Who would have guessed that an Argentina-born Queens resident would become such a pioneer of Italian food in Brooklyn?
Andres Rodas, co-owner of the nine-year-old Carroll Garden’s staple, Fragole, and the one-year-old Windsor Terrace risotto takeaway spot, Piccoli, is now drawing raves for his warm and welcoming Piccoli Trattoria, an intimate Italian dinner option on the corner of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue in Park Slope.
“Many people don’t know this, but the majority of the population of people living in Argentina are actually from Italy and Spain,” said Rodas. “If you go to any restaurant, pasta is half the menu. And every neighborhood has two or three stores that sell fresh pasta, with lines out the door every Sunday.”
That makes it a safe bet to go for the noodles at Piccoli Trattoria, which are made in-house each day. Dishes like pappardelle with honey-braised short rib ragu and fettuccini with wild mushrooms and five-hour braised rabbit (both $15.95) are exercises in rustic elegance — as well as down-home flavor.
You also can’t go wrong with a plate of the creamy risotto, made famous at Piccoli’s Windsor Terrace sibling, or even a salad — hardly rabbit-food fare.
Top marks go to a toss of shaved brussels sprouts, marcona almonds, pecorino and meyer lemon dressing ($8.95); and a deceptively simple but intensely flavorful mélange of roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, Buffalo mozzarella and butter/balsamic vinaigrette ($9.95).
And although the food may not be as recognizably Argentinean as empanadas or carne asada, Rodas hopes to best distinguish his trattoria with a liberal dose of South American hospitality.
“One of the things that shocked me when I first moved here from Argentina and began work at high-end restaurants, is that they try to pull you in and then push you out the door,” Rodas said.
“We want this to be a community — a place where people come, chat with the people at the table next to them, share their wine,” he continued. “We welcome you here. Our customers are like friends.”
Piccoli Trattoria [522 Sixth Ave. between 13th Street and Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 788-0066].
Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8309.