Rucola in Boerum Hill
First off, let me just state that I don't go out for this kind of meal very often, so perhaps I am easily impressed, but I went to this fairly new place on Dean Street the other night and really enjoyed it. The room is nicely done, and I thought both the food and cocktails were good. I had bass that was perfectly cooked and came with a delicious squash puree and very good greens. The only jarring note was a pomegranate sauce that was too sweet and clashed a little with everything else. The house-made foccacia was very tasty, and the charcuterie plate we started with had a nice selection of things on it, including some interesting pickled fennel and good caponata. Plus, the cheese slices were decent sized and not miniscule (I'm looking at you, Jakewalk.) Friends had pan-seared chicken and pork shank, which I didn't try, but plates were empty and everyone loved their dishes. All the dishes had judiciously used fresh herbs on them, including some tasty fried sage on mine. Also got brussels sprouts and polenta sides--both very good. Shared the chocolate pudding for dessert, which was unbelievable—salty crunch on top and then thick, rich, and bittersweet.
When it gets crowded it has a bit of a trendy, beautiful people vibe, and the service is not super great (when a friend checked about a cocktail she had been waiting on for a while, our waiter chided her, saying, "As you can see, the bartender has to take care of all those people waiting around the bar, as well as taking care of you." which i thought was rude.) But the not-great service wouldn't keep me from going back, as the food was really good.
190 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
I like the place. The food is very solid and the people are nice. Yes, they can get busy, but if you are willing to go before or after the busy times, then you should be set. Given Rucola's hours, it's easier to do this compared to places open for 6 hours at night. Also, they were great about accommodating me and a friend on Thanksgiving at the last sec when we were both had to cancel our trips home due to work. I greatly appreciated having turkey and all sides which I thought they did a great job of.
I've sometimes had sketchy service at Rucola. Mostly it's simply because they're crowded and trying to serve as many people as they can. Though I have to say, there was one brunch where I'm convinced our waiter was engaging in some pretty advanced recreational pharmacology.
All in all though, I'm a big fan of this place. There's a reason it's always slammed with a 60-90 minute wait for a table. But they're good about taking your number and sending you off to go get a drink nearby. (Might I recommend the Brooklyn Inn for this purpose...?)
We ate there last night and were really impressed. The pasta (primi) fusilli with pesto was really superb as was both the pork and trout entrées. The seating is very close and the crowd was definitely "new Brooklyn", but with entrées at about $20 ad such good food, this place is a real plus.