-toxing this month, having a drink at the bar wasn't really an option--so having a perfect parking spot in front of Key Foods, retreated to Elementi.

                                                The results:

                                                Fritto Misto appetizer: delish, perfectly cooked (calamari like butter) and a very ample portion.

                                                Pappardelle with Oxtail ragu: again, scrumptious (though, let's be honest, considerably easier to do well).

                                                The daily special, which was some kind of pasta primavera with seafood combo: perfectly fine, not sensational.

                                                Service: attentive and helpful

                                                Ambience: really very nice (we were in the back room, which I'd only seen from the front. It turns out to be rather elegant in a subdued way, and best of all, the tables are not jammed up next to each other)

                                                Cost--since we were not drinking--about $60 with t+t, which seemed reasonable indeed.

                                                No, it's not a destination restaurant and shouldn't be compared to ADL or Tempo (though I've yet to have that transcendant ADL experience everyone else seems to get). On the other hand, it has to be one of the top 2 or three 7th Avenue spots, and for now, at least, you can walk right in.

                                                I'm inclined to echo all the other posts in saying Give it a break. Give it a chance. Cuz you'll be sorry when it's gone.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: jmj

                                                  I gave it a try recently and had an acceptable meal there. The owner and his wife were gracious and obviously trying to please, but the staff messed up our order and, in addition, brought three of our main courses out about ten minutes before bringing the fourth. The wine list is well-assembled and fairly priced. I can't help but feel that for the same price, I could have had a better meal and much better service at Tempo and for a few dollars more, an outstanding meal at ADL. I think we've reached restaurant saturation point in PS. It's nice that we have restaurants we can walk in to without reservations and nice to have hard-working, well-meaning owners and managers risking their life savings to make us happy, but, unless a restaurant is offering something not offered by another restaurant (I'm thinking of Moim and thinking of the need for a Vietnamese place and a quality Indian place), why are so many people taking that great risk (and it must be a great risk: think of the $120+/sq.ft. rents, the cost of equipping a restaurant, etc.)?

                                                  1. re: famdoc

                                                    For the reasons I have stated in different posts above, we feel we really want to support this place. They deserve it.

                                                    One additional element here is that these seem to be really friendly people (including the staff, at least the ones we have encountered), who seem to try pretty hard and who seem to want to please the customers.
                                                    Yes, we have had some mishaps, too, but minor ones. The staff has just been so friendly -and apologetic- that so far we have not gotten annoyed with them.
                                                    Compared to so many other restaurants in the area, where there is very little effort (or just indifference or even arrogance and rudeness), I give Elementi high points.

                                                    Yes, there is room to grow, but we intend to give them time, and to check in regularly.
                                                    I sincerely hope you, famdoc, told the owner about the messed up order and especially the 10 minute wait for one of the entrees. If he does not know about them, he cannot make things better in "his house".

                                                    We have had two very good, partly delicious, dinners at Elementi - and, by now, we have enjoyed numerous lunches there. While the quality has been a bit uneven, the overall experience has been, at minimum, "acceptable", as you expressed - and at its best (surprisingly) "delicious". The ingredients have been fresh. My husband's fish has always been fresh and good.

                                                    They do need to expand their wine list, though. We would go there for dinner more often if they had a better wine list. On the bright side, since the wine list is so very limited, we cannot be tempted - and therefore we spend much less money at Elementi than we often spend at Tempo.

                                                    I could not disagree more with you, famdoc, when you state that "we've reached a restaurant saturation point in PS".
                                                    - It is not the number of restaurants, it is the quality of them.

                                                    Even though there are many "restaurants" on 7th Avenue, the situation still is pretty abysmal, especially during lunch. Most of the "restaurants" are simply not worth eating in.
                                                    5th Avenue has more restaurants, but
                                                    a) we do not always feel like walking down there, or we do not have time to do that (lunch) and
                                                    b) most of the restaurants on 5th are not worth eating in either:
                                                    I am so fed up with sub-par cleanliness and/or low quality ingredients in our restaurants that sometimes I just want to scream!

                                                    By now, so many of the restaurants in Park Slope are off my list, since, too many times after lunch I have had to almost run back to the office -and straight to the bathroom! Or I have felt queasy just in general. (No, there is nothing wrong with my stomach, it just does not accept low quality or non-clean ingredients).

                                                    But (so far) I have not experienced that unfortunate sensation after ANY meal at Elementi.
                                                    And even when we have had one of their pasta dishes (tasty) in "light red Marinara sauce" that has some cream in it (we would strongly prefer no cream), we still have not walked out of there feeling grossed out by excessive fat/grease in the food (-the way we have felt even in a certain restaurant that some here hail as the best one in the Slope).

                                                    So, while Elementi does not serve gourmet food; just pretty basic, traditional food -that food is tasty & clean -and it is food that is not totally drowned in butter, oil or other grease. Because of that, for us Elementi is one of the best places along 7th Avenue.

                                                    famdoc, you said: "It's nice that we have restaurants we can walk in to without reservations and nice to have hard-working, well-meaning owners and managers risking their life savings to make us happy, but, unless a restaurant is offering something not offered by another restaurant ...., why are so many people taking that great risk ...."

                                                    I agree; it is very, very nice!
                                                    And, btw, Elementi IS offering (at least so far) something not offered by many other restaurants on 7th (and 5th) Avenues:
                                                    -A clean restaurant, serving tasty food, made out of fresh ingredients that do not make the diner feel disgusted or queasy.
                                                    I for one want to thank these people for taking the risk and having the courage to try to fulfill their dream. I am rooting for them.

                                                    So when we do not feel like walking further away for dinner, Elementi offers a nice, casual choice. Very pleasant. The fact that there are a couple of joints (I cannot bring myself to call them restaurants) along or just off 7th Avenue that offer Italian style food, the quality of which is sub-par, does not take anything away from Elementi. On the contrary, it elevates Elementi. If I had to choose, those other Italian style joints would close and Elementi would stay.

                                                    And while it is true that we can get better and more "exciting" food, and more polished service -and a broader and more sophisticated wine list elsewhere (especially at Tempo, which is the best choice in all three categories in the Slope), we still like Elementi and will definitely keep it in our "rotation".

                                                    Besides, with everything that has been happening in the food world "lately", sometimes I find it quite nice (refreshing, actually) to be able to eat just plain good fare, made out of fresh ingredients, without gimmicks -or an affected effort at "creativity".

                                                    Famdoc, you write about: "well-meaning owners and managers risking their life savings to make us happy" ... as if there was something wrong with that...
                                                    = Most restaurants in New York start out exactly like that; with well meaning owners and partners risking everything, even when there are investors involved. Not all of them very experienced in the business. Even if/when the owners are seasoned restaurant professionals, there is always huge risk involved -and the risk of losing everything and more, is huge. New York is filled with these stories. Some succeed, some do not, some of them try again and again. All well meaning people with a dream, a good one at that....

                                                    The formula for success is not written in stone.

                                                    So I find it a bit odd to choose to question these particular owners /partners and their heartfelt effort. They do what restaurant owners all over New York are doing -taking a risk - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Kudos to them.

                                                    As long as Elementi provides good tasting food, made out of fresh clean ingredients, I find it a far more compelling choice than most of the disgusting eateries dotting the streets of Park Slope.

                                                    1. re: FoodWine

                                                      Great post FoodWine and I am certainly going to give this place a try now. Yes, 7th Ave restaurants are mostly awful and friendly management and servers trying hard is a good start. You're also correct that simple, good enough food should have a home on 7th ave. And good to know that the wine list isn't as wonderful as Tempo (!) as we also simply can't resist when we're there.. That Schiopettino - very, very nice on a cold night.

                                                      1. re: Roxy9

                                                        Just ate at Elementi this past Sat. nite they had a special on a pan roasted Dorad that was absolutely delicious. Very simple, whole fish, sage & rosemary. The service was great, very friendly but professional. I can't believe I ever played "Pac-Man" in this space. More important is they got the smoke smell out of the walls! The owner is charming and so wants the place to be a success. I went here with 2 friends after Moim wouldn't allow the hostess to push two tables together to seat 3 people. Seriously,
                                                        they expected two people to squish on the banquet and share one side of a table meant for two people. Success has definitely spoiled the owners of Moim. We couldn't believe the hostess offered us this ridiculous seating after we waited for 20 minutes. We wanted her to know why we were leaving and she explained the owners won't let them move single tables together when the place is busy -- so if you are a group of 3 people tough on you!

                                                2. I'm so sorry I didn't see this post earlier. Lived in the slope from '79 to '83. Didn't buy that floorthrough on Carroll between PPW and 8th for $72,000 and haven't been back since. Went to Snooky's once in that time and that was after my bachelor party to get even more drunk. I can't believe it still existed. I remember King Falafel on 7th. Circle's off of 7th. Our Daily Bread on 7th and 8th or 9th st. It was like they used the original Moosewood Cookbook for recipes. No meat and everything had melted cheese on it. Very hippy. And around '81 a place opened on 7th and Carroll or Garfield that had 3 floors. The bottom was going to be a retail gourmet store and the top was to be for catering. The 2nd floor was the restaurant and I believe that was the only part that ever opened. Great idea, good foresight, and it was a good place to eat. That was the 1st place I remember being a more ambitious restaurant. Christie's beef patties were the best on Flatbush. I love reading about all the places on 5th now. Thats where the weed stores were!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: dock

                                                    That was Le Parc Gourmet (as i noted in earlier post on this thread..) where Kelly McGillis reputedly once worked (tho others have claimed it was McFeeley's on Union, or one of its predecessors...).

                                                    1. re: bklynbiker

                                                      wanted to go to applewood for brunch but they were closed for vacation, and ended up at elementi instead. the burger with truffle oil sauteed mushrooms was ok. the "homemade" fries were scarce. the service was bit off. glanced at the all italian(except for ONE sparkler from spain. when i pointed it out to our server they said "that's champagne, not wine"...LOL). then was handed a flyer and asked to vote for them in the "best of" issue of time out....doesn't do alot for their atmosphere of elegence...lol

                                                      i sure missed applewood.

                                                      1. re: TBird

                                                        This thread is making me misty. Like a few other posters, I lived in the slope throughout the 80s and remember the wonderful dearth of 'fine' dining establishments although people wrre constantly complaining about the rampant gentrification going on each time a new place opened up. Kelly McG. did in fact waitress at McFeely's before she started getting good roles. She came back to the slope in around 86 and had a brownstone on Garfield between 7th and 8th. When we first arrived in the neighborhood, the 3 story place on Carrol and 7th, the Parc Gourmet, was the only place in Park Slope where you could get a cappucino. I remember Snooky's as already being in decline around 84-85. The big hangout I remember was Ryan's. The guys would be lined up along the window/bar starting surprisingly early in the mornings on weekends sort of harassing females who happened to walk by and spilling out of the door and onto the sidewalk on 7th. There was the 'Toy Bar," on 7th and 2nd or 3rd and Our Daily Bread opened a coffee/muffin spot on 7th and first. There was an abandoned toystore on the corner of 7th and 4th for years, next to a hardware store. Our fave eateries back in the day were the Oasis, the coffee shop on 7th and Union, and the New Prospect Restaurant on Flatbush. THAT was really the first upscale joint that arrived in Park Slope. Adele was a wonderful restaurant and does anyone remember Aunt Sonia's? That, and the opening of Aunt Susie's on 5th in around 88 was the beginning of the neighborhood's outward expansion. Back in those days we thought the neighborhood ended at Ninth Street and at 6th Avenue.Things change. I wish I could afford to live there now!!! Thanks for the virtual stroll down memory lane.

                                                  2. I used to work at Villa Guilia from 1981 to the mid 80's when Al, a huge old Italian Grandfather figure owned and ran the place. It was busy busy and great money for me while I supported my then boyfriend who went to Grad School at Pratt. The neighborhood was wonderful, full of art students, off beat people and families from all kinds of places. We lived on 9th Street between 6th and 7th in a third floor attic apartment and it was considered the 'last' street in Park Slope at that time. 5th Avenue was all junk stores, pizza joints, and places that sold cheap plastic shoes to the Hispanic Fashionistas that walked up and down 5th avenue in packs of ten or fifteen looking like a million dollars.

                                                    Villia Guilia went to Al's never do well son Fulvio who ran the once proud place into the ground in no time flat. When he took over he covered the beautiful outside patio that so many people loved. Then he changed the menu from old world Italian in an effort to imitate the Park Gourmet. It was a flop. He fired all the waitress's who had been there forever ( except me who refused to stop coming to work) and hired these sleazy waiters from Manhatten all of whom stole the place blind.

                                                    Al the originail patriarch was an amazing business man who bought the building outright and made a forture selling what he liked to call a Roman Special. Basically, it was pasta, seafood and an alfredo sause with artichokes that everyone loved. Many nights saw a line down the block and people gave up waiting to grab a bite across the street at King Falafel.

                                                    I hope to get back to Park Slope someday and sit on one of the stoops and watch the world go by again.

                                                    Its a great place.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: exsloper

                                                      I remember the Roman Special. I also remember all those cakes. I liked the old man. He reminded me of a cross between Luca Brasi and Peter Clemenza.

                                                    2. You remember the Roman Special! What a riot! Perhaps I was your waitress :+}! Yes! I had forgotton the beautiful cakes Al used to make, with pastry and creme inside. Also the superb zambione, and the zuppa anglais. It was one of those places one doesn't see in the city anymore, an Italian place with a nice southern Italian "home" cooking. Your memory of Al is perfect right on. I remember how he would go from table to table telling the customers " I maka this a myself! All of everything overa here I maka myself!" We would all crack up because how could he have make a blessed thing when he walked the floor of the restaurant all night long smoozing? Also, he would sit at the table with customers, they all loved him, and order up all this food and wine and the people would think that Al was comping it but he made sure we charged for everything. No one ever complained. He was such a hoot. Larger than life.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: exsloper

                                                        There was a night my mom ordered plate of zuppi di mussels and she said they tasted funny, as if they had turned. She brought it to the waitress' attention. Al came over ate about a quarter of the plate and said there was nothing wrong with the mussels. That was pretty funny.

                                                        My brother and I went to IS 88 with his grandkids. I forget their names.

                                                          1. re: Rini

                                                            Which one was Danielle's father? She used to play with my daughter.

                                                            1. re: exiledinwestchester

                                                              that would be Danny who is now grown and works on Wall Street. Al used to do stuff like that with the mussles all the time. What a hoot he was. I used to love working there.

                                                              What is there today I wonder?

                                                              1. re: exsloper

                                                                As long as we are talking about Villa Giullia, does anybody remember Sausages a la Mary - sausages stufffed with cheese, wrapped with prosciutto, coated with flour and browned and served in a thickened butter sauce. Boy, you do not see dishes like that anymore. It was good.

                                                                1. re: mike1213

                                                                  Yes! I remember that dish! It was named for a long time waitress there from Albania and it was her favorite dish. It came with a nice side of pasta and was wonderful to dunk the fresh Italian bread in. Also the Chicken Piccante was amazing too.

                                                                  True one doesn't see dishes like that anymore, it was really a moment in time.

                                                                  Al had an amazing business sense, one of the best restaurant owners when it came to taking the pulse of his clients and making money. He made a fortune there and bought up building after building on the avenue. He was a wonderful and very colorful charector. Its been really fun to talk old times about the slope! Thanks everyone.

                                                                  1. re: exsloper

                                                                    even a 12 year PS veteran has tripped down that memory lane ...... but why did it take so long to get to Elementi?

                                                                    we were there when it first opened; yup, nearly empty. But the home made pasta was fabulous and to find another place that has largish tables and elbow room was heaven. We'll be back, and hope many will be as well.