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Nov 15, 2007 11:22 AM

Il Passatore - New Williamsburg Italian

I just tried a new East Williamsburg place that has only been open a week: Il Passatore on Bushwick Ave at the corner of Metropolitan. It is a charming cozy Italian with a menu from the Romagna region (Adriatic coast). I met the owner, host, headwaiter, etc. who is named Christian and comes from that region bringing his family recipes with him. I've only been once so far, but the standouts are clearly the pastas which are all made in-house. The gnocchi slayed me. They were sold as gnocchi in a sage and butter sauce. What I wasn’t expecting was the lightness and melt-in-your-mouth quality of the gnocchi. I asked how they did it and was told that there was no potato flour in them, they were made solely out of ricotta and spinach. They were so good we ordered a second plate. We also ate the Tagliolini with smoked salmon and cream sauce which was superb, rich and smoky with large chunks of smoked salmon, and the Pappardelle with lamb ragu. One of the regional specialties is the Piadina, a soft hot charcoal grilled flatbread with fillings. We ordered the piadina formaggio e rucola. The flatbread is simple and plain and exceedingly thin, with two sheets stuffed with fresh arugula and spread with a soft white cheese. Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic these made for a nice appetizer. On the salad front we had the beets, orange and baby spinach salad and the arugula, pears and parmesan cheese salad. Both were first rate. Large wide shavings of parmesan mixed with the thick sliced pears and sharp arugula was my favorite. My entrée was the very tasty and tender Veal Cutlet Milanese which was pounded flat and breaded, served with salted roasted potato wedges. We shared desserts, a hot flourless chocolate cake, a tiramisu and a panna cotta. All three were excellent, the chocolate cake was notably good. The restaurant has no wine, beer or liquor license so we brought our own wine. They told me the licenses are in the works, and there is a small bar in the front of the room so I assume byob will no longer be an option after a while. The atmosphere was charming. Dark hardwood floors, old exposed brick walls with niches, simple metal hanging light fixtures and a deep rust colored red paint on the walls. The tables were all full, which shocked me for a place that had only been open for a week. Prices were very reasonable, with the piadina and salads at $6, the pastas at $8 and the entrée at $14. I took the L train from Union Square to Graham Ave and walked 2 blocks. The meal was definitely worth the trek to Brooklyn. I'll be back.

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  1. Absolutely lovely place, reminds me of what Max's is to the East Village. So cozy and chaming inside, wonderful host who sat and talked to us for a bit. Very mellow atmosphere with candlelight surrounding inside the room. The salads are perfectly dressed and the pasta was outrageous (all made in house!); simply divine! I urge anyone to check this place out. Very impressed with the quality of service and food. Will be back there often!

    1. This place sounds great! We will have to check it out. Thanks!

      1. it all sounds great, sounds like what they call gnocchi at il passotore, is what they call malfatti in italy

        1 Reply
        1. re: intrepid

          would you recommend to go there for Christmas Eve?

        2. So I checked this place out with a friend. One piece of advice: if you are hungry then you should probably be prepared to order an appetizer, salad, pasta and a meat dish.
          My friend and I split the meat plate, arugula & pear salad, the gnocchi, and the thin strips of pasta with red sauce, onions & prosciutto. Everything was delicious, but the pasta portions looked lost on an average sized plate, and they could have been served a little bit warmer. When we were served our pasta the waiter placed a bowl of cheese on the table a few moments later he walked over and took the bowl off of the table and placed it on another table that had just been served their pasta dishes. I thought it a bit strange that he didn't ask if we had even served ourselves any cheese before he took it away. I understand they are working out the kinks, and it's not like the food wasn't good. I will probably go back in a couple of months for a second try.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bosun

            I went there tonight.
            It was delicious!!!!

            I'll definately be back.

            The gnocchis were out of this world- soooooo soft.

            I also got the raviolis. they were perfectly al dente.

            The panacotta was awesome.

            Very romantic! Mama mIA!

          2. I went last night and found everything to be delicious. The menu is not very adventurous, but is solid Italian food. We also got the gnocchi (which the waiter told us was actually gnudi), but it was pillowy and delicious. We got the snapper, which was prepared with sauteed spinach (sort of bitter) and tomatoes. Also very tasty. For dessert, we had the holiday special -- a light sweet Italian bread drizzled with Nutella. Also very simple and very satisfying. The prices are very reasonable, and it's a cozy little place.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chompchomp

              exactly, it is not gnocchi, its also called malfatti