370 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn 5th & 6th St)
If I had a nickel for every time I walked by this place and said to myself “This place looks gorgeous! I really need to eat here one day soon.” then I would probably have $342 in my pocket. There are times when you can walk by a restaurant and simply stop in your tracks to gaze at its beauty. You may know nothing about what type of cuisine they serve, you may not even know if the food is any good but the atmosphere alone compels you to step inside. This was exactly how I felt about Juventino after we finally managed to set foot inside. I knew nothing of their food and prior to going there I did not scour the internet for any kind of info. We entered Juventino completely blind and not knowing what to expect and sometimes that can truly be rewarding. My only question was “Will their food be as good as the place looks?”.
Roasted Garlic: As opposed to the usual bread & butter one might expect, we were pleasantly surprised to receive this instead. A roasted garlic bulb, some bread crisps, and a small plate of butter with what appeared to be sage leaves on top. I love garlic in any which way shape or form but there’s something really delicious about fresh roasted garlic. It was sweet and buttery and worked so well with the crisps. Speaking of butter, I had almost forgotten about the small plate of butter. This was no ordinary butter! Incredibly creamy and smooth, this butter was sweetened with what I thought to be nutmeg. Combine the butter, the garlic, and the crisps and you have one delicious appetizer. I could easily have eaten that entire plate of butter on my own and those sage leaves I had mentioned earlier, they were fantastic!
Oysters: I was immediately impressed with the wonderful selection of oysters on Juventino’s menu. Now I am no oyster snob and I do not pretend to know what every single oyster out there tastes like which is why it is always so pleasant to see an oyster menu that has descriptions of each type. I love all kinds of oysters but I will usually lean toward the sweeter variety. I ordered 3 Kumomotos and 3 Hama Hamas. The oysters were incredibly fresh and were served with a wonderful onion and pepper vinaigrette sauce which was definitely a very nice change to the usual cocktail sauce usually served with oysters. The oysters were fantastic and delicious! I can definitely see myself returning for some oysters and drinks at Juventino.
Bouquet Salad: Quite frankly this could have been a better salad if it was not for 2 problems. Although the vinaigrette dressing was light and tasty, the crispy capers were a major distraction because to put it simply they were like like little balls of salt. Regular capers would have been just fine in my opinion or at least capers without an entire day’s worth of sodium content. Secondly, this salad was leafy and when I say leafy I mean you could probably use these leaves to build a small rain shelter. A machete, instead of a knife, might have proven to be more useful in attempting to eat this. I usually do not prefer my vegetation to be jungle-sized. Unfortunately this salad got a definite thumbs down.
Australian Lamb: After we finally finished our battle with the overgrown salad, this magnificent piece of meat arrived! A beautiful, juicy, and perfectly cooked- medium rack of lamb. The lamb was incredibly tender in the middle while lightly crisp on the outside. As most meat eaters already know, it takes nothing more than just salt & pepper to season a high quality piece of meat and achieve great flavor. Now I am not some organic fanatic or anything remotely like that however I always notice a difference in taste when eating organic meats. This lamb was very fresh and although I cannot really describe it, the flavor of meat is so much better when it’s not injected with more steroids than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Should the natural flavor of the lamb not be enough for your taste buds then one application of the sauce, in which the lamb was served, will most definitely take you to new heights. A sweet and rich sauce which somewhat reminded me of the sauce on the Filet For Two at Flatbush Farm as mentioned in my last posting. The accompanying Israeli couscous was excellent as well. I have always enjoyed it so much more than regular couscous mostly because of the shape and the slightly chewy texture. The slightly bitter greens were also a nice contrast to the sweetness of the sauce. Overall it was probably one of the best lamb dishes I’ve had in a long time. Don’t be shy and make sure you take each lamb chop into your hands and get every last morsel off of it!
Roasted Free Range Chicken: I am not usually very excited whenever I see roasted chicken on a menu. Often times I have found it to be a very boring dish with many places serving it quite dry and with hardly any flavor. However lately I have had several encounters with really delicious roasted chicken and Juventino is definitely going on that list. First of all the presentation is quite lovely to say the least. A piece of roasted chicken laying on top of what one might even call, from a distance, sushi rolls. Fear not because it’s definitely not sushi but additional chicken that reminded me a little of chicken rollatini. The chicken was prepared in a very interesting style called sous vide. This cooking technique involves placing the seasonsed chicken into a vacuum sealed plastic pouch and cooking it slowly at low temperatures. The result was a piece of chicken that was succulent and juicy. The flavor and seasonings had penetrated the meat completely so each bite was tender and delicious but the flavor definitely did not end there because accompanying this bird was a white truffle honey sauce. Lightly sweet and simply OMG! The roasted veggies were divine in that sauce as well. It was so good that I even had to dip a piece of my lamb into it. So much for standard boring roasted chicken! Fantastic and highly recommended.
Creme Brulee: I used to be a creme brulee fanatic many years ago. Eventually I had eaten so much of it that I got bored with it and eventually stopped ordering it altogether but once in a while I will give another go. I have to say that this was an above average creme brulee. I don’t like creme brulee that’s served at room temperature or even cool. It should be served hot to warm and it should have a smooth, creamy, and very rich consistency. This creme brulee definitely met all of that criteria with flying colors. It was rich and buttery goodness that I would easily recommend to any fan of creme brulee.
Black Sesame Bar with Dark Chocolate: From black sesame bubble tea to halva, I really enjoyed sesame based desserts. They are usually dense and very sweet so it’s no wonder I was intrigued by the dessert offering at Juventino. The Black Sesame Bar has a nice brownie-like consistency. It was sweet but not as sweet as other sesame desserts I have had before. A bit of orange marmalade on top adds a nice little bittersweet tang. What really makes it yummy is when you add some of that creamy chocolate to it. The combination is delicious even though I am not a fan of dark chocolate.
I am so glad that I finally made my way to Juventino! It’s a beautiful space that reminds me of some restaurants in Cape Cod. Although we sat inside because it was a blistering hot evening, Juventino has a wonderful outdoor space which is just as beautiful as the inside area. The food (minus the crazy salad) was excellent. The large oyster selection was an added bonus as well. There is no doubt in my mind that I will return for another dinner or perhaps try their brunch. If nothing else go to Juventino, sit outside, have many oysters, and have many drinks.
Dinner at Dizzy’s
So clearly I could not stay away from Dizzy’s for very long. I have been constantly eating brunch at Dizzy’s so I was curious to find out what kind of goodies they had for dinner. So let’s get right to it, shall we!
BBQ Ribs: We started things off with an appetizer of BBQ Ribs. Right away I was pretty certain that I would enjoy these ribs because I prefer saucy ribs as opposed to dry rub ribs. It didn’t take long to confirm my thoughts. The ribs were great! They were very soft and tender, covered in a sweet yet slightly tangy BBQ sauce. I could be wrong but for some reason I thought there was a slight sprinkle of parmesan cheese on these ribs. All in all they were quite tasty but because this was only an appetizer, the portion was small. I would gladly vote to make these ribs into an entree.
Fried Chicken: It’s very difficult for me to pass up on fried chicken when I see it on the menu. I’ve had fried chicken in many places. Some good and some not so good so of course I needed to know how Dizzy’s chicken stood up to the rest. The chicken was served with a small portion of cheesy grits as well as a portion of buttered peas and carrots. The chicken looked very crispy and I definitely like that. I took my first bite from a piece of wing and let me tell you the chicken had some serious crunch to it. The skin was crisp and flavorful however I was then quickly disappointed because once I got passed the crust, the meat itself was lacking any flavor. I think a good fried chicken consists of great flavor not only on the outside but most certainly cooked deep into the meat as well. So Dizzy’s fried chicken was ok. It wasn’t great though. As for the cheesy grits and veggies: ehhhh. No matter! Like I always say you cannot judge a place by a single dish and I knew we had more stuff on the way.
Tofu Curry: All I can say about this is: solid. A good healthy alternative. Not really spicy yet sweet from the cooked peppers. I’ve had better curry of course but I could easily see myself ordering this dish at Dizzy’s.
Pulled Pork Sandwich: Mmmm! Sweet, delicious, tender pulled pork in a wonderful sweet broth. Piled high with a crisp and tasty layer of slaw. Alongside the sandwich were some of the best hush puppies I’ve ever had. Thumbs up for this dish!
Chocolate Cake: Obviously I need to have dessert! I’ve had pies at Dizzy’s before and they were ok so this time opted for the chocolate cake instead. That turned out to be a great call! This cake was super moist and very rich and chocolatey. Fresh and delicious, especially with a nice cup of Dizzy’s excellent coffee.
Well as you can see I wasn’t thrilled about every single thing we had but so what! Not everything has to always be super fantastic to make a place great. The ribs and the pulled pork sandwich will definitely make me come back for dinner or just to stop by for a slice of that awesome chocolate cake with a cup of coffee.