February 23, 2009

Pane E Vino

Pane E Vino was, quite honestly, not our first choice. As you may have guessed, it was my birthday, and Jennifer and I were meeting up with my aunt, uncle and cousin to eat brunch. We were going for Cafe Luluc for some pancakes, but it was packed, so we wandered up the street a bit and found this place. The decor is a little unusual, with chandeliers and lounge seating up front, but they have a large covered garden space in the back where we were seated.

The menu offered several standard brunch options and some pretty basic Italian fare. It was a nice brunch deal: $10.50 for an entree and a standard alcoholic brunch drink or coffee/tea. Jennifer and I did what we do best-- ordered two things and split them. I ordered the veggie omelette, which came with a few potatoes, and she ordered the french toast which came with strawberries (there was the option of fruit or meat) and a small side salad.

The blob on top of the omelette below was mozzerella, and overall it was pretty tasty. I liked the julianned veggies mixed in, and the potatoes here are mysteriously delicious. I'm not sure that there's anything special about them, but they taste so good. The french toast was the standout this time, just the right texture and flavorful enough on it's own.

The service was attentive, but not overly friendly. We had at least 4 people at our table taking orders, bringing food and bussing, so it was a little confusing. They did notice my inconspicuous birthday hat, though, and brought be a free tiramisu with a candle. I'd come back for some standard brunch fare while other places are over crowded, especially for the french toast. -Laurel

You always take a chance at a place that has an Italian name, but Greek/American confusing decor and a waiting area reminiscent of your grandmother's sitting room.  However, the deal sounded good, and of course, we're always up to try new things - especially when we're drunk or starving (we were starving in this instance). 

Luckily, the food was better than the deal. The omelet was delicious. I always take a chance with veggies, without knowing for sure what veggies are in it, but this was perfect. And the buffalo mozzarella on top was the perfect addition to the already tasty on its own eggs. The potatoes were amazing, definitely. Cooked to perfection - not too soft and not too hard, something that brunch places seem to have a hard time with. You don't want your fork to sink right into your potatoes, or have to try too hard to cut them. And they were slightly crunchy. The french toast was soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. The strawberries were fresh and absolutely yummy. 

The staff was sweet to give Laurel tiramisu pudding, and it was the perfect combination of a cinnamon light bottom and a creamy middle. I was absolutely full or I would have stolen it from her birthday hands. She was nice enough to let me have two bites though. 

This place taught me to not be afraid of unknown brunch places...however, I've been to enough terrible places to know that you should at least be careful. As long as the place is a good value, you won't be pissed when it's gross. But if it's a good value, it's more likely to be gross...  -Jennifer

Address: 174 Smith St (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

Payment: Cash, Cards

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Midnight on weekends

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Full bar, brunch specials

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