Date Night @ Barano
On the 11th of every month we celebrate our very first date with a trip to a locally acclaimed Italian restaurant (we save all our pasta & carbs for this occasion!).
For the month of August, we checked out Barano, a chic Williamsburg Italian eatery by the chef from the acclaimed Rubirosa, Al Di Meglio. Southern Italy inspired cuisine, solid wine and cocktail selection, and a beautiful interior made for one of our more favorable Date Nights yet.
Even for a Wednesday night, we expected Barano to be a little more packed but given it's location off the J & M lines, it was a pleasant surprise to find a place so spacious and quiet. We've since come back and seen Barano on the weekends packed with patrons, but for a weekday dinner date this place is perfect to have conversations and catch up with the spouse.
The menu looked so good we actually went with 4 dishes (ultimately being way too much): House Bread with Farro Sourdough, Sea Salt, Oregano, Chickpea + Basil Hummus, 21-Day Dry-Aged Meatballs with Herb Ricotta, Corzetti with Heritage Pork Ragu, Tomato, and Ricotta Salata, and a Whole Branzino with Broccoli Rabe, Pickled Chilies, Charred Lemon, Salsa Verde
The star of the night was shockingly, this flatbread, though it shouldn't have come as a surprise as chef and owner Al Di Meglio is famous for his phenomenal crust at Rubirosa. The flatbread was great on it's own, but paired with the hummus the bread explodes with flavor.
Next up was the 21 day dry aged meatball. The texture is really different, and we actually had differing opinions, but what's not in question is how much flavor gets packed into the meatball. Definitely worth trying.
We really wanted to try the heritage pork, but also wanted the Branzino, so we ended up getting the pork ragu. Brilliant, rich flavor and easily the runner up to the flatbread.
Finally the Branzino. We were so full by then but in the few bites we tried we got a perfectly roasted fish with great moisture. What was actually quite well done was the broccoli rabe: no hint of bitterness but wasn't over roasted. Great dish, even as a leftover :P.
Definitely our favorite thus far, and will definitely come back if we're looking to eat in the South Williamsburg area. The flatbread alone is worth making the trip, but the whole experience is wonderful.