El Born in Greenpoint
Restaurants are opening in Greenpoint so fast it's hard to keep up. El Born is a new tapas place on Manhattan Avenue. The owners transformed the old space so significantly, I was more than a little shocked to see the new digs. It looks lovely.
We had dinner there this weekend and it was mostly very good. We had cod collars in squid ink (very good), patatas bravas (not amazing. The potatoes were roasted, not fried), DIY pan con tomate (pretty good), warm olives served with homemade croutons (heavenly), roasted octopus (excellent), baby lamb chops (fantastic) and cauliflower with béchamel and mozzarella (the real dud of the night -- almost tasteless). One of the best aspects of the joint is that the prices are practically 20th century. Wines by the glass for $6 and bottles in the $20s??? Would definitely return, but I know the hordes will overtake it soon.
We liked the food, but didn't like the cramped communal table (part of this may have been the bizarre decision to seat 3 of us side-by-side across from a couple so that we if looked straight ahead we were staring at someone else's date night).
Patatas bravas: definitely would have benefited from a traditional preparation. I've rarely met a potato I didn't like, but even I thought these were bland.
Assorted veg with romesco: a beautiful platter of simply, perfectly cooked veggies. Understated but good.
Watermelon radish salad: nice but wouldn't order again.
Roasted octopus: agreed –– this was excellent.
Tuna: this was also excellent.