TravelNoise: Evelina, New York City
If you’re coming to the Big Apple for the first time ever, you might guess that I’d point you in the direction of midtown Manhattan, the village or even the upper east side for an incredible meal. And while that has to be true (there are so many restaurants, it’s hard to go totally wrong), I really wouldn’t point you anywhere but Brooklyn — and in particular, to Evelina.
Nestled in Fort Greene amongst too-cool-for-school shops and specialty restaurants, Evelina is the gem you hope to find in any new place you explore. I didn’t just stumble across this one — I ran to it.
My guest and I arrived on a gorgeous, balmy May evening to find adorable outside seating, complete with candles and still water. The inside of the restaurant was earthy with half-tile, half-wood floors. From the plants lining the walls to the wood panel ceiling to the industrial bar, the sun-drenched place felt cozy as ever, yet refreshing.
We couldn’t wait to get started, so we mapped out exactly what we were planning to get — as far as drinks, anyway. I opted for the Desdemona ($13), which is made with rye whiskey, ancho reyes, amaro Montenegro, pressed grapefruit, lemon and cinnamon while my guest went for the Evelina ($10), a rosemary-infused cappelletti cocktail topped with house prosecco. The Evelina was like a spritzer — not too sweet, and bright, while the Desdemona was packed with grapefruit flavour, nicely balanced by the kick from the cinnamon and ancho reyes.
In terms of food, the menu is focused and seasonal. It’s difficult to know what to try because everything legitimately looks like the “special” item on the menu. So, we looked to our host, who divulged her personal favourite appetizers to start us off: the little gem and radicchio salad ($15), complete with bosc pear, tahini dressing, pine nuts and blue di bufala, and the Hamachi tuna ceviche ($16), with charred avocado, jalapeño, red onion and cilantro. The salad was rich and sweet from the pear, with a dusting of freshly grated cheese on top, and the ceviche was citrusy and indulgent with the softened avocado producing a wave of creaminess to the dish.
We also ordered the grass-fed steak tartare ($18) with sunchoke chips, egg yolk, salva cremasco and pane carasau, which was salty, rich and fatty — exactly what you hope a tartare to be.
For the mains, we had to go with a pasta and a protein (they’re featured in separate categories on the menu). Our host enthusiastically recommended the ravioli di burrata ($23), with fava beans, asparagus, summer squash and fresh corn, and the heritage pork chop ($25), which was accompanied by Tuscan kale, Brussels sprouts, apple and anchovy dressing. Honestly, both were equally excellent in their own ways. The ravioli was the perfect summer dish — simple and buttery with spring veggies to brighten the pillowy ravioli while the pork chop was juicy and seared to perfection, the apple and kale adding an essential sweet-and-bitter element.
Like most visits to restaurants, my guest and I didn’t stop there. We were talked into the house special desserts, the lemon tart and chocolate cake. The cake was the epitome of decadence while the lemon tart offered a palate-cleansing freshness to end the meal.
All I can say about this place is wow. If you ever head over to the city, skip the bright lights of the city itself and come straight to Evelina. We bet you could stay there all day and know true happiness, because in just two hours, I definitely did.
Address: 211 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Telephone Number: (929) 298-0209