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The Early Word on Red Gravy, Saul Bolton's Latest

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Daniel Krieger

Saul Bolton of the Brooklyn mainstays Saul and The Vanderbilt opened Red Gravy back in December. As the name suggests, the Brooklyn Heights restaurant is Bolton's take on old-school Italian-American food, but it's not just another red sauce joint. Instead Bolton is doing seasonal Italian that has some diners raving while disappointing others?especially those who might be expecting heaping portions. Here's what people are saying so far.

The Good News: The Yelpers just can't agree about this place, with equal numbers of positive and negative. Here's one who loved it: "This is my first Yelp review ever. We were looking forward to the opening of Red Gravy with great anticipation, and it met our expectations and then some. Saul has once again proven that he has great range and can create and deliver meals at all levels. The meatball and polenta appetizer was amazing--we could have easily ordered it many times over. And our entrees were perfectly cooked, and just the right size. We've eagerly awaiting our next visit." [Yelp]

The Bad News: But then other Yelpers, like this one, disagree: "Too bad. Overpriced, small portions were heavy handed and over spiced. I really wanted to like this place (I live so close), and the food and service were good (representing one of the stars), but it is way too expensive to be a usual neighborhood place and not good enough to justify the price. VERY small plate of Bucatini with sardines - $19. If they brought their prices in line with the neighborhood, I could justify another try, but this is not value. I am certainly not opposed to spending money on a great meal. But at these prices, I expected much more." [Yelp]

The Beautiful News: The Brooklyn Heights Blog opened up a thread for comments on the restaurant, and the word is similarly mixed. This one loved the place: "Tried it. Loved it. Great antipasti. Beautiful atmosphere. Good cocktails. Awesome desert. Don't tell outsiders!" [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

The Meh News: But then here's another commenter there who didn't come away feeling as great: "Tried it the week that it opened. The interior is a little sterile. Went with my husband and two friends. My friend and husband had the Sunday gravy and thought it was good, I can't remember what I had, but whatever it was, it was just meh. Nothing new here which is a shame. There are so many Italian restaurants in the area and they aren't offering much that is different or better." [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

The Amazing News: Here's a Foursquare tipster who loved it: "Food is really good! Rabbit is amazing! But portions are small." [Foursquare]

The Generous News: The blogger at Digest NY files an early report. On the foccacia: "Dinner starts with complimentary fresh-baked focaccia and fava puree. The restaurant's name suggests run-of-the-mill Italian-American, but the puree is a welcomed addition to the table and it prepares diners for a meal that is anything but." And disputing other claims of small portions, on the ravioli: "Sheep's milk ricotta and hen of the woods mushrooms. Another generous portion. Hen of the woods get quickly cooked down in a splash of white wine and butter into a sort of mushroom ragu. They retain their texture and it mimics that of the homemade ravioli. Fresh ricotta is a nice filler that doesn't interfere with the woodsy mushrooms." [Digest NY]

The Underwhelming News: An Eater commenter submits this in-depth report: "Went last week on a rainy night. My impressions:
*A HUGE space, and apparently just as big in the basement where they prep and make pasta. In contrast to the usual cramped, small hipster Brooklyn F&B spaces it's palatial. That said, the decor sucks and feels Olive Garden-bland/sterile.
*Octopus first course was meh, didn't seem like a very fresh piece of seafood.
*Pasta and meatballs was great, possibly the best meatball I've ever had. Pasta was perfect, too." [Eater Comments]
*The pastry needs A LOT of work--did the semifreddo and also some kind of forgettable pistachio cake. Very poor all around, excepting the honey-chocolate gelato which was spot on.
*Eager service from a young waiter who was nice and helpful and really trying hard, but very green.
*There were many misprints/mistakes on the menu, and two dishes were served completely different then described, with no warning." [Eater Comments]

The Pleasing News: Zagat checked in as well: "The restaurant's tender meatballs came nestled in creamy polenta and topped with their namesake, red gravy. The winter capanata went nicely with that dish, the array of lightly pickled cardoons, artichoke, currants, and pine nuts helping cut the fat of the rich meatballs. Instead of fresh mozzarella, they offer smoked, and the pickles are a seasonal selection they do in house. Also offered, and not to be overlooked, is there crudo antipasti, which on our visit turned out to be fresh tuna brightened with blood orange that got a pleasing crunch from a spattering of crushed almonds." [Zagat]
· All Coverage of Red Gravy [~ENY~]

Red Gravy

151 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201 718 885 0051 Visit Website

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