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Royal's Downtown -- long (of course)

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Royal's Downtown -- long (of course)

Steve R. | Oct 5, 2005 10:44 AM

A couple of days ago, a poster asked if anyone's been to the new place on Union/Henry in Cobble Hill named Royal's (where Nino's, then Russell's was). Being civic minded, my wife and I went last night.

I'll start by saying that I really want others to go and try the place. Mainly because I'm not sure what I think & want opinions/viewpoints. Here's the deal:

Its beautiful and classy. Nicely redone room, using upscale furniture/fixtures/silverware, etc. Even a nice outdoor sidestreet balcony area with 3-4 tables. Nice large bar area, perfect for my "mature" age group. Very friendly staff & owner, trying their hardest to please. Some service kinks but very minor. And a chef who'se obviously talented, using top of the line ingredients. However, its at a higher price point than just about any other place (including Saul's and Grocery, I think). Wine list in the $30s-40s, apps $8-13, entrees $20s-30s, desserts $8. They're obviously going for "class of the neighborhood" honors.

So, what about the food? Well, I'm not sure exactly what I think & that's why I'd love others to go and write their opinions. My wife's Hearts of Romaine w/white Spanish Anchovies was excellent and very large ($9?). My fondutta ($12) with a gorgeous display of root veggies (3 colors of cauliflower, large baby carrots, brocolli (?) that was deeper colored and more flavorful than the usual by far) on the side was well prepared but itself not aggressively flavored enough for me. However, it also came with toast points that were topped with very flavorful white truffles. Not sure how to eat all of this as a coherent appetizer, even though everything was, separately, quality. My wife's entree was a pasta ($21) with at least 4 very woodsy deep flavored mushroom varieties. Very well done, but it seemed overly rich, especially for a non-winter month dish. Mine was a braised pork with savoy cabbage & raisin bread pudding ($24) all in a broth covering the bottom of the dish & some rosemary. Again, excellent ingredients, large portion size, and very very rich. I eat a lot in general and couldnt finish the dish -- not so much the size as the richness. The one split dessert was a very good creme brulee, lightly fruit flavored.

Here's the bottom line: everything about the place makes me want it to be great. But the actual food I ate just wasnt a perfect fit FOR ME to say I loved. And maybe not just me -- I really cant tell. Great, expensive ingredients, lovingly prepared yes. I'll go back easily to try other things or even the same things on a different night, hoping to fall in love with the food. Please go and tell me about dishes that you love.

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