This is Rucola, a small, new, very sweet little Northern Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, where I dined last weekend. We passed by, it looked inviting, and in we went. Not a single click on any hand-held device to see what anyone else was thinking about it.
We ate so well! Warm cauliflower salad with grapes and pumpkin seeds was so complex, we wondered how they thought of it. Bronzino crudo, very thinly sliced raw fish with pickled green tomatoes and toasted sunflower seeds, and lots of good olive oil, was divine. I'd never eaten anything as simple as my homemade rigatoni with Bolognese, a meaty sauce that had no tomatoes, lots of flavor, and managed to be light. A pork shank, off the bone, juicy inside, crusty on top, sitting on a bed of polenta, was unadorned and exceptional.
Rucola is Italian for arugula. The restaurant is owned by a team who has put in many hours in fine Manhattan eateries. They don't take reservations so everyone in the neighborhood can wander in. We saw several tables filled with three-generation families. If it were in my neighborhood, I would go often.
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.