Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A home away from home

Room for improvement with Photoshop

I think everyone needs a restaurant, or at the least a bar that serves food.  It is someplace to go when things are wonderfully amazing or horribly wrong.  Either way you get a drink, a bite to eat, and some conversation.  Some people can afford to own a restaurant; others just frequent a place so often, they become family. 

Enter Noodle Pudding.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I have frequented this oddly-named Italian restaurant for a few years.  This fine establishment in Brooklyn Heights is somewhat responsible for maintaining my sanity throughout law school and bar exam study. I would set myself at the bar, open a 1,000+ page book and get to work. At least through the first two glasses of wine. Now I eschew the work and get straight into the bizarre conversations floating around the bar. I could probably write a book on the characters in this place.This is a restaurant with character and a number of characters - from the owner, Tony, to the most regular of regulars, Randy (who has a plaque with his name on the bar so that he always has a seat).

But, nevermind about that. The food is good and the kitchen delivers consistently. There is a list of specials that varies slightly, but most could be described as the seasonal section of the menu (e.g. a short rib with polenta that sticks around for most of the winter). The real variable is fish - that depends on what Tony finds when he goes to the market at 5am every morning. On the regular menu, lasagna, gnocchi and an organic roasted half-chicken are my favorites. With a salad, the mussels ( in either a lemon garlic, or spicy tomato broth) make a meal even though the dish is listed with the appetizers. When in season, I almost always order the puntarelle, which is a vegetable that I cannot compare to any other I've tried. On the dessert menu, I have always been a fan of the rather tiramisu, which is a little heavy on the chocolate (and that is a good thing). Occasionally, I ask for an affogato - simply vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over - not on the menu.

And maybe, one day, you will be invited to the night-before-Thanksgiving card game. After closing, the busboys and servers cook up some of their native dishes (the carne asada last year was amazing), we set up some tables, and play poker until about 4am.
Become a regular.

Noodle Pudding, 38 Henry Street, Brooklyn
Note: Closed Monday, cash only (but they take my checks so it might be worth trying)

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