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Jul 22, 2009 02:34 PM

O'Barone in Red Hook

Has anyone tried this new place O'Barone, which is in the old 360 spot in Red Hook? (360 Van Brundt.)

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  1. Yes, my wife and I went last week. A very friendly place with an owner out to please. Pastas imported from Italy, not homemade. Small menu. Very reasonable prices. Moderate sized portions. Simple, neighborhood fare.

    All in all, we'll let it go for awhile and see how it develops before we go back. We liked the food well enough but it isnt a destination place at all (at least at this point). If I lived in the immediate neighborhood, I'd probably drop by every couple of weeks for a nice dinner, well prepared. If it were on Smith St., it would probably be ignored. But, it seems to be the type of place that might just get its bearings and become something. We'll see.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve R

      My wife and I, too, went last week, and were pleased. Maybe not a destination in the way that 360 once was, but the cooking is solid, the salads extremely large and filling, and the service laid back but friendly.

      As for the pasta, I tried the lasagna and would be surprised if it wasn't fresh pasta. That lasagna, by the way, is a sauceless lasagna made with red and yellow bell peppers - if you like peppers, it's quite good. (I like them.)

      They're aiming to please, and are priced reasonably. Starters were mostly $8 to $9, save for a meat and cheese plate which I think was $14. Entrees seemed to be in the $12-$15 range.

      It's a very solid neighborhood joint; for those looking for a light dinner I'd suggest a glass of wine and one of their grain salads, which are filling and tasty.

      1. re: lambretta76

        thanks, seems worth checking out as we are always looking for a place to have a reasonably priced, less expensive casual meal. We may go tomorrow night, I'll report back.

    2. So we did go on Friday night. I concur with the others--a really nice neighborhood place, unassuming, and very reasonably priced. The chef/owner came over and sat with us for awhile (it was empty when we arrived at around 7) and he was very welcoming and seemed like a genuinely nice guy. Talked about his home town (Bergamo) and his take on Italian food, interesting guy. There were several specials in addition to the regular menu; everything we had was quite good--simple, but well prepared and tasty. Because the chef's heritage is both Italian and Austrian, there were some Austrian dishes--I had a special of pork schnitzel with roast potatoes, cabbage slaw (very good and I usually don't care much for the Austrian-style slaw). My husband had a pasta with a sausage ragu which was good. For starters we had tommino cheese and pancetta over grilled radicchio and a huge salad of lentils, apples, and grilled asparagus.

      Our only "complaint" was that the wine list, while well-chosen, had no bottles (of red anyway--didn't look at whites) under $30. When entrees are $12-$16 tops, it would be nice to have a few wines available in the $25 dollar range (and this is certainly possible with Italian wines.) We did order a $30 bottle of Nero d'Avola which was delicious.

      hope this place succeeds--we'll definitely go back. It was filling up when we left at 8:30.

      1. wondering if anyone has been here recently, curious if they've expanded/changed the menu at all. Was thinking of going tonight.

        1. No action on this place for a while now -- any recent reports?

          5 Replies
          1. re: lazylghtng

            I recently passed by at around 9:30 on a Friday evening. The place was pretty busy. I'm sorry I can't comment about the food but the fact that they're still doing good business in an out of the way neighborhood is a good sign.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              Thanks, Bob. We ended up going last night and it was just great! Very sweet staff, very homespun and authentic vibe -- no glitz, no pretense, but also not devoid of creature comforts like ambience and proper lighting, etc. And the food is clearly cooked with love. We had two excellent starter salads - farro with greens, mushrooms, chickpeas, and grana padano; and baby spinach with beets, potatoes, green beans, and ricotta salata. For mains, we had two excellent pastas - fantastic ravioli with asparagus sauce (kind of nutty like a pesto); and a special of homemade tagliatelle with calamari and pancetta in a spicy tomato sauce that was out of this world. Pasta were 12-14$ and salads were $8 each. One of the better and more enjoyable meals I've had in a while. I hope they make it! It was less than half-full last night btw. 6:45 - 8:15. I like the Austrian-influenced curveballs -- they were running a special of goulash, alongside the regular menu offerings of pork schnitzel and also a nice-looking spaetzle dish. We are def returning.

              360 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              1. re: lazylghtng

                I've only been once. Last September. I thought the food was quite good, but thought the wine prices were way too high (I think the lowest price wine was $32) in view of the ambience and neighoborhood. Have they added any less expensive selections since then?

                Noodle Pudding has a bottle of drinkable red at $14 and many excellent selections under $30.

                If Trader Joe's can sell high quality wine for under $6 a bottle retail, why can't other restaurants offer us a bottle or two in the $15 $20 range. That would still allow a nice markup for the resto.

                Noodle Pudding
                38 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                1. re: boccalupo

                  "thought the food was quite good, but thought the wine prices were way too high..."

                  That's where O'Barone is choosing to make it's profits. The entrees average under $13. If they bumped them up to $16 and dropped their wine prices the effect would be the same. Either way, it's still a cheap night out.

              2. re: Bob Martinez

                I went last night for the first time. DELICIOUS. Had the calamari and baby arugula app and the faggotini pasta, which are little purses of gorgonzola (mixed with something milder--it definitely was not a lump of pure gorgonzola) in a walnut sauce with sweet pear cubes. It was so rich and unique. My bf had the spaetzle with bacon and cheese sauce, and he was very pleased as well. Total bill for 1 app and 2 pastas was $40.
                It was very crowded last night and we were wedged between two loud parties of 10, so while I will definitely be back, I'll try to make it weeknight instead! I wanted to try the chocolate sausage dessert, but just couldn't bear staying there any longer. I'm really glad they're doing well, though. If you're going on a Friday or Saturday, I suggest reservations.

            2. I've been twice, and I had a great time on both occasions. The atmosphere is casual, and the service is eclectic: we had the same waiter twice. On the last visit we arrived for an early dinner, and the waiter just sat down with us to take our order: he was very entertaining.

              The food is great, we've had the brasaeola carpaccio, the tuna carpaccio for starters, and the pappardelle and pork schnitzel on the visits. All the ingredients were fresh, and we really enjoyed both meals.

              The dinner prices are reasonable, and I didn't find the wine exceptionally overpriced compared to other restaurants.

              Anyway, I consider Al Di La the best Italian in Bklyn, and I would put this a notch below; but it is still makes for an excellent meal and a fun evening. Mass transit is tough to get there, but drving is easy, and parking is easy as well.

              Al Di La
              248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215