Tempo In Park Slope
Since moving from Williamsburg to Prospect Heights, I have to admit that I often feel as though I live in a culinary wasteland. Venturing over to Park Slope does not seem to help.
Last night we tried Tempo. We ordered the polenta, fontina, mushroom and the homemade panchetta for appetizers. For entrees we ordered, the Bream, the pork scallopini and a side of braised kale.
The food was average at best. The polenta resembled something like Dickensian orphan slop. Although it tasted fine (you can't go wrong with fontina cheese melted on anything) -- there was nothing special about it. In fact, I had to rummage through the melted cheese to find a hint of polenta. The panchetta was equally bland and my gf felt like the pistachio nuts overwhelmed the flavor of the dish. Sadly our Bream was slightly fishy in an unpleasant way. The fresh tomatoes were tart and didn't complement or add to the flavor of the fish. The pork was tough and the scallopini sauce was too salty.
I really think that the menu (and culinary pretensions about the place) promise food that it can't deliver. If we had gone into a random italian spot and had the same food, I might not be as disappointed. But if we are shelling out cash and our waiter attempting to "pair" wines with our courses, I think the courses themselves should be pretty exceptional. I felt like we could have made the same meal if we had stayed home with a cookbook and attempted to make "gourmet" food by ourselves. maybe we could have even done better.
i dunno...personally, im hard pressed to find a great restaurant in williamsburg other than peter lugers and dressler.
that said, i was never a big fan of tempo til they did the 3 course prix fixe for $25...which i think is a total steal.
i had the polenta...i think it had some sort of veal ragu and cheese on it...i liked it. i had the rack of lamb for an additional charge which i enjoyed quite a bit. and the budino i had for dessert was very good. the key is to not go crazy on drinks and you can leave under $80 for 2.
my old gripes with tempo were basically that it didnt feel right. the place just felt awkward in the area, the service was usually lacking in quality, and the prices were too high considering the competition (al di la).
the prix fixe changed all that for me.
Tempo has become our "go-to" restaurant since the change to Prix Fixe. Even before, it was a favorite of ours, but now, on weeknights or sundays, its a no-brainer. I have never had a bad meal there. The duck pastilla roll is one of my favorite things ever, and the mixed green salad with goat cheese roulade is fantastic as well.
I have had a number of entrees, and have never been disappointed. And the sticky date and toffee pudding is delicious.
We've also found the service to be great with the exception of one occasion -- a recent sunday when they were SEVERELY understaffed. They did comp two drinks for us to apologize for the wait.