Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rucola 06-11-2011

Location: 190 Dean St.
Time: 1:30pm
People: Shaumo!, BLee, RB, CK and myself

Feelings: I have been vegetarian and occasionally pecatarian for almost entire life, but it does not stem from any political, ethical or religious purposes. I have nothing against people who love bacon cheese burgers. I just do not like the taste, smell and texture of the meat. For this reason, I rarely enjoy vegetarian or vegan restaurants and their fake meat menu. Someone must have heard my prayer--We have a new addition in our neighborhood: a lovely vegetable-centric Italian bistro, Rucola, in Boerum Hill. There are many fabulous quaint Italian spots in Cobble Hill such as Brucie and Bocca Lupo, but a bistro that highlights the locally grown vegetables sounds like a little oasis in this recent meat-centric Brooklyn restaurant scene.

Rucola is a charming neighborhood restaurant that also serves as a bakery in the morning and a bar at night. The rustic decor and stylish staff might lead you to believe you have entered another Brooklyn Hipster restaurant with reclaimed wood, but Rucola has a more prominent neighborhood vibe. The menu focuses on fresh seasonal vegetables, and while this is not a vegetarian restaurant, several meatless dishes can be found here. The service is incredibly friendly, and it has a lively and nonchalant atmosphere. The noise level could get a little high since they have quite a lot of tables in a small space.

Compared to many brunch spots on Smith and Court streets, Rucola is more reasonable, and all dishes were under $12. My lemonade was exceptional without being overly sweet, and RB was happy with their good beer selection on tap.

We started off with scrumptious house made bread ($4,with jam and farmstead butter). The jam tasted solely of fruit with a hint of tasty bitterness from the skin. My baked eggs with broccoli rabe was subtly flavored and put all the spotlight on the freshness of the eggs and vegetables. With fresh, locally grown produce, you really don't need to over-season the dish--just like when I'm well rested, I don't need too much undereye concealer, so I hope.

There are of course dishes available for carnivores, but vegetables maintained their spotlight. BLee enjoyed her pork sandwich ($8, with escarole, red onion, taleggio, tomato jam) and thought it was fresh and light. The tomato jam was the highlight of this delicious dish. Shaumo's eggs and polenta ($12, with Italian sausage) was also well executed, and the tomato from the dish I tried was sweet and superb.

RB's whole stuffed artichoke ($7, breadcrumbs, herbs and lemon) was somewhat difficult to eat but tasty nonetheless. He felt artichoke is not quite polite public food since it goes in the mouth and back on the plate like olives pits.

The portion is on the small side, so if you are hung over and prefer to have a greasy egg dish with fries and salad drenched with dressing, I would stay on Smith street. But if you appreciate clean flavors and fresh vegetables, Rucola will be your instant favorite. I hope more vegetable-centric restaurants like Rucola, not vegetarian restaurants, will be available in the city.


Mina said...

Everything looks so good. I wish midtown east had cool places. This makes me miss Brooklyn.

Yosh. O said...

Midtown East has tons of great places!! I used to work there, so I miss it there.. it's like little Japan.