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Anniversary in Brooklyn, short notice

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I have a reservation at Lincoln for next Friday, but I think we would actually prefer to just stay in Brooklyn. We have been to lots of Brooklyn "standards" (Saul, Grocery, Roberta's - though not for tasting menu, al di la, Dressler, Queen, Colonie, Prime Meats, Brucie, Rosewater, Ici, Lucali, Good Fork, Tanoreen, Stone Park Cafe, more that I can't think of right now) and would love to try something different. I'm a vegetarian, so that is a limitation (no point in calling Brooklyn Fare for cancellations), but my husband is not, so a totally vegetarian place probably isn't best. Food is much more important than setting, although a charming setting doesn't hurt. I would wait in line at Di Fara if it wasn't so cold. That is my favorite date location, anniversary or not! Extensive waits in general are not preferred, so someplace like Vinegar Hill House is out, but we don't mind a short (20 minutes?) wait if we can enjoy a drink at the bar somewhere. Also, I'm just not into Applewood. I was thinking Farm on Adderley or Locanda might work. We love Buttermilk Channel for brunch, but I don't know anything about whether the vegetarian dinner menu is actually delicious (I appreciate that they have one, though). We have a car, but will likely subway or cab to wherever we go so husband can imbibe. No cost limitations. Thanks!

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  1. Have you been to the James restaurant in Prospect Heights? I went when it first opened with married friends who are vegetarian and all of us enjoyed our meal. I haven't been back since, because I always forget that it's there, but it's a place I've been meaning to return to. Another possibility is the Vanderbilt which is owned by the couple behind Saul. It's more a small plate type place, so it may not be special enough for your anniversary, but it's worth a visit in the future. Since you like pizza, have you been to Roberta's? I was pleasantly surprised, and I didn't have too long a wait that a drink at the bar out back was a nice diversion with friends.

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    Roberta's
    261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

    James
    605 Carlton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    The Vanderbilt
    570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    1. I'd certainly suggest Locanda Vini E Olii over the Farm on Adderly which we found very ordinary, but check their menu (or call) to confirm that there is adequate vegetarian fare. If it's looks good, I think it meets your other criteria. They take reservations and the place feels like no other NY restaurant.

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      The Farm on Adderley
      1108 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11218

      Locanda Vini e Olii
      129 Gates Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

      1. I have no reservation about this recommendation: Convivium Osteria on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn. Not only is the food consistently superb (both meat and vegetarian dishes) but the space is cozy, romantic; very well suited to adult conversation > an anniversary. The wine cellar; I find to be the most romantic > otherworldly of the 3 distinct rooms.

        Sergio, the wine master; let's just say, "he knows his stuff". And is as personable as one could ask for.

        Some of my favorite dishes are: Olive Oil & Mint Braised Artichoke, Quail served with a Port Reduction, their Green Apple & Cinnamon Ravioli w/ Duck Ragu < I realize this dish sounds "ify", but it is "spectacular. Although technically a main dish (all of their pastas, by the way are exceptional, I will often order it to be shared as a starter; sometimes pared with the Quail which is also listed as a starter. Two excellent meat entrees are the Lamb Chops and the Rib Steak for 2 (which I do understand will probably not be an option for you). < Although, you might well rethink your decision of vegetarianism as / if, a steak passes your eyes and nose. As a note; the steak comes with an Peppery Arugula Salad with does a superb job in tempering the richness of the beef and fried potatoes; which; more or less are prepared and served in a traditionally Portuguese manner (which the restaurant has a vague, alluded connection to) but, I find them sadly limp when crisp is what's, in my book, called for.

        You'll never feel rushed or wanting to leave as soon as you can.

        I rarely suggest restaurants these days as personal tastes and particularities are so; well personal, but I believe I can make this recommendation with some degree of confidence. I ALMOST am prepared to say; if you don't like it; I'll throw down my plastic. < ALMOST!

        In any case; where ever you chose to celebrate your anniversary > enjoy.

        ab

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        Convivium Osteria
        68 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

        1 Reply
        1. re: allenbank

          If you haven't been to Convivium, I also endorse it as one of the Brooklyn standouts. We also enjoy both Farms (On Adderley and Flatbush, though I know opinion of the latter is mixed on this board). Of places that take reservations, those are the immediately apparent glaring holes in your list. Happy anniversary!

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          Flatbush Farm
          76 Saint Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

        2. We do really like Roberta's, and I am considering Locanda, along with James and Vanderbilt now.

          On Convivium, I REALLY wanted to like that place, and went there with two other couples for dinner some time back. This was soon after Tempo closed - we loved that place and were looking for something else nearby, as one of the couples lived a few blocks away. We had a bad experience and haven't been back. We ate downstairs, which was beautiful and unique, and most of our problems were related to the waiter. For instance, he lied about checking whether a dish was vegetarian, and then when I started eating it it was clearly not a vegetarian dish. We had to hunt him down, and when I asked again, he admitted that he hadn't asked in the kitchen because he thought it was vegetarian and they must have changed the recipe. Not at all apologetic, and he made himself scarce throughout the evening. I recall one laughably small portion of ravioli, too (maybe 4?) and my artichoke appetizer was weak. I love artichokes but am somehow unable to make them properly myself, so I like to sample them out and about. (Love the version at Brucie, by the way.) No one was impressed with their dishes or the service, and I ended up apologizing for choosing the restaurant. I guess it was an off night, coupled with a poor waiter. The space really was warm and lovely, though. We will go back at some point, but I think my husband will be resistant to going for our anniversary after such a disappointing meal. I want to give it another chance because so many people seem to love it and it is such a welcoming space.

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          Convivium Osteria
          68 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

          1 Reply
          1. re: Olive123

            I'm going to be the contrarian here. First of all, I agree with you Olive123. I've been to Convivium 2-3 times and have failed to be wowed by any of my visits. There were no problems such as you described with you waiter; mostly because we had no vegetarians at any of our visits.

            The Vanderbilt is fun for groups. I'm not sure how it would be with only two. You could sit at the counter overlooking the kitchen if you want your meal to be "all about the food." I think they can accommodate vegetarians well enough. I went there once with a vegan in our group. He left hungry. :-( I've been to James once and I *loved* it. But I have it on good authority it's somewhat inconsistent.

            So. My contrary opinion. If you want it to be all about the food, and you've been to most/all of the best restaurants in our fair borough; and you don't want a repeat. Go to Lincoln! It's not that far. You already have a rez.

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            Convivium Osteria
            68 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

            James
            605 Carlton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

            The Vanderbilt
            570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

          2. maybe rucola in boerum hill? although they definitely have waits for tables-- they will take your number, however, if you decide to go down the block for a drink.
            the first place that popped into my mind was the grocery, although you've been there-- because they have that vegetarian tasting menu and its pretty quiet and nice in there.
            wherever you end up-- enjoy!

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            The Grocery
            288 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

            Rucola
            190 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

            1. Here's another suggestion since you and your husband have been to most of the recommended restaurants. Chuko in Prospect Heights. It's a ramen joint opened by Morimoto veterans in August or maybe September. I just read they offer vegetarian ramen broths as well as vegetarian plates in addition to usual meat dishes and ramens. I haven't been but I plan to go soon. I'm hoping it will be as good as Ippudo in the EV. Here's a grubstreet post... Sounds tasty.

              http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2011/08...

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              Chuko
              552 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

              1. Looks like you've hit almost all the Bklyn standard bearers. Noticed you didn't list River Cafe. Not the most fabulous food place, but its good and the setting is unbeatable. Have had many b-days and anniversary celebrations there over the years. Also no japanese places on your list. Don't know if that's because you don't like it but 1 or 8 in w'burg is great, as is Zenkichi which is totally unique for bklyn and Blue Ribbon in PS has a wonderful moody atmosphere with all the wood.

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                River Cafe
                1 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201

                Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn
                278 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                Zenkichi
                77 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                1 or 8
                66 S 2nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                1. Thanks so much for all of the input! We aren't decided quite yet, and Lincoln is still a possibility. If we stay in Brooklyn, though, my husband is pushing for Farm on Adderley and I am pushing for Locanda. We may have to flip a coin, or go with our old favorite, Di Fara. In any event, we definitely have a list of places to visit on future child-free nights.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Olive123

                    Have you been to Purple Yam tet?
                    a whole different genre, but you might enjoy - restful environment, tasty dishes.

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                    Purple Yam
                    1314 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11226

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      I haven't! That has been on my "list" for a long time, too. We are absolutely planning on trying it. I think it sounds delicious and have read such wonderful things.

                      1. re: Olive123

                        If you go early, maybe Frankies Spuntino or Prime Meats? Both are great (though I prefer Frankie's).
                        We find if you get almost anywhere at 6ish, you can have a drink at the bar and by the time you are seated, it is filling up and you get the full restaurant vibe yet not such a long wait.

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                        Frankies 457 Spuntino
                        457 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                        Prime Meats
                        465 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                        1. re: lichow

                          This was last Friday, if I read the dates right. Where did you go?!

                  2. Applewood.

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                    Applewood
                    501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215