We admit, few restaurants are alluring enough to bring us to Brooklyn. With so much going on in Manhattan it’s easy to dismiss the borough that has it all—but a rustic little Northern Italian restaurant nestled in the heart of historic Boerum Hill makes it all worthwhile.
Rucola is inspired by the slow food movement in Piedmont and they are all about providing a farm to table experience by selecting the highest quality ingredients available in and around New York. The food, wine and cocktail menu all change seasonally and are styled after country farmhouse cuisine. It’s all about local seasonal selections interpreted through Italian culinary traditions: think duck breast with pickled rhubarb and market greens with wildflower honey vinaigrette.
Chef Joe Pasqualetto (of the late and great Gilt at NY Palace—those frogs legs!) has always been passionate about creating simple, ingredient-driven Italian fare. He has cooked for some of New York City’s best restaurants — including Daniel, Café Boulud, 71 Clinton Fresh Food, The Tasting Room, Oceana and Gilt — and draws on this wealth of experience while executing creative and delicious food for Rucola.
The tapas style servings with Italian roots lends itself to a true culinary journey, so explore the menu. Order a bit of everything and settle in—the ambiance is inviting and the food is decadent. Sample the creamy gigante bean crostino and thick caponata. Indulge in the strozzapreti with smooth green garlic pesto, zucchini and salty grana padano. Roasted carrots with beluga lentil, goat cheese, garlic and dill make you actually want to finish your vegetables and the roasted chicken with smoked pancetta, spinach, celery root and crispy leek is so good you’ll want to lick your plate.
If you’re oenophiles like us, get the wine pairings. Servers are expert sommeliers and each dish will be expertly paired with distinctive Northern Italian wines. With a menu this full, you might need to come back more than once.
Hop the train, hail a cab, text your car service and head to Brooklyn for your next date night. This tiny Northern Italian restaurant makes the trip entirely worth it.