food 10.18.11

River Deli
Every Person in New York

River Deli? Not exactly a money title.

Known chef? Negatory. Brooklyn Heights? To eat? Sardinian food? Hm.

But bring the right attitude and modest expectations and an evening at River Deli can pack in more simple pleasures than many of its cohort on either side of the river.

Owners Andrea Mocci and Giovanna Fadda decided to keep the name they found on the empty storefront—a moment of whimsy saved by the restaurant's adroitness and because this corner of Brooklyn Heights has enough charm that they could have called it L'il Joe's Tire and Lube and that would have worked fine, too.

You wouldn't go wrong starting with the salumi and cheese platter, ordering the pappardelle with mushroom ragu for a primi, or the grilled NY strip steak as a secondi. But by and large, as they're taking their cue from the island of Sardinia, so should you. That means order seafood.

The mussels are superb (the broth, as usual, in the star turn), the grilled tuna tastes as if it were brined first—something has given it an extra depth of flavor—and there's usually a grilled whole fish (branzino, if you're in luck) that summons up not only its former Mediterranean waters, but the attendant sunset, breezes, and glass of Campari, too.

We like eating at River Deli's bar, where the service is especially sweet and you can keep an eye on the surprising mix of people that come and go through the restaurant's doors. Mostly though, we like that you can eat well and enjoy being in the company of a few dozen people who, for a moment, have shrugged off the cares of the world.

32 Joralemon [Columbia Pl.] 718.254.9200
Pastas average $12, mains average $20
The excellent, all-Italian wine list offers
many choices in the low $30s.
Cash only

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

Irwin Hasen, J. Scott Campbell, Geof Darrow, Whilce Portacio, Jill Thompson, Joe Staton, Rob Liefeld, Dave Johnson, JG Jones, Bill SIenkiewicz, Bob Layton, Jason Pearson, Ramona Fradon, and Walter Simonson at the New York Comic Convention in the Jacob Javits Center October 14, 2011

The Bowery (from 2009)

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