Archive for December 15th, 2011

15th December
written by Arthur

While it seems like every two or three months a new restaurant pops-up in the South Slope–in a former bodega here, in a defunct shoe store there–8th Avenue is still by and large a culinary waste land.  So I was excited to see a restaurant in the works just two blocks from my apartment and waited with anticipation as it filled in a store front that has been vacant since I moved in to the neighborhood well over a year ago.

Then, one morning, on my way to the train, I saw that Giovanni’s Brooklyn Eats, complete with its shinny new neon sign, was open.  I excitedly grabbed a menu.  As I walked my excitement grew when I realized this new establishment was sporting a prefix brunch menu with all you can drink mimosas or bloody marrys.  But I could swear I’d seen it before.  As I scanned I realized that the menu was the same as Sette’s.  The same Sette at which I had a uniquely disappointing brunch experience several months ago.  Some internet researching revealed that this is in fact a reincarnation of the now closed Sette.

But this last weekend I was on the hunt for a brunch spot and thought I would give this Sette 2.0 a second chance.  It won’t be getting a third.  Giovanni’s presents a charming modern rustic interior.  But, as with the food, the appearance is where my appreciation ends.

As with Sette, the brunch food at Giovanni’s is remarkable only for its ability pack so little flavor into a beautifully presented plate.  I again tried the eggs Benedict.  This is a basic brunch dish, if it’s wrong it’s usually a sign the rest of menu will struggle.  None of the previous problems with this dish are solved in the new location.  The Hollandaise sauce is nothing more than a smear of orange on top of an admittedly well poached egg.  The ham acts as a salty condom ensuring that the delicious egg yolk  and sparse sauce doesn’t accidentally contact the hard bread base.  Though I did managed to get enough liquid under the ham to make one piece of bread edible.

The uovo al forno, an oven baked egg over polenta, tomato, and riccatt, was an uninspired, greasy, salty disappointment. Both who ordered this dish received over cooked eggs.  The real problem is that the tomato presented no flavor or freshness and nor did any other element to the dish.

On my visit to Sette I ran into serious server troubles–some of the worst service I’ve even encountered.  And, while the service was better at Giovanni’s, it still leaves much to be desire.  Our server wasn’t hostile or evasive, but it did at times take significant work to grab his attention and he never checked in on the table of his own accord.  My biggest disappointment was that, on exiting, I saw a sign outside describing the brunch and listing free coffee or tea as an element.  A fact that our server neglected to mention to this poor caffeine addicted soul.

I had strong hopes for Giovanni’s.  Nothing would make me happier than having an awesome brunch place such a lazy distance from my front door.  But it looks like the brunch gods want me to travel far and walk off my morning indulgences.