It’s a very rare happening, me going to Brooklyn, but every time I make my way out to the borough I love every minute I spend there. I’m also lucky enough to have friends that know their way around, so the visit is a pleasant experience. My friend Tim lives in Park Slope and he has been raving about an Italian restaurant ever since I met him. The restaurant is only a few blocks away from his apartment and he willingly admits that he orders from the restaurant all the time. So one Saturday evening I make the quick trek outside of Manhattan and met up with Tim, who then led me along a busy/”happening” street. It seemed as if I misjudged Park Slope. I had always assumed that people lived in the neighborhood but always came into Manhattan for everything else, including restaurants. But no, that’s not the case at all. Those who live in Park Slope manage to have their cake and eat it too. They live in an idyllic neighborhood, they get a “smaller” town vibe, they have Manhattan only a quick subway ride away, and they also eat very very well.
We arrived at Al Di La Trattoria, the Italian restaurant Tim has been raving about. It’s 8:30 p.m. and the place is packed! Tim had put our name on a list about 20 minutes earlier and we still had an hour and forty five minutes of a wait left. So we went out the front door and around the corner to go downstairs to the wine bar that is also connected to the restaurant. We ordered a bottle of red wine and spent some time catching up. Not even 20 minutes later a table in the wine bar opened up and we were offered the table if we wanted to eat downstairs. Of course we said yes… we were about to finish the bottle of wine and there was no food in our stomachs.
The wine bar tables are much more intimate and quiet than the tables upstairs in the main restaurant. If we were to sit upstairs the atmosphere would be completely different — just imagine a loud Italian family, a traditional Italian kitchen, yup that’s what upstairs would have been like. We were just so hungry we would have sat any where!
Even though it was my first time at the restaurant I quickly knew what I wanted to order: the Tortelli, a ravioli stuffed with corn and a sweet cream sauce with a side of potatoes. It’s the first time I have ever had corn as a filling in my ravioli and I’ll admit that I was very hesitant. (Tim assured me it was going to be delicious!) When the food arrived the two of us completely stopped talking, we were too busy stuffing our faces in the nicest way possible. I couldn’t believe it, I managed to eat my entire ravioli dish in under 6 minutes. The corn was subtle but sweet and delicious and the cream sauce was so light and refreshing I hardly knew it was a cream sauce, even my stomach didn’t ache. There was actually sauce left over on my plate so I dumped my potatoes onto the dish and scooped up some sauce for each forkfull of potatoes.
Over all I am not a Brooklyner at heart — I truly enjoy living and dining in Manhattan. But Al Di La was so extraordinarily delicious I will gladly and willingly take another trip back to the borough for another meal. (I’ll also eat at any restaurant my friend Tim recommends because clearly he knows what good food tastes like!)