October 09, 2009


Yoga Jen and I met at Fragole sometime last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal (and found a new favorite Chianti!) We get together from time to time, and our latest trip was a return to this awesome, no-frills Italian spot in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens.

I'd forgotten about a staple there: instead of serving butter with their bread, Fragole brings out this tomato-based dip with lots of spices and usually a few delicious olives in it. We ate every drop of it.

We started with one of the specials: grilled corn salad with shrimp and avocado. It was DELICIOUS! The corn was still on the cob, and it had those char marks from the grill, as did the shrimp (grilled shrimp=one of my favorites!) The avocados were perfectly ripe, and the dressing was tangy and citrusy. I even enjoyed the arugula, with its sharp, peppery bite that wasn't bitter. This was a great dish, and reasonably priced at just under 9 bucks.

Fragole has a good wine list, but they also break it out into another section: 27 dollar bottles. They offer about 6 reds, 6 whites at this price, for people who want to take some of the guesswork out of the ordering. These bottles are definitely crowdpleasers. We opted for a white this time: a 2006 Malvasia Bianca--I forgot to write down all the info on this wine, but it was nice without being too sweet, and it went well with everything. I also can't seem to drink as much white wine as red, which I guess can be a good thing. ;)

Jen got the grilled salmon, which came in a citrus sauce and a light blanketing of capers (a food I'm learning to like, slowly), sautéed spinach, and mashed potatoes. I sampled a bite and it was delicious.

I ordered the homemade black linguini with grilled shrimp, wilted arugula and a spicy arrabiata sauce. Normally I do NOT order pasta when eating out. It's something I can make at home, blah blah, but this was made there, fresh, and it just stuck out to me. The sauce was not really spicy at all, which normally would really disappoint me--but it was such a good dish I didn't even mind the lack of heat. I am so glad I ordered it--Jen tried a bite and declared she's getting it on her next visit. There will always be a next visit to Fragole.

Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, dessert came. I ordered the tiramisu. Jen had tried it on her previous visit and raved about how excellent it was. Here's the thing: I've had so many bad tiramisus that I stopped ordering it a long time ago--it just never lived up to my hopes. I knew Jen wouldn't steer me wrong--and she was oh-so-right. I took a bite, rolled my eyes in taste-bud ecstasy, and said 'THIS is how tiramisu should taste!" Intense chocolate flavor from the powder, strong but not overpowering liqueur flavor in the ladyfingers, and coffee. How I love thee, coffee. I shared some with Jen, and then proceeded to eat every last bite.

Jen's dessert, however, even exceeded the high bar set by the tiramisu. She ordered the mascarpone-maple cheesecake, which came with caramelized walnuts and maple syrup sauce. It just looks like a mound of cheese, right? No semblance of 'cheesecakeness' in its form. But.... OH. MY. BLOG. I...this just...words fail. This was outstanding, and we are both setting out to recreate it on our own. I could have eaten this and only this and still walked away ecstatic. It was sweet but not achingly so, and the maple syrup wasn't as strong as I expected. Everything worked so well together. Oh man.. I think I took TWO bites of Jen's dish. I'd go back JUST for this dessert. Seriously. Dude. Go. Try it. You'll thank me, and then I'll thank Yoga Jen for the both of us. ;)

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