Over the summer a new restaurant popped up on Court St. in Carroll Gardens called Enoteca on Court (347 Court St., between Union & President, 718-243-1000). They boast a menu with tons of wine, pizza, panini and an assortment of Italian dishes from Bruschetta & stuffed artichoke to meats, cheeses & small dishes from the oven like octopus, meatballs and chicken. They also have a lovely garden in which they host viewings of Italian movies on Sundays through mid-October. The garden is quite nice (I found the interior to be a bit too air-conditioned and the music was playing too loudly), with flowers, and little fountain and a wall of shutters that makes you feel as if you're in a genuine courtyard in Florence, perhaps.
Our waitress brought over this plate with a basic tomato & garlic Bruschetta (on the house) which was delicious - lots of garlic, fresh tomato and just a sprinkling of cheese and parsley. It definitely whet my appetite and made me eager for my meal. I chose the Romana pizza with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, capers, olives & oregano. There were plenty of anchovy filets, flavorful whole cured olives & fresh cheese. The crust was thin and slightly sour, and just chewy enough at the ends. I really liked it.
My boyfriend ordered the Melanzana - eggplant, tomato sauce, basil & parmigiano regianno baked in a dish in the wood-burning oven. It came out steaming, was wonderfully cheesy but was a bit bland and needed salt. The eggplant was cooked well though, and there were no thick, chewy bits.
He also got a Panini with porchetta AND mortadella, provolone, pickles, caramelized shallots & roasted garlic aioli. This was really heavy, and he was only able to eat half (I got to have the rest for lunch the next day). The pickles were a perfect touch, and everything blended together really well.
Enoteca on Court definitely surprised me in a good way, and I'm happy to have another nice place to go in the area with a quiet backyard. They also offer flights of red wine so you can sample a few. I picked the Italian Red Ramble which included three delicious reds from Italy. I recommend going here when you want something besides pasta in a mellow, relaxing environment.