“Colonie“, the much anticipated “locavore” restaurant at 127 Atlantic Avenue (the long-empty “Petite Crevette” space), and noted for using Kickstarter for its initial funding, had its soft opening last night. The doors opened at 6 PM and when I walked in at 7:30, the place was packed. A “friends and family” cocktail party had been thrown last night, but Tamer Hamawi, one of the co-owners said nobody had expected the crowd that showed up Friday evening.
The space is designed to be open and “woody” with muted lighting and candles (note: hard to read menus this way). Notable features include a live fern wall in the middle of the room and an open kitchen with bar seating to watch the show. The menu is a small but well-executed selection of new American and Italian dishes with locally sourced and sustainable products. The wine list includes several NYS wine choices as well as a selection decanted straight from the barrel. While service was understandably slow (but attention to water glasses and napkins never faltered), the food delivered was excellent – rich in flavor without being overly complicated. My wife and I enjoyed a sweet ricotta cheese crostini, skirt stake with delicious winter greens and creamed potatoes, pork chop with mustard apple sauce and buckwheat spaetzle, and a spiced chocolate torte with brown butter ice cream for dessert. Neighboring diners recommended the roasted maitake mushrooms and fried brussels sprouts with cranberries and bacon. A few items are still missing (the meats for the charcuterie option are “still being cured”, and there are after-dinner drinks but no coffee or tea with dessert) but shouldn’t be hard to fill in.
Colonie is refreshing in that it brings all the ambiance and food quality of a Manhattan (or at least a Smith Street) bistro to the somewhat stodgy dining atmosphere in Brooklyn Heights. One they work out the kinks, this should be a sterling addition to the neighborhood.