Photos courtesy of Barano
The gist: Italian restaurant Barano opened on Friday in South Williamsburg, a seasonal venue focused on pastas, pizzas, house-pulled mozzarella and all kinds of South Italian fare. Chef/owner Albert Di Meglio (Le Cirque, Osteria Del Circo, Rubirosa) has anchored the menu with meats and fish coming out of the visible wood-fired grill, as well as more carb-loaded offerings found in traditional trattorias.
The food: Start with hand-pulled mozzarella in several varieties, including salted, smoked, and stracciatella. The cheese is served with accoutrements — grilled scallions, eggplant, Lucky's tomatoes and more — and makes an excellent addition to other starters like meatballs with sheep's milk ricotta and octopus with farro, celery, pickled radish, pine nuts and mint pesto. Housemade pastas range from bucatini with rabbit ragu (shown above) to tagliatelle "arrabbiata" with lobster, tomato and stracciatella. Wood-fired pizzas include sauces from red to white, but don't miss the wood-fired mains — especially the spit-roasted lamb leg with carrots, watercress, pine nut and raisin panzanella. End your meal with ice cream from OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
The drinks: Helmed by general manager Ben Kaufman, Barano focuses not only on Italian wines, but also on six rotating draft beers from Italy, Brooklyn and around the world. Those looking to stay on the nonalcoholic side of things can order a housemade soda with flavors ranging from espresso cream soda to ginger grapefruit (shown above) to orange fennel.
The space: Located opposite the Williamsburg Bridge, the 89-seat restaurant self-describes as quintessentially Brooklyn while maintaining the feeling of a classic Italian trattoria. Imagine: red leather booths, hand-painted tiles and reclaimed materials (including oak flooring from a 1928 English tudor mountain). 13-seats surround the marble bar, and a 12-seat semi-private dining area gives guests a view of the open kitchen.