Reclaimed Wood Charmer at Rucola
Photo by Joshua Kristal
Though South Brooklyn is not lacking in restaurants, Boerum Hill has surprisingly few good neighborhood dinner spots, especially when you wander off Smith Street or Atlantic Avenue. On Thursday, April 28, the brownstone zone will get a new contender: Northern Italian charmer Rucola Brooklyn.
Cousins and managing partners Julian Brizzi and Henry Rich are opening up the 48-seat restaurant at Dean and Bond streets with a menu of rustic dishes (think hearty vegetables, pastas and meats) courtesy of chef Joe Pasqualetto (Daniel, Café Boulud, Gilt). A cocktail list of bitter, herbaceous drinks comes from former San Francisco mixologist Christa Manalo (Beretta).
The inspiration for the restaurant and bar came in part from the time Brizzi spent as a child with his family in Elba, Italy, and from his travels of the Dolomite region as a food writer. His tenure in the New York restaurant scene–as server, bartender and manager–has included Gramercy Tavern, Frankies and Prime Meats, and those connections no doubt influence the restaurant’s focus on local produce (herbs from the roof garden, veggies from local farms).
Until the early 1980s, the space–spotted just hours after the “For Sale” sign went up in the window–was a butcher shop and pickle store, after which it became an illegal residence, according to neighborhood lore.
Now completely transformed, the restaurant sports reclaimed plywood floors from Rhode Island and a wood ceiling from a Pennsylvania barn. Exposed brick, sage green walls, wooden tables, a hand-built bar and a tall stack of antique crates keep with the rustic theme. The 14-foot long communal table is also built from reclaimed wood.
Once breakfast and lunch start, the restaurant will open at 7 a.m. and serve Stumptown coffee and espresso drinks and dishes such as house-made brioche and frittata. Salads, sandwiches (I’m looking forward to the roasted pork and broccoli rabe) and a pizza rustica anchor the lunch menu.
As part of its community focus, Rucola has an in-house CSA, This Batch, headed by restaurant partner, Chris Muscarella. The commitment-free CSA offers produce from area farms–the same produce Rucola chefs will be using in-house. Sign up for the weekly email and choose on a week-by-week basis to buy the week’s haul, or not. For more information, read the South Brooklyn Post story on This Batch:
190 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Hours: Opening with hours of Tuesday through Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Breakfast (to start at 7 a.m.) and lunch coming soon