Barano – Excellent new Italian in Williamsburg

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Chef/owner Al DiMeglio, formerly of Rubirosa, Olana and Osteria del Circo, has opened this new restaurant on Broadway in Williamsburg. We tried it last week and were very pleased. It’s definitely worth the trip from Manhattan, just one stop into Brooklyn on the M train.

The menu consists mostly of appetizers, plate-size pizzas, and pastas, with just four main course options. Prices are quite reasonable for the generous portions. We put together a meal of three dishes which we shared, starting with bone marrow oreganata and grilled bread, then bucatini with rabbit ragu, and for the main course, roasted chicken. Al comped us a Margherita pizza because he wanted us to sample it. The reviewer from the New Yorker thought it was unexciting, but we disagree (it may also be that what she had was not the final version, as Al has been experimenting with different types of flour). We really liked the crust, which has a deeper flavor of wheat than that of Rubirosa, without being overpowering.

Update:

Returned the other night for the “Dine in Brooklyn” restaurant week special, $28 for 3 courses. The place was mobbed. I started with the meatball appetizer, which was a large portion and very good, but the big hit was the mozzarella, which I can’t even describe except to say this is exceptional, a must have. For the main course, Al let us try the lamb even though it was not on the prix-fixe, since we had already had the chicken the previous time. This was an extremely flavorful dish. We had ice cream for dessert, one each of the banana bread and the blueberry. These were great, but the star of the show was the panna cotta (not on the prix-fixe but he wanted us to try it). Hard to describe exactly, but it was like no other panna cotta I have ever had. There was an orange gelatin on top, and orange peel, in a sauce of orange. I don’t know how it was described on the menu, but I can say it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in some time.

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