25 October 2011

revuesday - Il Passatore

I'm not quite sure how it's possible that I haven't yet reviewed this spot being that it is one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants... actually, I know the exact reason - because it's been far too long since I've been there!  When I first moved to Brooklyn, my neck of the woods was very limited in it's culinary offerings.  Other than a couple of local haunts (which I also need to revisit because they were pretty awesome,) I had to venture further north to get more diverse grub.  And so I would make the long and arduous journey north all the way to the Graham stop on the L train, across from the White Castle and around the corner from the gas station to Il Passatore.

Though the location may not be truly authentic or glamorous, the rustic and simple Italian cuisine is always amazing.  The menu is pretty standard consisting of handmade pastas in just enough sauce and fresh herbs, beautiful cuts of meat and fish, and simply lovely salads.  The specials are seasonal takes on traditional Italian fare and are highly recommended with a glass or bottle of wine and enjoyed in a cozy nook of the dim dining space or the romantically bucolic backyard, both of which can make you forget the corner of Bushwick you're actually sitting in.

i love beets!
Unfortunately for me, my most recent visit took place on a slightly chilly day preventing me from enjoying the back patio and it was with my mom, not some dreamy date (no offense Lizzie B.)  Not that it mattered because we were so pleased with the plates we were served that nothing could have ruined this perfect meal.  Me and my mom must have pondered over the menu for nearly 30 minutes before finally deciding that the entrees all sounded so good that we'd just have to split one as an appetizer and then each order another one and switch plates halfway through.  So that's exactly what we did.  To start we shared the Ravioli di Rapette e Ricotta, a light pasta stuffed with chopped beets and fresh ricotta in a buttery scallion sauce.  We are both currently involved in a bit of a love affair with beets and this dish made us fall even further in love with the purple roots.  They were the perfect blend of creamy and sweet and we all know how much I enjoy something seasonal like this.  After we sopped up every last bit of onion-y sauce with the flaky focaccia, we were served our perfectly portioned entrees.  * (This is something that I really love about Il Passatore - they really do serve you exactly the right amount; enough to share a few bites with your fellow diners but still leave you feeling completely satisfied but never stuffed, a great accomplishment with sauce-laden pasta dishes.  My other favorite thing is that the prices are incredibly reasonable and that's really important for a broken broke gal like myself!) *  Mom was served a plate of Tagliatelle al Ragu e Piselli, fresh, long thick pasta with a meat sauce and fresh baby peas dusted with grated parmesan.  Meanwhile, one of the evening's specials was placed in front of me - herb braised rabbit over creamy polenta.  It was hard to make the plate switch because we were both so pleased with our own choices but after trying both, I'm not really sure which one was more to die for!

On previous visits I've indulged in a good chunk of the regular menu selections by trying something different every time (which can be difficult when I remember how good my meal was the last time around,) and I think that any selection off the dinner menu is one that you'll be happy with your choice. I am particularly fond of the arugula salad with pears and parmesan followed by the pappardelle with lamb ragu.  And you can't leave without coffee and dessert!  Really.  Most restaurants try to sell you on a digestif and a bit of sweet to round out your meal and usually I pass because it's either not worth it (in price, flavor or calories) or I'm too full from over indulging during my main course.  But at Il Passatore I always have room for dessert because their vanilla bean pannacotta with seasonal fruits (pears and apples on this visit) is amazeballs!  I believe that I made a pretty delicious pannacotta back on Bastille Day but it truly pales in comparison to the lovely little creamy mold they serve up here.  A couple of years ago my friends took me to Il Passatore for my birthday and made sure I got the last serving of pannacotta they had for the night knowing that if I hadn't gotten it, my birthday would have been ruined!  Not really ruined but it definitely wouldn't have been as sweet!

Even though I could rave all night about this spot, I'm going to stop because I'm already making my mouth water and I've only eaten a couple of cookies today.  Anyone want to take me out to dinner tonight?

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