Sunday Funday in Brooklyn

Matt and I found ourselves back in NYC for his gig last weekend. This time, we scheduled a late night bus back to Boston on Sunday so we could spend the day in Brooklyn.

I was introduced to the amazingness of Brooklyn when I met Matt. I was living in the East Village at the time, and he was living in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. There were so many amazing restaurants and bars in my surrounding block that it initially took some convincing for Matt to get me to trek out to his neighborhood.

Once I did, though, I was amazed at all the incredible restaurants and the laid back vibe. It was a little tricky to decide where to go on our little excursion, especially since Matt lived there for almost a decade and has his fair share of favorites.

We started in his old neighborhood at a restaurant where his old roommate used to bartend and we would hang out sometimes: No. 7. They’re probably better known now for their sub shop No. 7 Sub in Midtown, but Matt had heard great things about their brunch menu.

The menu is small and very eclectic, but absolutely everything jumped out at me. (And let me tell you, that is unusual. I can be a little hangry finicky at brunch!)

Matt ordered the Korean Pancake with a Soft-Boiled Fried Egg and Tomato and Cucumber Salad. The pancake felt like a cross between a traditional Chinese scallion pancake and a latke. The middle was slightly undercooked, but the edges were crispy and flavorful. The egg – deep fried and runny on the inside – was a perfect addition to the pancake, and the salad provided some freshness and more crunch. The bite I had was amazing.

I was so excited when I saw Steamed Buns on the menu. They’re one of my favorite things in the world, yet I don’t get to eat them often. These were with Pork and Shrimp Sausage, Cucumbers, and Carrots with a side of Scrambled Eggs. The sausage was moist and flavorful, and beautifully caramelized on the outside. The buns themselves were perfectly fluffy. If I had to complain about something, it would be that the carrots and cucumbers could have been crisper. However, that didn’t stop me from chowing down. The eggs were a little unnecessary, but they were actually really well executed scrambled eggs. I even snuck some into one of the buns. The sauce tasted like a sweet, tangy mustard sauce and was great for dipping.

If you’re in the area and looking for a different take on brunch, I highly recommend No 7.

No. 7
Fort Greene
7 Greene Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
No. 7 on Urbanspoon

After brunch, we wandered towards Park Slope where we planned on dinner at an Italian restaurant called Al Di La. We had been there once before and I remembered the food being great, and actually very affordable. Win-win.

The only downside is that the tiny restaurant does not take reservations. Luckily, we had a bus to catch and had to dine right when they opened at 5.

We started with the Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad. The salad was the epitome of summer food: simple and fresh. The thinly strips of zucchini and squash were tossed in a light dressing with shavings of pecorino and thinly sliced red chilis. Perfectly seasoned, light, and refreshing, this salad was the wonderful start to our meal.

Matt ordered the Tortelli with Peas and Marscapone, Melted Butter, and Pecorino. They were much more light and delicate than they sound, and the lightly browned butter was the perfect accompaniment.

I ordered the Rigatoni with Pork Ragu and Goat Cheese, which was one of the specials. The rigatoni were wide, and because I have weird affinity for wide pasta shapes that made me quite happy. Pasta shape aside, it was cooked perfectly al dente and the pork ragu was rich and meaty. The dollop of goat cheese tasted like it was mixed with creme fraiche, which made it melt beautifully into each bite. This was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in awhile.

Of course we had to finish with a dessert. We ordered the Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake. The sweet soft pears were a great match to the not too sweet, melty chocolate. The whole combination was delectable. (Sidenote – For some reason I thought to search for the dish online, and found a recipe on for it! The secret? Browned butter in the batter, of course.)

Al di La Trattoria
Park Slope
248 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Al di Là Trattoria on Urbanspoon

We had an amazing day of eating! Both of these restaurants are now on my list of places I want to go back to (which is getting longer by the day).

Does anyone have any Brooklyn favorites?

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