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Dinner to impress: The Grocery or Saul (or other)?

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I need to take an out-of-town friend out for a nice dinner as a thank-you gift, somewhere in the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill area next week. Based strictly on food, would you recommend The Grocery, Saul, or Po? Other suggestions would be welcomed, as well. It would be nice if the place offered a tasting-menu, but not necessarily a pre-requisite. Thanks in advance.

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  1. The 1st issue might be getting a res at all. The Grocery is unlikely especially if on a weekend. They tend to be 4-6 weeks out at any given time. For casual goiod dining, I'd say go to al di la at opening time, or Chestnut or Po without a res. Saul has been off for a hile and their portions appear to be getting smaller.

    Why not Frankies?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Larry Brooks

      I was there 2 Saturdays ago and made a reservation that same week (Mon. or Tues. -- I can't remember). It was much earlier than I would've liked -- 6 pm -- but the food and service were so good that I quickly forgot about the early hour (until we left and it was still light outside!). Despite living near it for years, this was my 1st trip to The Grocery, and everything was delicious: the fried zucchini starter was excellent: crispy, flavorful, but not greasy; the semolina-crusted skate extremely tender and fresh; the apple cobbler good, tho. of everything we ate, I was least impressed with it (but my husband loved it). The portions were just right: big enough that I was full at the end of the meal but not so big that I couldn't finish everything. And the service was delightful -- easy-going yet completely at our service. The owners visited each table, which was a nice touch -- personal but not really in your face. I'd definitely return for a special occasion.

      1. re: Larry Brooks

        Saul has never disappointed me. Outside of Peter Luger's and Dressler, they're the only Brooklyn restaurant with a Michelin star - two years running.

        1. re: Bob Martinez

          I agree with Bob on Saul, hands down. Most reliable restaurant in the neighborhood.

          I'm surprised brooklynr would put down Saul and then compliment Chestnut? I can't remember the last time I had a good meal at Chestnut, it used to be a favorite but it has slipped badly. Saul has never let me down.

          I haven't been to Grocery in a couple years, I was never blown away by it when I went and I don't like how cramped the dining room is.

          Po was great...then it was medicore...but then, I went back a couple of weeks ago and had a wonderful meal again, about as good as the early visits. So maybe things are looking up there.

      2. Grocery if you can get a reservation. I agree that Saul has lost something in the last few years, Michelin stars notwithstanding. Po is not at all in the same league with the other two, although Chestnut is a reasonable substitute.

        1. Grocery. We've enjoyed the tasting menu and the regular dinner menu. The duck is especially wonderful. The tables are a bit tight, but each time I've been there the staff and owners have gone out of their way to be welcoming. For me, this graciousness well compensates for any annoyance over the size. It's a treat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tiger2

            I only went to Grocery once, for a birthday dinner, and everything was perfection. Too expensive for me except for very special occasions.