Thursday, April 9, 2009

Baci & Abbracci, Pt I

Passion fruit mojito, Caipirinha (Brazilian: Cai-peer-EEN-yah)

This entry originally took place on April 2.

My cousin Vicky and I caught up for dinner on the last day of Brooklyn Restaurant Week. Our destination? Baci & Abbracci.

The southern Neopolitan Italian cuisine is savory with a Mediterranean flair -- hearty with lots of seafood and beans, light on tomatoes, subtle flavors (some may call "bland", but I like the more subdued taste). Their dishes are less sauce-heavy than other regions. The portions were plentiful, for the most part (more to love), and the waiters are very attentive. However, the music and lighting was a bit inconsistent, which probably had to do with the changing clientele as the night progressed. The lights kept dimming randomly, and electronic beats quickly switched to a classical piano opera track -- a little jarring.

Otherwise, Vicky and I had a lovely first-time experience here. I liked the warm, inviting setting. Red brick walls (Faux? -- wondered Vicky, aloud) surrounded us on all sides, creating an intimate, rustic hearth. The only thing missing was an actual fireplace roaring in the corner and maybe some live classic Italian opera vocals.

We were the first ones there. It was dark and empty inside, so I was slightly scared off at first but the all-male waitstaff was attentive and professional, with the exception of one klutzy waiter who dropped Vicky's fork, but he quickly procured another. The menu offered a plethora of choices, from pan seared striped bass to goat cheese gnocchi, and beyond. We ordered off the Dinner Special ($23 for three courses).

Antipasti 1: Bean soup with mussels

I got the appetizer: Bean soup with baby mussels, hefty and filling. It could have used more salt and pepper, but I liked the 'natural' flavor just fine.

Antipasti 2: Endive salad with oranges, oriental dressing

Vicky said she expected "more greens" in this salad, but its combination of crunchy-tangy-sweet was a pleasing medley. Definitely not as filling as my soup, though.

To Be Continued...