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Nov 22, 2008 01:15 PM

TEMPO update.

All “old timers” on these boards know how much I (& the Hubby) love Tempo. After trying out lots of different restaurants in the Park Slope / Prospect Heights area lately, Tempo still remains our strong favorite. For a while we were so frustrated with all the other restaurants in the area, that we rather cooked ourselves than dined in a restaurant in the area. We felt we got better food that way. (and better wine).

The only bright star – for us- has been Tempo. It seems. more than ever, to be the strong constant that delivers every time. Ahh, the food, the good service & renewed positive energy -and last but not least, the ever amazing wine list, that has new gems added to it, even though we weren’t even through the “old” selection. Every dinner we have had there lately has been so positive, so thoroughly enjoyable that we just keep wanting to go back.

I cannot help it. Everything just fits. The service is so friendly and efficient. My water glass is always full. Every time we dine at another restaurant in the area we are not totally happy with the experience. Mostly not with the food. Even at one of our favorites, the Garden Café, which is mostly very good, we always feel that we are compromising: their wine list is short and, while it has OK wines on it, it is not too exciting. We are big on red wine, so even if the food is excellent –if the wine list is not- we are not really happy.

For a long time now, we have felt that the food at Tempo has been consistently good.
Now Tempo has some new items on the menu and for example the duck, even though not “new and groundbreaking” as a dish, is making me really happy. Tempo’s duck is really good. For a while now, I have been wondering why “no one” makes duck anymore. I do not need new inventions every time I eat in a restaurant: sometimes I am much happier with well-executed classics, or twists of classics. Real food made of fresh, high quality ingredients, by a skilled chef. And the “new” (not so new anymore) chef at Tempo seems to be “in the zone” and delivers delicious dishes. The hubby has loved all his fish dishes, too. They have been both fresh (super important) and well prepared.

Last Saturday the owners, Robert and Michael told us additional news, news that we personally liked a lot:
In December, on Saturdays, Tempo donates 70% of our / your dinner checks to a charity called Check it out, it is quite impressive. In these hard times, this is so great.
I love the idea; both the organization – and the fact that Tempo wants to participate. So, I know which restaurant we will eat in during December Saturdays. In addition to enjoying a wonderful meal, I can feel good about the fact that I am benefiting the needy.

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  1. oops, I thought my first post did not "stick", so I wrote this second, expanded post. Oh, well. Good things come in pairs ;-)

    1. As always, my wife and I fully agree with you about Tempo. We were there last night with another couple and 2 of us (myself included) had the duck entree. Excellent. My wife had the pork chop and I'd highly recommend it as well. What I really appreciate there is the willingness to keep changing things, trying to keep up with shifting trends and diner preferences. Although I personally loved the prix fixe, the a la carte menu that they've now instituted seems to be what more folks wanted and it's fine by us as well. I was very glad to see it crowded last night & we love the Tues/Wed 1/2price wine by the bottle deal. With their list, this is a steal.

      The December donation dinner is just like them. We'll be sure to come.

      (by the way, the Garden Cafe is gone).

      7 Replies
      1. re: Steve R

        The wife and I were at Tempo last night (Saturday night), passing by a packed to the gills AL Di La at 10pm (which we never intended on going in to begin with), and it was terrific as usual. She had the duck entree (as always), and it was delicious, alhtough they seemed to have replaced the figs with a poached pear. The pear is considerably less sweet, and texturally different. I liked the combo, but she did miss the fig.

        I had the pork chop, which was huge and delicious. I took half of it home.

        I also tried the chicken liver bruschetta appetizer special, which was simply fantastic. Just a great rendition of a classic comfort food.

        As always the service was spot on, extremely friendly and attentive, but not obsequious and overbearing. And we had our usual waiter who surprised us a complimentary glass of the sparkling muscato at dessert.

        I was a little worried about the dropping of the prix fixe, but in reality, the price ends up being the same. The difference is, you don't have to eat as much if you don't want. And, based on the quick calculations in my head, I think the ribeye for 2 actually ends up being cheaper than before!

        Look forward to heading over there in December and "doing our part" for charity. How knew giving back (and taking a tax deduction) could be so delicious!

        Last night just reaffimred what I have long known -- Tempo is by far the best thing going in this part of Brooklyn.

        1. re: Steve R

          Steve, I was a bit confused when you mentioned that Garden Cafe is gone, since we had just dined there. We knew they had had plans to sell, but that did not happen.

          We have unfortunately not had a chance to go back to Garden Cafe, but have walked past it several times during dinner hours and it is definitely open. Same decor, diners at the tables. I sure hope people have not stopped going there because they mistakenly think it is closed. :-(

          1. re: FoodWine

            That's exactly what happened. We stopped even looking after several people had definitively said it was gone; however, they never closed and I'm sorry about spreading this misinformation. Gotta go back. Hopefully, they've gotten their energy up again... the last time we were there she looked like she was definitely ready to move on.

            1. re: Steve R

              As I recall the story about Garden Cafe closing appeared on Eater. They quoted some real estate website which was offering the location for sale.

              ETA: Yep. The Eater story linked to Craigslist. At the time the story appeared the Craigslist link was active - it's dead now.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                there was a for sale sign on the door I believe - gone now.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  So sorry to learn that GARDEN CAFE has closed its doorsa. We enjoyed many lovely dinners there.

                  It is almost an impossible situation to manage and make a living. Two people and just a few tables.

                  We wish tham all the best in whatever new endeavor they choose.

                  In the mean time, I have to double ditto the great reports on TEMPO. It just seems to get better and better. The quality is consistently excellent, and the value is incredible.

                  Their new Gelato, the honey, chestnut with candied chestnut is sublime!

                  1. re: Fleur

                    Garden Café is still open and operating exactly as before with the same couple in the kitchen and out front. It look liked they decide to stay. Probably couldn't get the price they needed to leave. Their loss, but our benefit.

        2. Does Tempo still have the dinner special for during the week? I think it was $25 for three courses...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Olive123

            No more prix fixe, all a la carte now. But, they do offer a three course pasta special up until 6:30 for $19.95 (I think only M-F) and 1/2 price on all bottles of wine Tuesday and Wednesday.

            1. re: jinx

              And a generous 3 course Restaurant Week special for $23 that 4 of us had last night. Very nice.

          2. In terms of overall quality, service, atmosphere, and value, I think Tempo is the best restaurant in Brooklyn.

            I have been almost a dozen times over the past 3 years, and I have yet to be disappointed. The food has always been exceptional. It seems they recently added some new items to the menu, and they are as good as any others. And the service has always been gracious, helpful and professional.

            I went on Sunday, mistakingly thinking restaurant week had already started. It had not, but since we had arrived at 6:00, we were able to order from the $19.95 three course menu. There were also half priced bottles of wine, and even free glasses of sangria. A fantastic deal!

            I think there are many excellent restaurants in Brooklym, including Al Di La, Dresslers, and many more. But in terms of overall experience and value, nothing seems to compete with Tempo.

            4 Replies
            1. re: millerd

              I had a nice meal a few weeks back, solid food and the 1/2 price wine was great. Is it exceptional food? Not in my opinion. Take for instance the duck appetizer, highly recommended by the staff it comes standing upright, an awkward presentation and to top it all of, it's dusted with powdered sugar. It was okay, but certainly not great. Same goes for the porchetta, a fatty piece of pork stuffed with sausage, but this was a little bit one note, and the pork could have either been seared to create a crispy exterior or trimmed of some of the excess chewy fat. I did thoroughly enjoy the bucatini, a simple, tasty dish and the wine selection if one of the best in all of brooklyn from what I can tell. I'll take Al Di La over Tempo any day, but I'll come back to Tempo for the wine and maybe a pasta.

              1. re: ginsbera

                Everyone's taste is different, but the Duck B'Stilla Appetizer at TEMPO is an authentic take on a Moroccan Classic. It is, traditionally made with Pigeon, but ALWAYS topped with Powdered Sugar and Almonds.

                1. re: Fleur

                  agreed, everyone's taste is different. I just would have expected a little less sweetness for an appetizer, but thats just my opinion.

                  1. re: ginsbera

                    I know what you mean, though: Because I have noticed that the powdered sugar interferes with the flavor of our dinner wine (mostly red wine), I nowadays ask for the Duck Pastilla Rolls without the powdered sugar.

                    One of the wonderful things about Tempo is that they really, really want to please their customers. I know that asking to get something without the sugar on top is no biggie, but they do try to do their best to please, as long as the request is reasonable.