Aliseo reminds me of the little grandmother cooking in the back of this small hole in the wall retaurant called Alfredo e Ada in Rome, so I was glad to learn that its owner grew up in the kitchens of the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Situated in the newest restaurant hotbed in Brooklyn, Vanderbilt Avenue, Aliseo’s presence doesn’t jump out at you but instead fades into the background the way a word-of-mouth-famous restaurant should.
I like this area because I’ve lived in it for about a decade, long enough to be happy dining well in a part of town you wouldn’t walk at night just a few years ago.
Indeed, Vanderbilt avenue seems to the newest Park Slope Fifth avenue with the number of creative and exceptional restaurants to choose from. Among them are Cornelius, The Vanderbilt, Amorina, R&D, Milk Bar, Cataldo’s, and speakeasies like my favorite Weather Up.
We walked in early on a weeknight when a gentleman was still making pasta at the bar. “This is fettuccine,” the owner said as he held up a batch of fresh noodles. We loved that it was empty and we had their attention to ourselves. In the busy New York restaurant scene this is rare unless of course the said place sucks.
Compliments of the chef we each received a roasted date stuffed with ricotta to wake up our palate with a rich sweet slap. I like welcome gestures. It makes me feel special and not just any patron. It gives the impression that the meal was designed for me.
We then started with a plate of three crostinis: shrimp sausage, chicken gizzard, and honey ricotta. Each one was a tiny bite of love that went well with the wine.
I ordered the fettuccine with duck ragu. Of course we would have the pasta we saw being made as we entered! The sauce had simple and distinct flavors with the obvious textures of tomato and onion. You definitely knew this was cooked with heart.
My wife ordered the smoked fish and cannellini beans over cappelini. It was so pretty and simple looking but the smoked flavors permeated throughout the whole dish. I loved the green accent of leeks in its appearance. We cleaned out our plates with lots of mmmms.
She wanted panna cotta and so she got it. It was vanilla with a red wine sauce with roasted plums. This was a great end to a nice meal.
665 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238