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Apr 19, 2010 09:02 PM

Couple of new names - BINO and VERDE on Smith Street?

Saw Po has a new name, Bino, but everything looks the same - has anything changed?

Also a new face nearby, called Verde - looks like your basic italian menu with fair prices (depending on the food of course). Anyone been?

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  1. Apparently the owners of the Brooklyn Po had a parting of the ways with the owners of the original Manhattan Po. I guess the Manhattan Po owned the name so the Brooklyn Po had to change their name.

    I've heard that it's the same owners, same chef, same staff, similar but not identical menu.

    1. After many enjoyable dinners and brunches at Po, we went to try Bino tonight. Maybe they're working out the kinks because they just opened the doors quite recently under new ownership. The salad with calamari was overdressed and disappointing. The calamari was rubbery, and the dressing was way too sweet and citrusy, and there was way too much of it (the dressing). The brodetto app was delicious. But the mains were totally overplayed, with copious amounts of sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives. A little goes a long way with these strong, salty tastes, but I'm sure they will figure that out. The service was welcoming and wonderful per the Po standard.

      276 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      2 Replies
      1. re: canoodlers

        Please tell me they still have the white bean bruschetta and mushroom cod. That's one of my favorite meals in the friggin city.

        1. re: the_state

          GF & I tried Verde last night, sat in the backyard garden which was very nice. We started out with the verde salad, very simple but great dressing, and an app of beets and leeks with cheese that was delicious. For mains she had the spaghetti with PEI mussels, I had the spaghetti w/sea urchin and scallops. Hers was great and would def order again; mine was OK, I'm not the biggest fan of cream sauces, but this was fairly light, the scallops were cooked well but the sea urchin wasn't too spectacular. There were a couple other dishes that sounded good on the menu so I likely won't be ordering this one again for a while. All in all, very happy with the addition to Smith, we will be back again, very reasonable prices, out the door w/tip for around $50,attentive service yet a little odd that they kept asking 'is it OK if I refill your water cup' throughout the meal. Will be back again-

      2. Had brunch today at Verde.

        I'm probably going to come across as overly critical in this review, however I want to say at the start that I'd definitely go back, and I'm only being so critical because they're messing up some basics which, if fixed, could really make this place stand out.

        First dish, the pancakes with berries, was solid. Pancakes were perfectly cooked, fruit was fresh, but honestly it would take a lot to screw this sort of dish up.

        Next, spaghetti carbonara. I'm a big fan of "traditional", "roman style" carbonara. No cream. For the love of god, no cream. And while this dish is simple, you need to have a solid grasp of what the goal of the dish is. This is obviously opinion, however I've had conversations with several Italian chefs in the city about this dish over the years, and I know that these are opinions that are widely held, and it's not just me being crazy.

        Firstly, temper the eggs. The eggs are Verde were visibly scrambled and hadn't been tempered properly. This is a texture / look thing more than taste, however you shouldn't be serving this dish if you can't manage the temperature of the eggs properly.

        Secondly, the flavor of the dish comes from two places: the pork fat from whatever piggy part you decide to throw in there, and the pepper. Verde's carbonara used what seemed to be very lean prosciutto, which meant that the pork flavor came in small pieces instead of being part of the whole dish. They also used very little pepper, so the dish came across as more flavorless than it really should have. Props to them for putting this dish on the menu (i.e. not an Americanized version), however they need to rethink this dish slightly.

        Next was the smoked salmon frittata -- the "rosemary potatoes" had absolutely no rosemary on them. They were also served at room temperature. The frittata was very thin, and filled the whole plate -- it came across as a very thin omelet, not the deeper dish experience that I usually cook, eat, and thought chefs tended to head towards to differentiate an omelet from a frittata.

        While the description on the menu listed several ingredients, I couldn't see or taste anything there outside of egg and smoked salmon. And it needed something. The salmon came in lumps, so your forkful either tasted like a plain egg omelet, or like salmon (and nothing else). It would have been really nice to have some other flavors in there to give it some depth.

        The staff were friendly and attentive (as mentioned below in another review, asking if we wanted our water filled every few minutes came across as strange), and the interior is really nice. The back of the house seems to be able to technically nail all the dishes - the pasta was perfectly cooked, as was the omlete, and the pancakes, and the ingredients seem really solid. However, they're tripping over some basics. Temper the eggs in the carbonara, throw in a nice amount of pepper and consider swapping the prosciutto out for guanciale (even basic bacon would work better - infuse that egg with some pork fat). Get some more flavor in the omelet (maybe some ramps at this time of year? yum), and don't cook it so thinly, especially if you're putting huge chunks of smoked salmon in there.

        I'm looking forward to going back this week to check out their dinner menu.

        216 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        1. My partner and I had brunch at Bino recently, on a Saturday. It wasn't crowded at all. I had poached eggs with asparagus & truffle oil, and a beet salad. Everything was fresh and tasty, so I'm looking forward to trying it for dinner.

          276 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          1. Bino was really, really bad. The waiter gave us a year-too-old bottle of Montepulciano, the eggs in the carbonara were actually scrambled, and their version of amatriciana had what tasted like a domestic prosciutto-- which, since it's basically just ham, didn't crisp up the way pancetta does. Blech. I wish someone had warned me away.

            276 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231