Hello All --
Doing my Chowhound duty, reporting on a brand spanking new place. Last night was the first night of soft-open for Hopeland, which went into the old Jolie space on Atlantic. Normally I'm the kind of person who never goes into a place on its *first night* and then proceeds to trash it online. And I won't do that now. We found it the old fashioned way, by walking by it on the sidewalk. They've intentionally done very little PR work as yet, so as not to be overwhelmed at the beginning.
They did a minor reconfiguration of the space, making the bar area a little bit of a Bar. That's where we sat, so I can't really comment on the rest of the room or the back space. As is the case with all new places, it still smelled of new varnish. That's pretty much unavoidable and shouldn't be counted against them.
We weren't super hungry, so we just got a salad, a "small plate" and an entree. The kale salad with toasted pine nuts and avocado was delicious. If you've never had a good kale salad, it may change your mind about kale. For our "small plate" we had a grilled split Italian sausage with sauteed escarole and allegedly some fava beans. While I didn't see m/any fava beans (partially because this dish was in front of DGF, so I had to reach... it's possible they were there) there were lots of little bacon cubes. I guess I wasn't really in the mood for that kind of thing, because of the three it was my least favorite. There was too much pork/meat/fat/salt. For our main we had an incredibly tender and tasty skirt steak with "tossed" artichokes. This dish was both of our favorites. If there were any criticism, I would say they had a somewhat heavy hand with the salt. And I like salt. For dessert we got the ricotta cheese cake. It had a really nice hint of anise, and over all great flavor. I'm not sure how many traditional italian torti di ricotta I've ever had.... but it seemed a trifle dry to me.
The staff at the bar were cheerful, friendly and competent. Obviously since it was their first night there were some VERY minor service glitches. But over all, we had a really nice meal. They describe the cuisine as Southern Italian. The Small Plate section had about 15-20 dishes ranging from salads, to calamari, to pate (and grilled split sausage). They had maybe 16-20 mains as well, roughly half of which were pasta. Smalls ranged from 9-15 and mains ranged from maybe 15-25. The wine list tends to range a little on the high side, so that's something to factor in if you're going to have wine. So there are cheaper places to eat in the hood, but certainly far more expensive places too.
Considering it was their first night, they definitely hit the ground running. They'll compete well with Rucola, and they may even take some of my patronage from Bar Tabac as well. We'll definitely be back.
320 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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