Friday, August 15, 2008

Po -- fo sho!

Last night I went to the new Carroll Gardens' outpost of Po.

If you've never heard of Po, it earned fame and fortune in the early 1990s as the home of a promising young chef named Mario Batali. (And it was a hell of a lot cheaper than Mario's subsequent ventures.)

The Manhattan version was always very good even after Mario left (I mean, it's not Del Posto, but nothing else is) but the last few times I went, I thought it had seriously gone off the rails.

The bread was stale. The service lackluster. And the last time I went I saw an insect on the floor. (I left immediately.)

But I had been hearing good things about the new Brooklyn version. So when I was passing through the neighborhood and Vinny's (one of my favorite Carroll Gardens red sauce joints) was closing up, I figured, "Oh, what the hell..." and stopped in Po.

It was great!

First: Everything looked clean.

Second: My main dish was delicious. I had the orecchiette with sweet sausage and broccoli rabe -- and I licked my plate. Not too spicy and not too sweet. (My only complaint: It was drowning in sauce. Not that the sauce wasn't excellent, but it could have used a little more pasta.)

Also, they have an absolutely great warm white bean bruschetta.

The bread was fresh and the service was attentive. Keep 'em coming, Smith Street!