So this Monday when you’re thinking you and your friends or extended family might want to have your own pre-Thanksgiving meal that will leave you feeling satisfied, leave the Turkey behind and go to Fitzcarraldo. Fitzcarraldo is located on 195 Morgan Avenue. Bushwick Daily did not pay for any of the dishes sampled, described, and pictured here, but gladly would have since they were so delicous!
There’s a myth about vegetarian food: that it can’t be filling, it can’t be hearty, and it will never completely satisfy you. Fitzcarraldo busts this myth once a week for us with Meatless Mondays. Every Monday, this Morgan Avenue’s rustic Northern Italian restaurant celebrates all that’s green and grainy with a custom meatless menu. Chef Justin Bernstein who works at Fitzcarraldo alongside the Executive Chef Vini Campos told us that he picks up fresh produce every day and the restaurant even grows some herbs on the roof of the building. This focus on market-fresh vegetables was one reason they wanted to craft meatless meals one night a week. And the result is damn good. But be warned! Because the menu depends on what’s seasonal and at the market (as well as what inspires the chef), some of the things reviewed here are subject to change. But this is actually totally cool, because it means every Meatless Monday is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience every time you go.
I started with the Fonduta ($16): a comforting dish made with goat’s milk blu cheese, fresh beans and barley. Needless to say the Fonduta is very rich in flavor and quite a large portion, making it ideal the ideal dip to split with friends. The bread that comes with it has crispy edges but soft insides to sponge up the flavor.
While getting started, Fitzcarraldo’s general manager Carissa Clay made me a new wintery cocktail called the Juniper in Noce ($11). It was crafted with a black walnut bitters and maple syrup whose sweet overtone blended nicely with the drink’s strength. Don’t be fooled! The Periclose is stiff, but smooth, making it a little too easy to guzzle on a cold night… if ya know what I mean.
Next came the Farro Salad ($13), comprised of seasonal greens and black mission figs poached in balsamic vinegar. I don’t typically order salads at restaurants because they’re always such a wild card and often not very filling, but the abundance of green, grains and cheese, and sheer size of the portion was satisfying and could certainly be considered a meal in itself.
Next was the Orecchiette ($12), what I may say was my favorite dish of them all! Because the black pepper and Pecorino (a tangy sheep’s milk cheese), is coarsely grated each bite is a surprise. The flavors are simple but not subtle and shout at you with their sharpness in a way that can’t be missed. This one is for those who like decedent and daring dishes.
Carissa then made Fitzcarraldo’s most popular cocktail: The Morgan Mule ($11). Mezcal is mixed with ginger syrup and lime. This complex drink manages to be sweet, herbal but most of all, smokey. The unusual blend makes The Morgan Mule unforgivingly tough and refreshing all at once.
Chef Bernstein then served me his favorite dish: The Brussels Sprouts Salad with rosé wine vinegar ($13) which are accompanied with empire apples, brown butter and rose vinegar. The brussel sprouts themselves are tender and nicely offset by the crispy, lush constistency of the apples. The greens atop offer an alternative texture that playfully surprises the palate. The portion they generally serve is also much larger than the tasting sample pictured here.
The final drink to follow was the Alpine Shady ($8), a play on a classic shandy with the added winter twist of Zirbenz Pine Liquor. This beer-based cocktail uses seasonal brews and is served with the surprise of two maraschino cherries at the bottom.
For dessert, the chef recommended the Caramelized white chocolate pudding ($6). Its creamy texture is contrasted with the welcomed addition of walnuts and sea salt dispersed throughout. After eating salty, buttery, cheesy and greeny dishes, sugar was most certainly welcomed!