Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Al Di La Trattoria -- a Taste of Venice in Brooklyn!


"Al Di La" in Italian means "beyond."  Al Di La Trattoria, a little corner restaurant located at 248 5th Avenue, in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, is  one of New York City's top  rated restaurants, offering Northern Italian cuisine from the Veneto region, beyond compare!


It's not unusual for Brooklyn residents to go over to Manhattan to dine in a wonderful restaurant, but it once was unusual to see Manhattanites taking cabs over the Brooklyn Bridge to dine, except for exceptional quality like Al Di La presents.



You can see by Al Di La's front window that they are deservedly proud of their well earned acclaim!



They are the first restaurant profiled, out of 31 Brooklyn restaurants, that put Brooklyn on the NYC culinary map, in the equally acclaimed The New Brooklyn Cookbook. Cookbook authors Melissa Vaughan and Brendan Vaughan credit Al Di La for being the pioneers of this wonderful new gourmet food scene movement to Brooklyn.


The restaurant is tiny, and they do not take reservations except for a limited amount of parties of 6 or over people.  It is not unusual to see a line of hungry customer queuing up before opening hour -- us among them!
They now opened Al Di La Vino - an extension that offers fine wines in bar seating and an intimate dining room that can accommodate up to 20 more people for those that can not wait for the main dining room.
Owners Anna Klinger, a chef, and Emiliano Coppa, a native Venetian born food stylist who was working in Milan, met while she was travelling through Italy.  When they moved to New York they were both working long hours separately. As a result Anna and Emiliano decided to open Al Di La in Brooklyn in 1998, so that they could could work together, and it became an instant hit!  They did all the restaurant renovations themselves, and were delighted to uncover authentic antique floor tile and and a tin ceiling in the building. They decided to preserve their charm and leave them as is.



The beautiful Venetian glass chandelier in the dining area once belonged to Emiliano's grandmother.


The evening my husband and I dined I chose the Steamed Bouchat Mussels as my appetizer. The plump and succulent mussels were steamed in white wine, with tomato, parsley and chili and served over grilled Italian bread.


My husband chose the Trippa Ala Toscana as his appetizer. It was a delicious blend of tripe, stewed in white wine, soffritto and a few tomatoes. Tripe is one of my Italian husband's favorite comfort foods, and he was very pleased. You can see a recipe I posted previously for my vegetable tripe soup here.



For the main course, I chose the Braised Rabbit with Black Olives and Creamy Polenta. I saw this recipe as one of the ones profiled for Al Di La in The New Brooklyn Cookbook and wanted to try the Venetian version of rabbit, as I was more familiar with the Southern Italian way of preparing it -- see my blog post about that here.



My husband chose Calf Liver Alla Veneziana as his main course. The liver was lightly sauteed with onions in butter, and finished with a red wine glaze. Liver is not something I prepare very often at home, so this was a special treat for him!



We usually do not indulge in dessert when we dine out, but decided to treat ourselves this evening, and I ordered the Affogato al Cafe'. It was a decadent and generous combination of vanilla ice cream and crushed almond praline, drowned with hot decaffeinated Espresso.  Pure heaven in every spoonful!



My husband had his espresso on the side and ordered a desset special,  an Almond Panna Cotta with a Mixed Berry Compote topping. Another taste of heaven in every spoonful!




You can watch this charming short video about Al Di La above or at this link. It also shows a few of their specialties, all made with simple, pure ingredients, yet all tasting so superb.

This link also has two video you can watch, where cookbook author Michele Scicolone interviews Al Di La's Chef, Anna, and shows her preparing two recipes: Risotto Nero and Sarde in Saor.



The evening turned to night and we went home sated and happy!

If you are looking for a taste of Venice in New York City, or just a fabulous lunch or dinner, make sure to cross the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn and visit Al Di La!

I am linking up with the "Foodie Friday" event on Michael's blog Designs by Gollum. Please visit Michael's blog on Friday to see links to all this week's participating blogs and their wonderul array of recipes and food related blog posts!

I'm also linking with Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" event and Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking, for her "Friday Favorites" event!

I would also be so happy if  you please visit this link to visit my review blog to see the shopping spree I went on for my bride-to-be daughter and  for a chance to win a $100 HomeGoods gift card by leaving a comment there between June 20 and 30th, 2011! (click here for official rules)
Also, until June 30th, 2011, BlogHer is giving a chance to win one of ten $25 gift cards to HomeGoods on the BlogHer Prizes and Promotions Page that I know you'll want to enter, so you can have another chance to have your own mini HomeGoods shopping spree! Click here to enter! (Here are the official rules to enter




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64 comments:

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Boy, I wish I had more time in NY! I would have loved that restaurant!! Hopefully we will get back there someday and spread our wings a little.
Hugs,
Penny
p.s. how is your eye?

Lynn said...

I love your delicious NYC posts! Keep them coming!

Jojo said...

Venetian glass, mussels and liver! What a wonderful dining experience! When my kids were young I used to make liver often for their benefit but haven't cooked it in years. I love it!

Ginny said...

We don't have anything like this quality around here! And I'm so glad you showed us what you ordered!

Barbara F. said...

Another fabulous find! I love black mussels, when I visit my "BFF" in Brooklyn we will have to try it. xo

The Gathering Place said...

You could never eat at the same place twice with all the choices you have. Looks delicious!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Wow! What a meal you two had! Everything looked absolutely delicious. My only problem would be that I would have to walk home! LOL!!! I love reading about all these great NYC places! You'll have to be our tour guide if we ever make it to NYC! Have a wonderful weekend!

Mary

Sarah said...

Yet another spot to add to my growing list for that next trip to the Big Apple. Thanks ~ Sarah

Annie said...

Looks like you had a lovely evening.

M.Kate said...

Oh lala!! those mussels are calling me Pat! I think I want to eat everything there. Hope you are fine...i am slowly kicking myself back to blog land :) Happy weekend.

Mister Meatball said...

Great post, thanks. Al Di La is one of my faves. A great place all around. (And your hub's got good taste; I always have the trippa.)

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

I so enjoy living vicariously through you. When I lived in MD, we would go to Little Italy in Baltimore and really, truly dine.

Thanks for the memories....

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Pat, I have drooled all over my keyboard!! Beautiful story of love, restoration and good food. Just my kind of thing! Thank you so much. If I ever get to Brooklyn, you can be this one will be on my must see (taste) list! blessings ~ tanna

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like a beautiful place to dine Pat! Love the pretty yellow awnings too:@)

Tracy said...

All so BEAUTIFUL and YUM! I love all the paint chipped off that tin ceiling. Mussels... mmm... Looks like you're eating good this summer, Pat. :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I would take a cab from anywhere just to go to this restaurant Pat. Wow. It looks so European even from the outside with the awnings and red front. I knew I was going to like it from its looks.

Then I got to the tripe and rabbit. Well, I'm sold. You don't often see these on menus in the US. Thanks as always for taking us along.
Sam

Cindy said...

What a fabulous restaurant! The exterior is so colorful and inviting and the interior is beautiful too, I am so glad to hear that they are successful. What a great place to spend a few hours and enjoy great Venice cuisine.
IF I am ever if NYC or Brooklyn, I will look this place up!
Hugs, Cindy

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

What a charming place and the couple are adorable on the video. I'm not sure about rabbit and liver, but I know I'd love that dessert!

Vee said...

It looks incredible. I just turned down an invitation to NYC and am now wondering if I did the right thing. What a lot of tender care went into the making of this place. I truly enjoyed watching the owners discuss their "home."

Pegasuslegend said...

Wow what a great spread of foods I love NY lived there 37 years you just made me homesick! love this post!

http://blogsgotheart.blogspot.com/2011/06/giveaway-and-buffalo-chicken-chili-from.html

ARLENE said...

I fell in love with this restaurant when I got my copy of the cookbook. I haven't been able to overcome my resistance to eating rabbit, but you've reminded me to try that recipe with Cornish game hen. Gorgeous post!

Riet said...

Wow, your story and photo's make my mouth water Pat. Wonderful food and it all looks so wel.

Have a good day.

Carol said...

WOW, that looks delicious! I have the cookbook, I love all things Brooklyn :)

Linda said...

Wonderful!I wish they had places like that in California!My husband would be in heaven with the liver!!

nanny said...

I sang Al Di La while reading...ha
from Rome Adventure. I love that song, so beautiful.
Now the food looks delicious...you are so lucky to have such an array of restaurants to explore. Yum!

Houseelf said...

The ceiling is so unusual! Was it done as a fire retardant? I haven't heard of a tin ceiling before.

The food looked so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Old Kitty said...

I love that clip!! I love that this amazing couple peeled back the layers and discovered a gem of a place!! WOW!!! Awww and so lovely to see a great partnership too - good food and passion!!

Yay!! Thank you Pat for another introduction to a beautiful gem of a place in NY! Your pics are as always - stunning - I could smell these gorgeous dishes through the ether! Take care
x

Eli said...

Yummy!!!
"How to feel at home in Brooklyn" the Italian woman says...
Always a great pleasure to read you!
Hugs from Italy
Eli

Kathleen said...

You two are adventurous eaters! Being Irish I would have to stick with veal piccata or something. Nothing exotic!
It looks like a great place. How was the bread? I always judge Italian restaurants breads! I like that chewy bread they call Brooklyn Bread! :)

La said...

Oh Pat! Your dessert looks magnificent.

Jo said...

O' Pat, I loved the video, what a charming couple, I want to eat at
Al Di La Trattoria right now!..the food looks so yummy!
Wish I was there!
~JO
LazyonLoblolly

Vagabonde said...

That looks like a great restaurant. You say to cross the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn to go to that restaurant – is it really walking distance? We usually don’t rent a car when we are in New York City.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Everything looks delicious! We have some pretty good Italian restaurants here but this one looks very special, indeed.

Jessica said...

That looks incredibly delicious! I look forward to something like that when the babies grow up. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such an encouraging comment. Your blog is beautiful!

Heather said...

That meal looked amazing. Wow, liver. That's a rare treat to find somewhere that is willing to prepare it.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

You have my mouth watering... with the taste of Italy!
This is another friday's favorite for sure :-)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Vagabonde, sorry, I was using a euphemism! It is a short cab or subway ride from lower Manhattan to the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. It is really a wonderful neighborhood to explore --there are many wonderful restaurants on the avenues and beautiful brownstone homes. I have many blog posts about Brooklyn -- perhaps they will entice you to come over the bridge next time!

Tara said...

Hey there! My Park slope relatives will be visiting this weekend and I am going to discuss this restaurant with them! You're the best PAT!

Pondside said...

Oh my goodness - drooling all over the keyboard!
I'd love to visit just one of the wonderful places you profile - every course of this meal looks wonderful.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Pat I love this place! I would have ordered the mussels, my husband the tripe, and maybe just maybe, I would now order rabbit! You were right Pat!

Jenny said...

You are so sophisticated! I love the way you order and where you hang out. Most importantly I love that you always let us tag along! This place looks fabulous!

mrs. c said...

All I can say is yum! I would love to be able to eat mussels. I am not such a fan of liver or rabbit but I am sure that I would find something that I would love. Thanks for sharing great information about your wonderful city!

Beth F said...

Wow. What a great post. I'm in NYC only once or twice a year, but i would love to eat there. I adore rabbit and you pretty much never see it on an American menu.

Thanks so much for linking up to Weekend Cooking (there's a new linky up every Saturday morning).

I'm looking forward to more of your posts and I'm so glad I discovered your blog.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

What a beautiful post. I love traveling through you wonderful bloggers that actually travel..
hugs ~lynne~

Dianne said...

I am so hungry right now!
love the decor of the restaurant
and the photo of all the wonderful Park Slope brownstones

and congrats on your daughter's upcoming wedding :)

Oliag said...

This is one restaurant that we tried to get to while my daughter was living in Brooklyn...but didn't:( How my husband would have loved that calves liver! That is one food I refuse to cook and he will order it whenever it is on a menu...but Venetian style? To die for!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

What a wonderful restaurant review! I love places like this that clearly serve exceptional food but also have a nice dining room. Lovely post Pat. Hope you are having a good weekend.

kikifitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caite said...

don't know about the tripe...and liver...but otherwise it looks charming.

Grandmother said...

Just recently returned from Venice and I think you're very lucky to have such a delightful restaurant in your backyard. Enjoy!

Margot said...

What a lovely post and blog. I love your writing and the pictures make me hungry. I'm so glad you linked up to Weekend Cooking or I never would have discovered your blog.

TheBookGirl said...

Those pictures are spectacular. The dessert is what appeals to me most, lol.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and I look forward to exploring your great blog more :)

Esme said...

Thank you for stopping by-this looks like a delightful little restaurant. Those plates all look lovely.

Rikki said...

What a lovely place! I loved all the pictures of the dishes. Great idea of them to leave the ceiling as is. So stylish and classy!

Diann said...

This place looks and sounds wonderful! And the food on my! YUMMY!

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

Al di la, a famous Italian song . . . looks like you had a delicious meal!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

That restaurant looks amazing! I have been to New York many times but last year was the first time we went to Brooklyn. We loved it and are planning a trip for this fall again. Will put this restaurant on our list of places to visit.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a wonderful place. Love the look of that rabbit dish, too.

steviewren said...

Your dessert made my mouth water! Yum yum.

I'm in love with the tile floor. I always enjoy seeing your restaurant photos. I'm too self conscience to take studied photos where unaware people are. I really wish I wouldn't be that way.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Beautiful photographs of Brooklyn, the restaurant AND the food!! :)

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

Oh my goodness this place looks so good Pat. We are excited about the pizza tour.

Kate said...

That is just the sort of restaurant that I am missing in my little city. And rabbit...YUM.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Wow. You really know how to make it special when you dine out! Thanks for taking us along to that wonderful little spot...one I would never get to on my own.

Beverly said...

Honestly, Pat! Now, I could just lick my monitor. I would have wanted a taste from both of your dinners.

And, those mussels!!! Yum.