Rucola is a new-ish restaurant at Dean and Bond in Boerum Hill. This place was seriously playing hard to get with Tim and I, but after about fourteen failed attempts to have dinner there (okay, maybe more like two…but still) we finally made it! After our happy brunch experience, we were looking forward to some more rugged Northern Italian eats. And despite the fact that I was feeling a little rough around the edges due to the activities of the previous day/night (i.e. running ten miles, eating almost no dinner, consuming silly amounts of alcohol and staying up till 4am), Rucola didn’t disappoint.
The best thing about this restaurant is it’s just so damn charming. The decor is warm and playful, with lots of big, artfully scuffed mirrors, light fixtures made out of random kitchen instruments (meat grinders; bottles), the obligatory Brooklyn exposed brick wall, and even a hardwood ceiling. And while service is still a little on the iffy side (e.g. long-ish waits between courses, failing to describe the cheeses on the cheese plate), what makes up for it is that the staff are all really nice.
The cheese came with pickled fennel, a tasty rhubarb compote, and huge hunks of soft, oily foccacia. I might have been a little miffed if I’d ordered the salad as my main (like the poor lady sitting next to us) because it’s definitely a lot of one thing (i.e. lightly dressed arugula). It was a light and refreshing starter though.
I can’t personally vouch for Tim’s pasta shells in a garlicky tomato sauce with chunks of cod because fish-flecked pasta is basically my worst food nightmare. He thought it was delightful though. I opted for the special, which was rigatoni and duck ragout. This was a Seriously Rich Dish, filled with succulent chunks of greasy duck, bitter greens and salty parmesan. I had a healthy five or six bites and then let Tim go to work on the rest.
There’s always room for dessert though…