Dating, like hoola hooping or checkbooks, requires a strong sense of balance – knowing when to call and when to delete numbers from your phone book. Some people revel in the game, the poise of dating. I, on the other hand, celebrate dating itself, and by that I mean, of course, going out to eat. But it can prove difficult to procure those restaurants that say, just loud enough, “yes, I’m interested.”
Welcome, then, to Verde on Smith; the effortless Lucida typeface of the restaurant’s Smith St. storefront calls to Brooklyn dwellers as well as anyone in search of simple Italian fare, and really, lovers of all sorts. There were well behaved Brooklyn babies with their trendy poncho clad parents. There were loving longtime friends joking about the parking in Cobble Hill. Upon entering, we were seated next to the restaurant’s svelte bar where a younger crowd tasted highlights from the extensive wine list. The place itself was sleek with high ceilings and a long dining room. Weathered wood accompanied by smells of fresh seafood and smoky meats beckoned diners inside.
The sentimental owner of Verde on Smith was a convivial host, chatting up the crowd with tidbits about the restaurant’s launch and his feelings on Southern Italian fare. We learned that the restaurant prides itself in serving organic ingredients marrying an allegiance to Italian fare with a thoughtful contemporary twist.
We sat down to dinner with anticipation. Choosing a wine proved difficult. The restaurant prides itself in a homage to Italian wine, and our server recommended a beautiful Masciarelli that was clean and light. We began our meal with their ‘Smith Street Soup Festival’ winning Lobster Bisque. So what does first place mean here? The soup was an absolute masterpiece, rich and buttery, our spoons scrambled around the bowl. We sampled their appetizer of the day, a prosciutto wrapped scallops with a mango balsamic glaze. Call me a romantic, but I consider the partnering of a scallop and butter to be a sacred one. The prosciutto gave some textural foreplay, but the scallops were dimmed by the veritable explosion of mango.
I was anticipating the main course. Verde is known for their seafood, something I have a soft spot for. The linguini arrived, swirled with a luscious serving of mussels and topped with a suggestively spicy cherry tomato sauce. The seared tuna was an elegant calculus of flavor- served on a bed of cannellini beans and Escarole, the flavor of the generous cuts of fish were emboldened by the thin smoky sear.
We stuck around for dessert, just as people began to filter out of the restaurant. Thinking we had ordered a simple chocolate lava cake, we were surprised by a seductive and bold dark cake with a hint of acid in the drizzle of raspberry reduction. Real vanilla bean ice-cream on the side didn’t get skipped over. Another bottle of the Masciarelli had appeared at our table just in time for desert, and maybe it was the wine talking, but I think I got lucky with Verde on Smith.