(Photo to follow)
I am sure many of you, like Fork, have a collection of cutlery. Each piece carefully chosen and equally cherished. But sadly in the big drawer we call life, certain pieces of cutlery seem to get lost in the shuffle. Same was true of Serving Spoon. But thanks to a twist of fate, Serving Spoon and Fork have reconnected and managed to squeeze in one of what Fork hopes are many adventures to come.
Neither of us could decide where to go, what to eat (Fork always depends on Spoon to make the choices!) We knew we wanted to try something in Brooklyn, and I am so glad we did! Zio Toto is a relatively new Italian restaurant in the restaurant saturated neighborhood of Bay Ridge. And restaurants of Bay Ridge, WATCH OUT! This Italian restaurant is marking its territory and will take a large share of the Bay Ridge restaurant goers. Zio Toto is absolutely incredible! Huge portions, outstanding service, reasonable prices, great wine, and delicious food!
Serving Spoon and Fork met at Zio Toto at 6:15 and sat and laughed and giggled and drank pinot grigio and laughed – menu? really? read it? No rush, take your time. And they meant it. There were no hovering waiters glaring or repeatedly asking whether we were ready to order. Occasionally only asking if we wanted more wine…..why, YES, thank you!
At some point we figured we should look at the menu. The menu is large and varied, great appetizers, pastas, salads, entrees. What to choose! Our waiter came over and started to describe the specials. By his description of the specials alone Fork wanted EVERYTHING!
Knowing we can’t really have everything, we settled on sharing the Pear Salad from the specials menu. Thin slices of pear, parmigiano cheese, mesculn salad, light tangy, slightly sweet dressing – and plenty of it. What a great, refreshing way to start a meal.
Oh, wait! I forgot about the bread basket! The very thin, crispy focaccia baked in a brick oven, lightly seasoned with olive oil, fresh herbs and pepper. Sitting on each table was a small can of olive oil – really good olive oil as a matter of fact – to did the bread into. You know more than one basket was consumed during this giggle-fest dinner.
For entrees, Serving Spoon and Fork both ordered from the specials menu. Serving Spoon order the Lasagna. Before I start with the lasagna, let me say, their sauce is AMAZING!! Very light. Very fresh. Well seasoned. Not too thick or heavy. Certainly not over cooked. Right amount of garlic and basil and pepper! Now, back to the lasagna. This was a large portion of Lasagna. It wasn’t the usual cake like lasagna that some restaurants like to serve it was light and delicate, and still a large portion. The pasta was fresh, the mozzarella just right and the bechamel was fantastic, not heavy or too much of it, there was a slight spicy bite in there too. Everything in this dish was proportioned perfectly to make one of the best lasagnas Fork has had outside of home!
Fork, on the other tine, had the Risotto with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. More. May I please have some more! It is rare to have risotto served to you in a restaurant that is not sticky or mushy or just downright disappointing. Well, this was none of those things! Again, a very generous serving. The sausage was sauteed and then crumbled, the Broccoli rabe chopped up, the risotto creamy and al dente. When the dish was first placed in front of me, I couldn’t imagine that I could finish the entire thing! I was already thinking what could I do with the leftovers the next day! Before I knew it the plate was empty, by stomach was full, and I had a satisfied grin on my face that only something yummy could place there.
Would you like dessert? Oh, no, we couldn’t possibly. Serving Spoon wanted cappuccino. Fork’s replay? Well, just in case, what do you have for dessert? We have cheesecake, tartufo, two things that aren’t here yet, and we have Nutella Paradise. Nutella and Paradise naturally belong together, so I was intrigued. Two pieces of thin focaccia with Nutella slathered between, set on a grill, drizzled with chocolate, sprinkled with powdered sugar – and just to be healthy a strawberry in the center. I may not be able to finish typing this. I may need to run out and just sit and have this dessert and a cappuccino!
This is a GREAT place! There are few places in New York City where you can arrive for dinner at 6:15 and stay until 10:15 without looks, grimaces and rushing. This may be the new “IT” place in Bay Ridge for Fork!
Zio Toto ~ 8407 Third Avenue ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.238.8042