I have a new favorite restaurant. It's Locanda Vini e Olli at 129 Gates Ave., at the corner of Cambridge Pl. (718-622-9202), in the space formerly occupied by the old Lewis Drug Store. Much of the drugstore-vibe has been preserved, with glass shelves showcasing ancient remedies, beautiful wooden cupboards and built-in turn-of-the-century apothecary drawers. It's a lovely little spot - cozy and festive all at once, with friendly staff who make you feel at home right away. And then there's the food. It's divine. Seriously. It's excellent and delicious and made from the highest quality ingredients. Their meats are free-range & sustainably grown and even their take-out bags are 100% recyclable.
We started out with the Charcuterie Della Terra plate for the table (with Venison Prosciutto, Duck & Prune Pate & Cacciatorini, all served with delicious jams and preserves), and an assortment of their Crostini. Everything was incredibly flavorful, creatively & well-paired and delicious. It was great to get all of this and share it among four people.
I chose to get the special Ravioli, house-made, fresh & delicate. Covered in butter & cheese and stuffed with escarole & pine nuts. Fantastic.
My husband got a pasta dish with a seafood mix on top. It's not on their regular menu, and I can't remember the name exactly, but it was a unique combination and had a strong, savory flavor. Also wonderful.
My brother-in-law ordered the Grilled Duck Breast with chick peas. The duck was incredibly tender, so there was no need for a knife to cut through it. But it was the chick peas that really stood out. I don't know what they did to them, but I've never tasted anything so good in my life. We even contemplated getting a side of the chick peas but realized we were too full.
I highly recommend heading here as soon as possible if you haven't yet been. It's one of the best places around and is good for family outings, dates, hanging out with friends, whatever. I can't wait to go back.