Dinner last night at recently opened Naked Dog was simply excellent.
This new Italian restaurant on the corner of Java and West streets is named for the co-owner's beloved rescue beagle Luigi who hates to wear anything, including his collar(!). Consideration was given to calling the place Luigi's in his honor, but using his nickname prevailed and we like it!
J and I arrived early for our reservation and enjoyed a classic negroni and a glass of vino rosso at the bar. We could have camped there for the evening as the seating is comfortable and the staff engaging. The rustic natural wood bar top compliments the adjacent dining tables and contrasts well with the preserved brick walls. Soft lighting, large windows and a mural on one wall creates an inviting space.
The dining area seats 60 in two adjoining rooms. Best table for a party of 2 is the small corner booth dividing the two rooms. The place was busy with families dining early then transitioned to couples and groups later on.
Chef Amit Rabinovich (former sous chef at Babbo) has crafted a small menu divided into the traditional antipasta, primi, secondi and contorni courses. Seasonal and local fare is featured including last night's special of pumpkin ravioli with a chestnut sauce.
We started by sharing the Tagliere complimented by an excellent Aglianico vino. Included with the Tagliere was a light and airy mortedella ricotta mousse and crostini. This pair alone would be a great cicchetti for enjoying at the bar. We then split a primi of Tagliatelle and both ordered a secondi - wild salmon for J and rib eye for me.
The highlight of the evening was the house made Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and thyme butter sauce. Perfect. Reminded me a lot of dishes I've had while traveling thru the Veneto. Simple ingredients, simple preparation yet the depth of flavor was outstanding.
The salmone and bistecca alla Fiorentina that followed were very good, but next time here I may choose two pasta courses. The Tagliatelle was that good!
Bistecca Fiorentina is traditionally a 2lb porterhouse, here it's a 16oz rib eye that more than satisfied one's cravings for a Tuscan steak. At $34, the steak (served with caramelized onions and roasted potatoes) is the most expensive plate on a menu that features $17 pastas and $25 entrees.
We enjoyed triple E service throughout - engaging, efficient and excellent. We were well taken care of and look forward to returning.
We closed the evening with an after dinner grappa, vino rosso and gelato at the bar. A perfect ending to a great evening.
Naked Dog, Brooklyn