January 14, 2011

Eat like a VIP

We got the VIP treatment this week, and I really, really enjoyed it. WHAT a difference it makes when a restaurant really makes you feel welcome...this spot is already in the running for Best of 2011 on Stuff I Ate!

My friend Jen A invited ABF & me to join her and her BF, Tom, at their favorite Italian spot in Williamsburg ( the so-called 'hipster' area in Brooklyn). Williamsburg is fun; they have great bars, restaurants, clubs, etc, but the one (and major) drawback for me is that the L train is pretty much the only way to get there. When that L train is not running well (like it was that Friday night), getting there can be a ROYAL pain in the butt. All that drama, however, IS. WORTH. IT...if you go to Patricia's Pasta & Pizza.
The first thing I noticed: big ol' bottles of red wine on every table. Oh yes, this is my kinda place.

The traditional red-checkered tablecloths were a nice touch, too. Red wine, red checks, we have liftoff for a good old Italian ambiance!

Also already on deck: heavily, wonderfully-spiced olive oil and bread fresh from the wood-fired oven. The oil had tons of oregano, basil, cracked black pepper and other spices...sooooo good.

Our server greeted us immediately and asked if we'd been there before. Jen & Tom definitely have visited more than once, but ABF & I admitted it was our first time. The server suggested we have the Kitchen tastings, in which they just bring you dish after dish of deliciousness at the chef's discretion. Um, YES!

First up: burrata cheese with roasted tomatoes, red onion, and roasted red peppers. This was wonderful, and it went to a new level of awesome when spread over a piece of olive-oil brushed bread.

Next came what was one of my favorite dishes of the night: Seafood salad--so fresh you could hear the waves on the shore. Tender squid and delicious octopus--I could have stopped here and been sooo happy.

I'm more than a little obsessed with octopus these days. My trip to Niko's just fueled the fire---THIS dish at Patricia's made the flame burn eternally.

Next up? The most perfect, tear-inducing, breath-taking artichoke I ever did taste. Each treasured bite was beyond belief.
Have you ever had an artichoke damn near melt in your mouth? *sigh*

And then we moved on to buttery broiled shrimp paired with amazing eggplant rollatini. Yes...scrumptious.

Continuing with our seafood theme, calamari coated in rich, mild tomato sauce...another high point of our meal! Jen & I kept going back for 'one more forkful' of this. Tender, not rubbery, so tasty.
We had no sooner had our third forkful of calamari when out came a steaming plate of lobster, fresh from the wood-fired oven.
We tore right into this dish, too!
And look! Hot towels and lemon wedges for post-crustacean clean-up!

And this, dear readers, was one of the most delectable dishes I ever did have--somehow we called these 'money bags,' but I might be getting the actual name a bit wrong. They were tender, soft pouches of pasta around melty, cheesy goodness in a vodka sauce with mushrooms. Oh my word.

The final pasta dish was my least favorite--orrechiette (ear-shaped) pasta with a tomato-based sauce. This was fine, but it wasn't as notably awesome as everything else we'd sampled. I only took a bite or two of these before going back for more money bags.

At this point, I wasn't sure I could eat one more bite of food. Lord have mercy. Then we got the dish o' meat: chicken cacciatore and marvelously-marinated steak. As full as we were, we still managed to eat a few bites of these two dishes.
Mamma mia--I needed a breather at this point. We did have a little time to sit back and start digesting...but it wasn't long before a plate of desserts arrived...
We all groaned a sort of 'no way can we finish this' groan when we saw Oreo cheesecake, nutella turnovers, and a tortoni (ice cream with a cherry in the middle, wrapped in a chocolate shell). Holy showstopper. Opinions varied on these dishes.

I wasn't crazy about the tortoni, but I've never been a fan. It wasn't bad at all, it's just not my thing. ABF loves them much more than I do, so after I took a bite or two, I gave the rest to him. I'd rather save my calories for something else, like.....nutella!

I was MUCH more interested in the nutella crepes/turnovers. Holy moley. Melty, nutty Nutella in buttery layers of pastry. What's not to like? The Oreo cheesecake was good, too, but not as outrageously melt-in-your-mouth heavenly to me as this crepe. I noticed I was the only one really kvelling over the crepe, and that's fine with me!

When our bill came, we all inwardly cringed, but it was shockingly, and I do mean shockingly, affordable. This FEAST and wine for 50 dollars a person! I know it's not cheap, but what a deal considering the stellar service and superlative samplings we ate. I cannot wait to go back here, and I cannot wait to go back again after THAT.

Patricia's Pizza & Pasta
35 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 218-9272

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