Fornino Park Slope--Thumbs Up!
Had dinner at Fornino Park Slope last night--we were a group of 5 women, and we were all more than pleased with the meal. The dining room is now less formal than it was as Cucina or Tempo, but still lovely room that doesn't jam you in.
Service was warm and welcoming, and they were extremely patient with us as we kept getting side-tracked from reading the menu and being ready to order (remember--5 women!). None of us is a major wine expert, but we were very pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed a very well priced red.
As for food, we started with the Pizza Vinny Scotto to share (bel paese, pecorino, fior di latte, cacciatorini al diavolo, roast pepper aioli, ricotta), and loved it. Went on to have several antipasti (beets, onion/goat cheese tart, veggie ribbons, and artichoke). The only one we agreed we wouldn't order again was the artichocke--just didn't have much presence. For main courses, winners were arancini, braised short rib ravioli, and chicken sausage. Also had some salads to mix in with those items, and enjoyed those as well. We did manage to squeeze in dessert--really liked the bag of donuts, chocolate cake, and tiramisu.
Both owners were very much present in the dining room, and checked in often to make sure everything was okay. We also found the prices quite reasonable for the quality of the food and the service/ambience.
Overall a winner...looking forward to going back and trying other items (and a few of the same favorites!).
This pizza is almost hilariously bad. There was an article in the times a couple of days ago about stoner food. Well...I like tuna fish on saltines sometimes, that doesn't mean I open a restaurant featuring THAT high minded favorite. This is melted cheese on a cracker, the pretentious toppings list notwithstanding. And what's with the service? Has anyone else noticed that it's inept? Look, this place went on a hog wild pre-opening marketing campaign, opened this gigantic, nondescript dining room and is in no way prepared to handle the crowds, from either a culinary or a service standpoint. Shame on Michael Ayoub for such a shabby, poorly thought out and even more poorly executed homecoming.
I have to agree-- found the food to be mediocre at best. I am pretty bummed about this, actually, as we were regulars at Tempo and at the old Cucina prior to that, and I really wanted to love this place. It all started out okay. We went on Friday - place was extremely busy but we got a table right away. Nice room, good vibe. Service was friendly. The menu sounded great, and I actually had trouble deciding what to order. But then the food arrived and nothing tasted very good! I had the sicilian pizza (onions, eggplant, anchovies, peppers, no cheese) and the eggplant was basically raw. I started to doubt myself and wonder whether this was intentional (do sicilians prefer eggplant al dente?) but then reality set in and I realized it was basically just a very badly executed dish. The pappardelle with duck and goat cheese was okay but just blah. The caeser salad was served in a style that has now officially become my pet peeve -- though it's a dish I almost never order -- long, whole leaves of romaine stretched out on a plate, sprinkled with a little dressing and cheese and a few bad croutons. I've seen it served this way elsewhere, but I don't get it....
Anyhow, I am hoping that perhaps this is just growing pains for a new restaurant in the neighborhood and they will turn things around, but at this point I am not hopeful.
I wish I could say I liked it more. I wanted to like it. I hadn't been to the W-burg original so I can't vouch for the pizza, but it sure looked charming. This place has all the charm of a chain restaurant in the middle of a generic midwestern city. Bright lights, bad decor. The food was uneven. We were 6 people so we selected 7 or 8 antipasti. We all ordered entrees and then shared a pizza so we could get a feel for it. I didn't mind the pizza but it don't know if it would be worth returning for. The pastas were very underwhelming. I had a crab and manilla clam pasta that was reminiscient of wonton soup, and not in a good way. A friend had a sausage and lentils thing that was also just okay. My husband's pasta with guanciale was another ho-hum. Didn't try the gnocchi or rigatoni. I think the best thing on the table all night was a panfriend skate. I'd never have thought breaded skate would be good but it was.
In all, pretty mediocre and hardly a destination restaurant but if affordable, passable, Italian, particularly for a group with kids, I suppose it's worth having in the neighborhood.
It's funny, we ate at Fornino last night, too, and couldn't have had a more different impression. (Except to agree that the artichoke didn't have much presence.) I thought it was thoroughly mediocre. We had the artichoke, a margarita pizza, and the duck papardelle. Very little flavor all around, and I was not a fan of the pizza crust. We make grilled pizza all the time in the summer, so, like jinx, we were really ready to like it. But I found it heavy and flavorless. Also the shortest wine pours I've come across in a long time, in the wines by the glass. It's too bad, we live close by and had high hopes.
Some of the negative comments about Fornino's grilled pizza (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696886?tag=highlight-5601522;post-content-5601522#5601522) sound eerily like the comments about Otto's grilled version.
I haven't tried Fornino's yet but the parallels with Otto aren't encouraging. Maybe the trick will be to skip the pizza entirely.
187 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
We need to give it another try and go for the entrees and pastas, but I still stick with my assessment of the pizzas here:
Unless they've changed the way they are doing the pizza crust, we really did not like them at all. And we truly wanted to!
I had seen your review, and was concerned about whether we would like the pizza. In fact, I think that's what prompted me to have us order 1 pizza instead of 2. So, what that meant is that we ate it while it was hot, as it was divided among 5 of us. And, I happen to like a flatbread (or crackery) crust--so I enjoyed it.