A few months ago, I found myself OD-ing on reading restaurant reviews, and becoming so paralyzed with indecision, that I gave up choosing new restaurants altogether. I'd leave the decision up to my dining companion(s), who were surely less cursed with the paradox of choice than I was. Or I'd just visit the same favorite restaurants over and over again.
When my friend Ami suggested this week that we try out Krescendo in Boerum Hill, I agreed in a second. I didn't know much about it, except it recently received a great review from Pete Wells in the NY Times and slightly less enthusiastic reviews on Yelp. Which is more than fine with me.
First off, Krescendo occupies the space left vacant by Downtown Atlantic. And it's enormous. You can stroll right in at 7pm on a weeknight and have your pick of seats.
Secondly, I was really impressed with the appetizers. The saffron arancini, with parsley pistachio pesto, were crispy and tasty. And oh my, the kale salad! This is quite possibly the best kale salad I've ever had in a restaurant. Instead of just raw purple kale, we found bits of crunchy fried kale tossed in. And did I mention it also had maple candied pancetta, ricotta salata, bits of egg, all tossed with a a lemony vinaigrette? I'd go back to Krescendo in a heartbeat just for this kale salad.
And finally, the pizza: it was very tasty as well, maybe not worth traveling an hour on the subway for, but much better than many other brick-oven pizza spots in the area. We had the Finocchio Flower Power, which is basically a love poem to fennel: there was braised fennel, fennel sausage, bits of fennel fronds, a pinch of fiori di finocchio (a Tuscan spice made from wild fennel flowers), along with shaved provolone and a wee bit of chili powder. The dough, though a little less salted than I'd like, was light with the right amount of char.
In keeping with the fennel theme, I had a wonderful cocktail called the Basilico that featured basil-infused gin and fennel bitters. Which brought up a discussion about making your own bitters at home and if there was a upcoming class on homemade bitters in the area. Which I could gladly take, just to have a bit of fennel flavoring around whenever the mood calls for it.