5 Things Bevacco And New Executive Chef Gabriele Corcos Can Learn From Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Long time BHB readers may recall that we predicted here in 2007 that the North Heights was poised to become a culinary hot spot. So, with the the debut of Gabriele Corcos at Bevacco Friday night and with the opening of Sociale two blocks down Henry Street planned for Monday (7/29) it’s hard not to be amped up about that “vision” becoming reality.

Despite our unbridled enthusiasm about his arrival, our experience at Bevacco Friday night for Corcos’ debut as Executive Chef was less than spectacular. The food and new menu (which didn’t feel that new or different) is unremarkable comparatively speaking to, say, fellow TV chef Elizabeth Falkner’s run at Atlantic Avenue’s Krescendo. We’ll give Corcos a mulligan on that one considering he’s relatively new to the restaurant business.

Also of note is the revised drinks menu which shows much promise. That said, even a casual fan of Extra Virgin, the Cooking Channel show Corcos hosts with actress wife Debi Mazar, can feel that his creativity was a bit restrained on Night 1.

Yes, it was Corcos’ first night and a new beginning for the eatery housed at the perpetually cursed “Corner of Cranberry” but the long standing issue of slow, aloof and unorganized service that has plagued Bevacco since its opening continues to be its Achilles heel. While we found our meal to be competent – like dinner at foodie friend’s house – whatever satisfaction the food and drink provided was undermined by the usual crazy quilt of service at the eatery. And it wasn’t just us, the table next to us received a bottle of hot white wine. When they mentioned this to their server the reply was essentially, “we don’t usually serve cold bottles of wine.”

The high profile Corcos did pop out of the kitchen to greet diners but from our perspective he appeared to ignore those he didn’t seem to know or to think were important. Most restaurants soft open for “Friends and Family” before opening to the general public but if you’re allowing regular punters (like us!) to dine on Opening Night then everyone should be treated like “Friends and Family.”

For example when our final drink order hadn’t arrived for over 20 minutes and our check was dropped and charging for those still undelivered drinks, Corcos bounded towards us with two limoncellos (the order we’d place and were still waiting for) in hand. That’s enough for us and most folks – famous chef or not – to salve even the worst episode of bad service. That is, unless the chef actually drops those drinks at another table he’d been hobnobbing with all night. That made us wonder if our food had been contaminated with some sort of Tuscan invisibility potion. (File under: Yes, Pete Wells has a point.) To be fair, the warm white wine table did get a selfie with Mazar – but it’s unclear whether they’re friends IRL.

All this aside, a celebrity chef holding court every night on Henry Street should and can be a great thing for Brooklyn Heights. And while our first experience under this new regime totally bummed us out, we’re holding out hope that Bevacco will rise above these issues.

It’s times like these we wonder – What Would Gordon Ramsay Say?

1) Fix The Problems, Find A Leader.

As Ramsay told the owners of “Grasshopper Also“, “This restaurant will not succeed unless you make the necessary staff changes.” In his monologue, Ramsay adds the the eatery had everything it needed to succeed except a “leader.”

2) Get Out Of Denial. Ramsay tells Allan Love, the recalcitrant owner of Ruby Tates Loves Fish that the “quicker you get out of denial, the quicker we can work together.” Remember folks, it takes team work to make the dream work.

3) Communication Is Key. Transparency, respect and honesty may not always be a joy ride but it’ll make for a more productive restaurant. At Seascape, the owner and chef didn’t speak to each other.

4) Overpriced And Underwhelming Is No Way To Run A Restaurant. At Rococo, Ramsay railed against its pretentious food and “f*&^ing ridiculous prices”. After we dropped a double C-note for our experience at Bevacco this is particularly relevant.

5) Super-Serve The Locals. “When running a restaurant in Spain, don’t piss off the locals,” Ramsay says in the episode featuring La Parra. After a disastrous catering event for a local charity, the restaurant had a hard time convincing area residents to dine there. They never recovered from that mistake. The Brooklyn Heights restaurants that do well in the area know this and all have strong list of regulars – Noodle Pudding, Henry’s End, Jack the Horse, Armando’s, River Deli, Colonie and a few others are great examples. Put simply, showbiz friends, unless they live in the area, will not carry the business beyond relaunch.

BONUS TIP: Whatever You Do, Don’t Act Like Amy’s Baking Company.

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  • Chi Sono? Indovina!!!

    I beg to differ. I was at Bevacco on Friday night and had a lovely time. I do not have an air of importance about me but Gabrielle saw fit to not only come by our table but to actually sit down and chat with us for an extended period. I like the new menu although it is not dramatically different. If you do not want to drive away your regulars, you need to make changes gradually.

    Our food was delicious and our service was very good. Our waiter was knowledgeable about the preparation of the food and was more than attentive to my allergies. He alerted the kitchen that nothing should be delivered to my table that had come in contact with my allergens.

    I did warn Gabrielle about the attitude of the people in the Heights. They get upset about trivialities but no one went out to fight to keep our only hospital here.

    I wish Gabrielle and his staff success.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Glad your experience was different that ours. We had no expectations other than to have dinner, check out the scene and go home. Having an additional hour added to the experience because of slow service (which has happened BEFORE prior to Mr. Corcos’ arrival) was not so great.

  • Kc

    This is my write up on yelp! Bad,bad, bad!  Literally just eaten here, or had a few bites of the food as was so bad didn’t actually eat it!  The carbonara was the driest pasta dish I have ever eaten and cold.  The place at 2pm on a Sunday was empty, and I mean totally empty.  4 of us had  2 starter 3 pasta dishes 1 burger 2 deserts and 7 drinks, bill was $200!! And they had already given themselves a $30 tip, for none existent service and very very poor food.  The cheese anti pasti was sweaty and dry (if that makes sense).  The creme brûlée desert was disgusting whoever made it should never make it again.  It had sunk (how?) and had also split, so was a congealed cold mess, yuk!  I live locally and had heard there was a new chef (I’ve eaten here a few times and never had a really bad meal) so thought I’d give it another go.  Let’s just hope the new chef wasn’t doing this shift, because if he was there is no hope of this place staying open!  Unfortunately even if he wasnt I won’t be going there again, just left an empty place in both my stomach and wallet!

  • Nancy

    I enjoyed reading your review of Bevacco until I read your snide comments about the attitude of Brooklyn Heights residents. For your information, many residents have been actively supporting LICH, including myself. We have been attending demonstrations and organizing with our political leaders to keep our hospital open.

  • Chi Sono? Indovina!!!

    Nancy, sorry if I insulted you. I know that some people have been supporting LICH but, unfortunately, not enough. When I turned up for the first demonstration on a Monday night, there was not another soul in sight. Perhaps I should not have linked the two but so many are so quick to carp on trivialities and let the important things slide. Thank you for your efforts in support of LICH.

  • Jazz


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton


  • Nancy

    Thank you for your conditional apology. It seems to me that you are the one carping on trivialities in order to invalidate someone else’s bad review of Bevacco.

  • S.T.O.R.P.

    I like Bevacco! I have always enjoyed the food and the service was always pleasant and efficient- except for once. And when we brought it to the attention of the management, we received an apology, a discount and a complimentary glass of wine.

    I went to Bevacco on Friday because I am a fan of Gabriele Corcos and his passion for food, family and life and I wanted to lend my support for his new endeavor.

    When we arrived, we were greeted cordially. Water glasses were promptly filled and the menus were produced. Our waiter was very knowledgeable as to the menu, ingredients and preperation of the food. He recomended a wonderful wine. Each course was served with care allowing a pleasurable amount of time to savor each dish.

    I was honored when Gabrielle came and sat at the table. We had a nice conversation and I “fell in love”! I had the porchetta and it (as well as all its accompaniments) was fabulous! This is a perfect new addition to the menu.

    I wish Gabriele well and thank him for bringing his passion to Brooklyn Heights.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Great to see many ‘first time’ commenters coming out to support Bevacco.

  • MonroeOrange

    2pm on sunday usually doesn’t get the executive chef…but then again, the food should be good anytime.

  • SthrngrlnBklyn

    I went to Bevacco Friday night as well, hoping for a better experience than the last few times I’ve dined there(which were lackluster to say the least) but obviously prepared for it to be less than perfect on opening night. I was pleasantly surprised, despite the typical new-restaurant opening night hiccups. Yes, it took longer than it should have for the waitress to get our drink order. The service definitely would have benefited from a soft open to work out the kinks. However, once the orders were taken (there were 5 of us) and the food came out, there was simply nothing to complain about. I had the Giulia salad and the pappardelle with duck ragu. Simple, clean, fantastic. Everyone else at my table thoroughly enjoyed their dishes as well – the gazpacho got rave reviews.
    I do not know either Gabriele Corcos or his wife, except from seeing their show Extra Virgin a few times. They were both exceedingly nice. Chef Corcos stopped at our table twice to check on us. After a request to take a picture with our table, Debi Mazar sat down with us, asked us our names, and chatted with us for several minutes in addition to posing for a picture.
    I, for one, welcome these new neighbors. It’s sad that people assume that a restaurant will be perfect on the first night it opens. Those people clearly have never been in the restaurant business or know anyone who has. I can already see a vast improvement in the quality of the food and hopefully the front of the house will follow suit. I wish them well and hope that everyone else will give them a chance, and not judge them quite so harshly on their very first night. Food critics typically wait a few weeks after a restarant opens to pass judgment, and it’s clear why.

  • EJ

    No one can escape the IP logs!
    Gabby, get off the internet and back into the kitchen!

  • BrooklynBugle

    Welcome first time commenter! If you read the review above, you’d see that we too are bullish about the changes at Bevacco. As for “judging so harshly”, the restaurant has been open for over a year – the one thing they should have right by now is running the front of the house.

  • Keith Klein

    My 2nd Yelp review: (First one focused on great job on decor, ok food and dismal service.)
    Here is an update 6 months later. It appears that the owners did not take my original review to heart. Several weeks ago, I had an experience at Bevacco that was simply not to be believed. Here the place sits mostly empty all during the week. On this particular Friday night it was actually about 2/3 full. 2/3 full mind you. Not people waiting out the door. We only came here because Noodle Pudding, Henry’s End and Siggy’s all had long waits. I am guessing this is how they get most of their clientele. When I told the host we were two for dinner he said, “we can’t seat you right now unless you don’t mind having drinks and waiting about 45 minutes for your entrees. The kitchen is a little backed up. WHAT??? I looked at him in shock and said, “but the place isn’t even full” and all he could muster up was “I’m sorry. We are just a little behind.” So here they finally have a busy night and they can’t even handle it. That’s because they can’t even handle it when you’re one of maybe a dozen customers in the entire restuarant. I’m afraid Bevacco is not long for this world. When Sociale opens up the block, that will be the nail in the coffin. What a shame.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    That location is cursed. Nothing lasts there.

  • Joe A

    Sock puppet

  • Joe A

    Sock puppet. You lost all credibility now that we know that you wrote two glowing reviews under different screen names. So how are you related to the chef? I’m guessing brother-in-law.

  • Joe A

    Here is a photo of S.T.O.R.P. enjoying his fish entree at Bevacco’s

  • Chi Sono? Indovina!!!


    I can assure you that STORP and I are NOT the same person…although we are very close (Yes, we share a WiFi).

    Neither of us is Gabby (Gabriele) nor related to him or any of his business interests.

    We are just two individuals who ate at Bevacco and had a nice time.

    I have said all I care to say on this topic so, as Omar Khayyam said: The moving finger writes and having writ moves on.

  • DIBS

    I pretty much always sit at the bar. I’ve never had bad service, even with timing and delicvery of the food.

    I will want o see if they have taken my favotite appetizer off the menu ort altered it…the burattini with prosciutto, which was excellent. I think the substituted tomatoes which, as we all know, are rarely as good in a restaurant as you get anywhere else in the summer. I also think the veal raviolli that they frequently had is excellent. The chees one wasn’t so much.

    I did have dinner there a week ago when the menu was already in transition. The baccola cod quenelles were truly spectacular and I hope they keep them. I think I was sitting next to the one of the sous chefs

    I’ll be back in about two weeks and look forward to checking it out.

  • EJ

    Please don’t yell at me. I’ll only believe you when a photo is posted – you holding a Chi Sono sign, and STORP holding a sign saying STORP.

    Also, learn how the internet works. Sharing wifi would not give the same IP address.

  • Kitten

    I sat at the bar this past week and was disappointed with service- as a restaurant manager and veteran of biz, they clearly need some real management leadership & possibly new hiring. Staff seems to be left on their own a bit. In fairness, they have only JUST taken over so they should be given a little lenience. The bartender did not know what some menu items were, forgot to order something, was lackadaisical about taking drink orders (we had to ask for everything) and then when it came time to order dessert (after having had dinner at bar) we were told ‘sorry the kitchen is closed now and it’s last call’ despite the fact we already had been given a dessert menu and it had just become 12:00 the closing time.
    We then felt unwelcome and rushed to leave which cut short time with my friends that were traveling.
    A restaurant needs to let customers who have already eaten an opportunity to order dessert and time to finish their current drinks and then possibly a last call. This will not keep staff too late and kitchen should be prepared for this, again not keeping these guys too late either. It’s part of hospitality and good service.
    However, there ARE growing pains and adjustments that take time so I do believe these issues will be rectified. I do plan to go back but with a little trepidation. And not close to closing time fearing I’d be kicked out!

  • MonroeOrange

    Su Su Yum Yum, had a very long run there..bring them back and their truck!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Correct, Su Su’s was there for about 20 years before they moved to Columbia St sometime in the mid 90’s. They closed there a few years ago, but they still might own Jake’s BBQ, which they started.
    No, not before my time MO, I’ve been here since 62.

  • MonroeOrange

    but yes i agree with you…Su Su was only thing that could last there, in the good old days of the heights ;)