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Provini report

eeee | Sep 9, 2009 06:15 AM

Had occasion to visit Provini last night. Lovely little place - small marble tables (with two quasi-banquettes at each end) and a wide, pleasant bar. Menu is moderately sized (about four choices each of appetizer, salad, pasta and main) with an extensive and very well-priced wine list, all Italian, from what I could see.

Service is sweet and attentive. Servers seem to be of Italian origin. Plates and silverware are changed after each course.

Specials were read. We got two of them - an appetizer of tomatos stuffed with mussels and a main course of short rib stewed in tomato over polenta. Also ordered: a pasta with a long and difficult-to-remember name (it's the one that costs $11) and a main of codfish.

The bottle of wine, a Barbera, was outstanding and cost $32.

Of the dishes we ordered, the standout was the short rib, served on the bone and meltingl tender. the drippings seasoned the polenta delightfully. The pasta, a sort of rough-cut thick spaghetti with a tomato/cheese/breadcrumb sauce, was very fresh-tasting and pleasing. Codfish was good as was the mussel appetizer - tasty but not remarkable.

Portions are not large and there is no free starter (olives, bread) of any sort. If you are the sort of person who requires a heaping plate, Provini is not for you. For example, the mussel appetizer consisted of two small tomato halves with perhaps two mussels in each, along with some lightly dressed leaves of arugula. I thought it was tasty but it was noticeably petite. I actually prefer smaller, less expensive plates, so this worked for me.

Pricing is fairly low, though I did not pay the bill and so did not see the cost of the specials. The pastas range from 9 to 14 dollars and mains are in the mid teens to low twenties.

I would happily return to Provini, most likely when the weather gets cooler as I think that season favors the red meats and pastas that seem to be Provini's forte. I would also consider stopping in for a glass of wine and a salad at the bar for a light lunch (the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Provini is located at 13th and 8th in Park Slope.

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