Hummus: check, Brazilian: check, next stop Italian
  • Is there a taqueria opening on the same block?
  • Just another shot of the recent past:

    image
  • Walked by the old Fez space last night and noticed the brown paper had come off the windows and what looks like a new awning had gone up. Couldn't really see inside, but I hope to see them open soon.
  • ap said:

    Walked by the old Fez space last night and noticed the brown paper had come off the windows and what looks like a new awning had gone up. Couldn't really see inside, but I hope to see them open soon.



    Paper fully down with the lights on and some people inside tonight.  It appears pretty much ready to go, and it looks like it will be much better lit and a little more casual than Fez.  At a quick glance the layout is a big improvement... the place should be a much better fit for the area than Fez was.  That is really becoming a great block.
  • Expecting to open the weekend after next.
  • Her preview menu sounds really interesting. Nice to see something different.
  • They appeared to be having a soft opening today. They are calling it "Pacifico Fine Foods"
  • We went Wednesday and were amazed. Very fresh vegetables. Great cocktails. Friendly service. And a very funny feedback form. I'll let you experience that for yourself. Go.
  • I went her last night and it's really good. I little on the spendy side, but really fresh ingredients and good drinks. Get the pork nuggets.
  • we went too and confirm that it was both delicious and on the pricier side. They recommend you share plates, I recommend the rhubarb 75 cocktail. The server was lovely and the space -- which is very similar to how it was as Fez - lends itself well to a romantic date night. 
  • I went last night, finally. I was impressed. Food and cocktails were great, and the service was really good. I will go back. 
  • Looks like Pacifico will be closing and then returning as an Italian Restaurant.

    http://ny.eater.com/2015/2/21/8082549/pacificos-fine-foods-in-crown-heights-will-close-in-less-than-one-week
  • Hopefully the partners on the liquor license remain part of the new business. Otherwise, this place will have to seek a new permit, which costs time and lost revenue.

    Washington Ave has a number of upscale Italian places, so competition is stiff.
  • Already? Wow.
  • That's too bad.  We enjoyed our meals at Pacifico's.  We're unlikely to add another Italian place into rotation with Centanni and Bar Corvo already being so delicious.
  • The local sit down Italian mix includes those two, plus 3 more:
    Barbachino
    Ogliastro
    Almadira


    ...there are even more if you go to Vanderbilt Ave

  • Wow. That is really surprising. It has always looked very busy and has gotten a lot of good press. I went twice in a group of 6 each time and everyone really enjoyed it.

    Italianmeh.
  • She was just named Best Female Chef in Brooklyn by Brooklyn Magazine this week:

    http://www.bkmag.com/2015/02/18/the-third-annual-brooklyn-foodie-awards/
  • It is too bad they didn't say how many people voted in their foodie awards. I might take them more seriously if I knew.
  • Once it reopens, we should make a thread about which of the local sit down Italian restaurants will be next to close.
  • whynot_31 said:

    Once it reopens, we should make a thread about which of the local sit down Italian restaurants will be next to close.



    Let's not.
  • Most of the time, our threads are spot on.

    This message board isn't so influential that I worry about it causing a healthy business to go under.

    I'd like to think we cause some businesses who may be struggling a little to improve themselves based on what they read.

    I suppose we could just use this thread.
  • We will try to go to Pacifico's one last time before they close.  It's a shame.  
  • It is a real shame. I wish I could have gone!
  • Ms. Whynot and I went once.

    She is a vegetarian and didn't feel there was a whole lot for her to eat there, so we haven't been back.
  • If the majority partner is intent on turning the space into an Italian placa, I kind of hope it will be a moderately priced italian red sauce joint. Some place where I can get a great variety of parmigiana dishes and maybe eggplant rolls tiki. Maybe a place called Nonnas.
  • I think a business that was ultra child friendly, yet served mom wine would work.

    Amorina on Vanderbilt uses that formula.
  • I have little to add to the conversation besides that I've been to Aita in Clinton Hill and it is pretty good. Not mind blowing, but good.
  • whynot_31 said:

    I think a business that was ultra child friendly, yet served mom wine would work.

    Amorina on Vanderbilt uses that formula.



    Mom wine? What's that?
  • It is also know as "mommy's juice".     As in, "that's your juice, this is mommy's juice"

    http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/wine-and-moms-an-epidemic/

    Related topic: mom jeans.
  • I'll take a fine Chianti over "mom wine" any day. 
  • My wife is a vegetarian and she has always been happy with the options at Pacifico's.  It's been different enough to always make us appreciate the creativity of the chef and the departure from the mainstream.  

    On the "mom wine" front, Cent'anni is definitely a winner.  Crayons and colorbook placemats, a laid-back atmosphere that's just loud enough to absorb family interactions, kid-friendly menus plus solid cocktails and consistent food make it a winner for days when you want to have dinner with a three-year-old.  

    But Cent'anni works for a lot of different reasons.  The space is versatile.  You can drop in for happy hour, and decide you want to stay for dinner.  You can bring your visiting friends and family, and know you'll be seated at some point and that they'll all have something they enjoy.  

    I have a hard time seeing the Italian joint that replaces Pacifico's hitting most of those marks, and even if they did I'd be unlikely to know about it because Cent'anni is half a block away.  So the loss of Pacifico's has no silver lining for us.  We wish we had gone more often.


  • It will be very hard for this new place to compete with Cent'anni's backyard.
  • Is this the same business partner that ran out the hummus place in, like, 3 months? If so, I understand needing to make a profit, but he has greedy and unreasonable expectations. I mean, it takes time to build a base and get people coming. Closing the restaurant after the chef is named. 'Best in brooklyn' seems to me to be really short-sighted. People will go to that restaurant.
  • That interview at BK Mag was depressing. I hope she is successful, and I hope her business partner doesn't regret this.
  • eastbloc said:

    But Cent'anni works for a lot of different reasons.  The space is versatile.  You can drop in for happy hour, and decide you want to stay for dinner.  You can bring your visiting friends and family, and know you'll be seated at some point and that they'll all have something they enjoy.  


    Cent'anni seemed stupendously overcrowded the two times I've been.
  • "I also think people thought this was a fancy restaurant at the beginning, maybe because of the “Fine Foods” part of the name"

    $20 entrees count as 'fancy' to me, especially in this neighborhood.
  • Is this the same business partner that ran out the hummus place in, like, 3 months?.



    The Hummus place and Pacifico had nothing in common.

    1. The storefront was up for rent after the Hummus place went out of business

    2. They did not share any principals as it relates to their alcohol licenses.

    Hummus: http://www.trans.abc.state.ny.us/servlet/ApplicationServlet?pageName=com.ibm.nysla.data.publicquery.PublicQuerySuccessfulResultsPage&validated=true&serialNumber=1269358&licenseType=RW

    Pacifico: http://www.trans.abc.state.ny.us/servlet/ApplicationServlet?pageName=com.ibm.nysla.data.publicquery.PublicQuerySuccessfulResultsPage&validated=true&serialNumber=1278021&licenseType=OP

    Here's an article about Pacifico when it first opened: http://ny.eater.com/2014/6/25/6201705/shanna-pacifico-opens-pacificos-fine-foods-tonight

    As stated above, Shanna Pacifico is leaving.

    I believe Roberto Aita will run the new entity, and is the majority owner. He presently runs the Fort Greene restaurants Aita and Mayflower.

    I believe Kristi Banister (who owns Williamsburg's High Horse) is/was a minority investor.

  • Closing the restaurant after the chef is named. 'Best in brooklyn' seems to me to be really short-sighted. People will go to that restaurant.



    I think you may be over estimating the circulation and influence of Brooklyn Magazine.

  • It was a business decision, not a personal decision. That doesn’t mean I think it’s the right decision, but I respect that it was his decision to make. Roberto is Italian; he knows Italian food. And in all reality, people want to eat Italian. When people discuss what they want for dinner, it tends to be a toss-up between Italian, French, sushi and Mexican. And while his Clinton Hill restaurant, Aita, hasn’t gotten very much buzz, it’s making money and is paying for itself. It’s also in a wealthier neighborhood where there isn’t so much as a bodega within three blocks in any direction. Of course, Crown Heights is different, and I don’t think Italian is what this neighborhood wants or needs. But since Roberto didn’t spend all that much time here, the decision was ultimately based on numbers, not on the kind of feedback we’ve gotten from our customers. 



    I found this to be incredibly depressing. And at the same time it explains so much about why the neighborhood is changing the way it is. Never mind serving the community you're in, just create a place for the neighborhood you want it to be and wait for it to change. 
  • @Homeowner -
    Regardless of their intent, such decisions certainly have the effect of telling long term residents that their money and preferences are either invisible or not valued. I hear you.

    Until now, Roberto Aita merely wanted to be the "majority owner" of a nice restaurant in an area that does not yet have a lot of them, and (perhaps needless to say) he wanted it to be profitable.

    He entrusted Shanna Pacifico to get him there and is likely convinced it is possible by the success of similar places in the immediate area, such as Bar Corvo and Mayfields.

    Centanni and Barbochino are slightly below them in price and service.

    However, all four are larger, have backyards and a pretty happening bar scene. They have invested far more capital, and it is paying off.

    Shanna Pacifico didn't have the same tools to work with, and didn't experience the same success...
  • It's sad and surprising, but having only been there once I won't really miss it. My friend and I were both not impressed with our dishes, which were also very pricey. I agree with Shana's assessment that the menu was limiting or off-putting. I'm one of those people who stopped by and looked at the menu with others on numerous occasions only to walk away. If you're vegetarian or don't eat pork, options were limited.

    I really appreciate creative menus, but what successful restaurants with creative menus seem to do to be sustainable is to include some staples like burgers, steak, pastas. Mayfield comes to mind.
  • Yeah, as a vegan I never ate there, as there didn't seem to be anything vegan friendly on the menu.  Nowadays you really need at least a few token vegetarian options or you're not really meeting the preferences of the community, especially in this neighborhood where large numbers of people are either vegan or vegetarian.
  • man i went there twice: once soon after it opened, and once a few weeks ago. both vastly different experiences! the first time it was pricey, small portions, very esoteric ingredients. it was good but somehow didn't seem worth regular visits. the second time i went, many months later, it was slightly cheaper, a lot more accessible, and surprisingly delicious. really, more of a homestyle brazilian cuisine than anything else. and the portions were HUGE. I feel they made a big mistake putting their "fine dining" foot forward first....brazilian food isnt really a cuisine new yorkers are too familiar with. they may have encountered big success if they had started out with mostly cheaper entrees that featured that amazing cilantro rice and whatever that stew sauce was that i couldn't get enough of.

    i always thought a zaytoons would do well in that space. much better than yet another italian restaurant. ugh! franklin ave. you don't know how good you have it. i wish all these unsuccessful but yummy places could just pick up and move down to Flatbush but alas. 
  • It does feel like much of today's Brooklyn fine dining scene writes off vegetarians, or offers them a pasta dish that's a solid 'meh' at best. That's the same thing that annoyed me about many of the new places in Williamsburg, and also why I never stopped by Pacifico. Dunno how much of the dinner crowd we vegetarians are, but it doesn't seem like Pacifico, at least, afforded writing us off. It is off-putting that the majority of the 'veggies' menu also contains meat.
  • ehgee said:

    It does feel like much of today's Brooklyn fine dining scene writes off vegetarians, or offers them a pasta dish that's a solid 'meh' at best. That's the same thing that annoyed me about many of the new places in Williamsburg, and also why I never stopped by Pacifico. Dunno how much of the dinner crowd we vegetarians are, but it doesn't seem like Pacifico, at least, afforded writing us off. It is off-putting that the majority of the 'veggies' menu also contains meat.



    You only need to watch the Food Network to see that this attitude pervades the culinary world.  My fiancée graduated from the French Culinary Institute and works in the culinary field, and everyone openly mocks vegetarianism, especially the chefs.  The irony is it takes far more skill to prepare a tasty vegetarian/vegan meal than it does one that leans heavily on meat and dairy. 

    Businesses continue to ignore this rapidly growing demographic at their own peril, especially in areas like this where increasingly large numbers of households have someone who's a vegetarian.  What they don't seem to grasp is that if six people are going out to eat and even one is a vegetarian, they're not going to eat at your restaurant if you don't have a decent option for that person. 

    Plus, I worry about the ability of a place to make something that's truly vegan if they're aren't aware enough/concerned enough to offer a vegetarian/vegan option in the first place.  Nothing worse than going to eat something you were told was vegan, only to discover animal products in your food.  I used to like Zaytoon's......until they gave me a falafel with beef in it....first meat I'd had in my mouth in over 20 years (they're lucky I'm not particularly litigious).  Suffice it to say that I'll never eat there again (Pasha's more vegan friendly anyways), and would encourage anyone who's vegan/vegetarian to do that same.  It doesn't say good things about your kitchen when meat can just happen to end up in random dishes that don't call for any meat.

  • I agree with everything written about vegetarian foods but disagree that Pacifico's was an offender.  

     We've never had a problem finding delicious vegetarian things on the menu there.

  • Not a vegetarian, but I'm not keen on pork- that's what made me keep walking. 

    Went there once for a drink and an app to kill some time before meeting a friend. The management was VERY young and VERY annoying. You cannot be annoying in a place that small. Your annoyingness affects everyone. The bar is laughingly small, as is the restaurant itself. 

    No backyard? Tiny space? 4-seat bar? No thanks.  

    The whole place needs to be one big bar that serves light fare options. 
  • Pacifico's had really good food.  Enjoyed it every time I went.

     

    Cent'anni, on the other had, was a complete disaster both times I went.  It was awful. 

  • ehgee said:

    "I also think people thought this was a fancy restaurant at the beginning, maybe because of the “Fine Foods” part of the name"

    $20 entrees count as 'fancy' to me, especially in this neighborhood.


    There are a decent amount of fancy restaurants in the neighborhood, then.
  • mcpoet said:

    ehgee said:

    It does feel like much of today's Brooklyn fine dining scene writes off vegetarians, or offers them a pasta dish that's a solid 'meh' at best. That's the same thing that annoyed me about many of the new places in Williamsburg, and also why I never stopped by Pacifico. Dunno how much of the dinner crowd we vegetarians are, but it doesn't seem like Pacifico, at least, afforded writing us off. It is off-putting that the majority of the 'veggies' menu also contains meat.



    You only need to watch the Food Network to see that this attitude pervades the culinary world.  My fiancée graduated from the French Culinary Institute and works in the culinary field, and everyone openly mocks vegetarianism, especially the chefs.  The irony is it takes far more skill to prepare a tasty vegetarian/vegan meal than it does one that leans heavily on meat and dairy. 

    Businesses continue to ignore this rapidly growing demographic at their own peril, especially in areas like this where increasingly large numbers of households have someone who's a vegetarian.  What they don't seem to grasp is that if six people are going out to eat and even one is a vegetarian, they're not going to eat at your restaurant if you don't have a decent option for that person. 

    Plus, I worry about the ability of a place to make something that's truly vegan if they're aren't aware enough/concerned enough to offer a vegetarian/vegan option in the first place.  Nothing worse than going to eat something you were told was vegan, only to discover animal products in your food.  I used to like Zaytoon's......until they gave me a falafel with beef in it....first meat I'd had in my mouth in over 20 years (they're lucky I'm not particularly litigious).  Suffice it to say that I'll never eat there again (Pasha's more vegan friendly anyways), and would encourage anyone who's vegan/vegetarian to do that same.  It doesn't say good things about your kitchen when meat can just happen to end up in random dishes that don't call for any meat.



    bolded made me laugh
  • You'd be surprised how common these kinds of lawsuits are. The place where my fiancee works is being sued for a million dollars for serving food they claimed was kosher, but wasn't. People can eat whatever/wherever they want. Though I know I'd want to know if a place where I ate was accidentally serving meat in ostensibly vegetarian fare. It might seem like a minor thing to some, but having not eaten meat in several decades it's akin to what a meat eater would feel if someone served them human flesh. Absolutely disgusting and a violation of your deepest held beliefs and convictions. So yeah, funny stuff.
  • mcpoet said:

    ehgee said:

    Businesses continue to ignore this rapidly growing demographic at their own peril, especially in areas like this where increasingly large numbers of households have someone who's a vegetarian.  What they don't seem to grasp is that if six people are going out to eat and even one is a vegetarian, they're not going to eat at your restaurant if you don't have a decent option for that person. 

    I'm not sure how much the vegetarian demographic is growing these days— it feels off-trend as opposed to 'paleo', especially in NYC, and a lot of vegetarian restaurants seem like they're barely surviving vestiges of the 90s in the East Village. Although Dirt Candy seems like they're crushing it lately.

    LA seems like it's much more into vegetarianism these days— I guess because the hippie aesthetic seems pretty much 100% gone from NYC, but is still quite prevalent out west.
  • It's been growing for years, and continues to do so.  Paleo is just the latest incarnation of Atkins, etc., etc. (diets that emphasize eating more meat and animal products towards the end of short term weight loss, often at the expense of long term health).  The primary difference between the two being that vegetarianism is about more than just losing weight, it's about sustainable health, the consequences of our choice of diet on the environment and its inhabitants, how we utilize limited resources in the faces of population growth that threatens to overwhelm our limited resources, etc.  There will always be variations on the eat what you want and still lose weight motif, mainly because we (as humans) and this country in particular, are not particularly fond of self sacrifice ("greed is good" may as well be our national mantra).  Citing paleo as evidence of the decline of vegetarianism is a bit like saying the planet isn't warming because it's cold outside.  If you take a step back and look at the broader trends, it continues to grow, especially amongst younger people.

  • I think the hardcore veganism movement is more prevalent out west, specifically in LA, but the trend toward eating LESS meat is certainly a huge one in the restaurant/food scene these days. Every other day you see an article about restaurants focusing more on vegetables, veggie tasting menus, etc. I think the wave of the future is a restaurant where only about half the dishes have animal products, and many dishes use the meat only as an "accent" with the vegetables and grain being the main focus of the dish. That way meat-eaters, vegetarians, and "flexitarians" can all eat side by side. 
  • I found Pacifico expensive and wildly uneven -- great some nights, not worth the price on others. I am sorry to see anyone lose their business, but I do agree with @whatchuwant that something like a tapas bar might be a better fit for the space. 

    Cent'Anni is a good, solid Italian place with both a bar scene and kid's menu, not to mention a great backyard -- and they deliver on Seamless, which is probably a good piece of business for them as well. I doubt Pacifico's kitchen was big enough for delivery to be an option. 

    Barboncino (note correct spelling) also has a lovely backyard, space for things like live music or TVs on sports nights -- and the best pizza in the area, the sort that gets mentioned in longer lists of great pizzas citywide. 
  • Having lived in Clinton Hill for a year I often went to Aita (and Mayfield). Aita's brunch and dinner are both very good - not incredible as I think someone above mentioned, but very good and they are always busy. Might be because there aren't a ton of options nearby or might be because people genuinely like it that much - not positive. That said Aita also does not have a backyard so I'm sure Roberto has a few tricks up his sleeve to combat this with the Pacifico's space.. at least I hope he does because it's a very good point and something ANYONE that enters that space must take into account. 

    I am definitely saddened to see another business in the area close - especially so quickly - but glad another will be filling the space and wish it the best of luck. Hate seeing all of the vacant storefronts on Franklin..

    Lastly, I just want to say how impressed I am with this group! I've been living in Crown Heights for about 9 months now and this forum has been my absolute go-to for news/updates/etc. about the neighborhood. I've only lurked up until now so just wanted to put that out there. Happy to finally be joining in and look forward to more discussions in the future.

    -Nick
  • mcpoet said:

    You'd be surprised how common these kinds of lawsuits are. The place where my fiancee works is being sued for a million dollars for serving food they claimed was kosher, but wasn't. People can eat whatever/wherever they want. Though I know I'd want to know if a place where I ate was accidentally serving meat in ostensibly vegetarian fare. It might seem like a minor thing to some, but having not eaten meat in several decades it's akin to what a meat eater would feel if someone served them human flesh. Absolutely disgusting and a violation of your deepest held beliefs and convictions. So yeah, funny stuff.



    Frivolous lawsuits are incredibly common, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of these.  Even if there is a claim, the damages would be pretty small.

     

    And the kosher issue is a bit different, right?  Being vegetarian isn't a religion, no matter how important it is to you. 

     

    I'm curious to know how that "million-dollar lawsuit" turns out, though.  What orifice did they pull that damages amount from?

  • Yeah, it's definitely an absurd amount. And to your other point I'd say that it doesn't make sense to me that because beliefs are sanctioned by a religious institution that they're somehow more valid, or that the harm is any less egregious. You can abide by a religion's belief system and customs even if you don't believe in them particularly passionately. Going multiple decades without consuming or wearing anything that comes from an animal is a fairly significant commitment and constitutes my core belief system and most cherished ideals. If the lawsuit is principally citing pain and suffering then I think a persuasive argument can be made that the suffering in both cases is qualitatively similar. But like I said, I'm not particularly litigious. I will say that hopefully there are more vegetarian friendly options once they reopen. As others have pointed out, there are more people who eat meat who simply choose to go meatless some of the time. It's wise to have at least a couple options for these demographics.
  • Signs are now up for Aita Trattoria.
  • Grand opening is/was tonight.
  • that was quick
  • They had a DOH approved kitchen. The new operator was already listed on the alc lic.

    Discussion continued here: http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/45353/aita-trattoria-798a-franklin-between-ep-and-lincoln#Item_1

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