Dinner at Fornino

Park Slope probably didn’t need another Italian restaurant, but we finally went to Fornino in Park Slope, and it is definitely one of the better ones in the neighborhood.  My wife and I took Nate (almost 3) early, around 6 on a Friday.  It is a large space, and we were seated immediately. High tin ceilings with mod lighting mixed with tables and banquettes make for an inviting atmosphere.  Although I have to wonder what inspired the “Wendys-esque” old-time newspaper tables?

We passed on the children’s menu (although, I think it’s thoughtful to have one, but godforbid I offend the sensibility of the eater-atti) and Nate shared with us.  Although the pizza at their Williamsburg location is phenomenal, I heard the pizza at the Slope location was grilled, and I’m just not a fan.  Fortunately, the non-pizza options are excellent.  We started with the artichoke and herb aioli.  [Note to self, 3 year olds do not know just to eat the soft part pf artichoke leaves.]  After a bit of coughing, Nate improvised and started dunking the house focaccia in the aioli.  Nate was on to something, the aioli was delicious, and their focaccia was better than most, and I think their aioli/focaccia is a better combo than with the artichoke.

Next was the watermelon salad. Very simple with cheese and red and yellow watermelon, but refreshing on a muggy night.

Juliet got the grilled saffron ravioli with asparagus and a lemon Parmigiano sauce.  The pasta was well prepared, but sauce seemed a little bland to me, especially for a cream sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano.  But Nate seemed to like it more than my rigatoni with “Cucina’s famous sausage.” That was good by me, I couldnt get enough of the “famous” sausage. I’m not sure if the sausage is actually famous, but it should be!  I am definitely going to try more of their homemade sausage next visit.

The staff was friendly and quick, even after Nate broke his glass while pawing for more water after gagging on artichoke.

With an antsy kid nearing his bedtime, I know not to overstay my welcome at a place I want to come back to, so we passed on dessert. But had a nice pastry and Stumptown coffee from Trois Pommes patisserie next door as we walked home.

Fornino vs I Trulli

I’ve heard good things about the new restaurant in Park Slope, Fornino, where their Williamsburg location supposedly has the best pizza. But as it is with anything in the Slope there has been a bit of a kerfuffle, there is no children’s menu! They have since added one, but I’d hardly call the owner’s attitude welcoming of kids, “I’m not looking to turn this into a romper room,”Michael Ayoub says adding, “children should act accordingly,” (he then bit the head of an Elmo doll, so I’m told.)

Gramercy Park restaurant, I Trulli, has no children’s menus and owner of, Nicola Marzovilla, doesn’t believe in them, “Children’s menus are the death of civilization.” But apparently they are welcoming to children, Mr. Marzovilla thinks children’s menus “aim too low” and wants to broaden the little ones’ pallets.

I don’t take any offense to either attitude, but mainly because Nate pretty much gave up on children’s menus at 2 and a half, not enough food! We regularly get him a full entree, and he usually eats all of it.

Although Nate can be a demanding diner, flagging down the waitress for more water or napkins, or food! So I’m looking forward to seeing if they will treat Nate like any other diner.

But the real head-scratcher is why Mr. Ayoub would open a restaurant in Park Slope if he was so opposed to catering to children? Was he opposed to tattooed hipsters at his Williamsburg location?

And for what it’s worth, I’ve had more meals disrupted by loud drunks than kids, and I’ve yet to hear any say restaurants shouldn’t serve booze.