It seems you can’t swing a dead cat in Brooklyn these days without hitting a neighborhood in the midst of gentrification…or, at least that’s what the NY news sites are saying, ad nauseum. It does seem, however, like people are being priced out of previously affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods and spreading out across the great expanse that is this borough in search of cheaper pastures.
Many complain that their neighborhoods were fine the way they were. Others welcome the restaurants, shops and overall shot in the arm that comes with an influx of new residents. I haven’t been a NY resident long enough to call any part of it my own, or have any strong feelings about changing neighborhoods. I do, however, have strong feelings about good restaurants and if these gentrified neighborhoods are where they’re setting up shop I must say, gentrify away!
Until I read about The Castello Plan I didn’t have much reason to visit Ditmas Park. Near the top of the NY Times gentrification list, this cute neighborhood is a bit off the beaten path for many. Aside from gazing at the lovely houses with ample yards or shopping at the ridiculously expensive food co-op there wasn’t much to draw me in. The Castello Plan, however, called my name like a siren song.
Keep your eyes peeled or you may miss this place altogether. There is a teeny, tiny sign out front of this unassuming storefront, but when you peek through the windows the dark wood and romantic lighting pulls you in.
The menu is small, much like the establishment itself. But also like the restaurant, the menu is warm, inviting and unpretentious. Everything is under $20. The wine list is great although not especially cheap. The bottled beer list is nice and they feature one draft that, on the night I was there, was lovely.
This is a drink and nibble type restaurant. What they’re doing isn’t exactly tapas, but then again they’re also not sending out mountains of food. Get a few small plates then order an entrée per person and you should be satisfied.
We ordered the anchovies to start and I highly recommend them. If you don’t think you’re an anchovy lover give these a try. Anchovies, when done right like they were here, can be a real treat.
My scallops were cooked to perfection. There wasn’t an abundance of them on my plate but again, it was under $20 and came with some lovely sides of braised greens, a puree and a fritter of sorts. The hubby’s fish was delicate and delicious.
It’s the perfect spot for a date. The ambiance almost couldn’t be better. The prices are reasonable (although if your date has a fondness for fine wine be prepared to shell out some dough). It should be noted that our anchovies came out with our main courses so you might want to specifically mention you’re ordering something as a starter if you’d like it to come out in that type of order. There is a reasonable amount of seating inside considering the size of the establishment, but if you wait a few weeks you can dine al fresco on the cute little patio.
I can’t say for sure if a restaurant like this would open in a neighborhood that wasn’t considered by many to be in a state of gentrification. I can say, however, that it’s a welcome addition to the area.
P.S. Check out their amazing specials. Monday nights are all you can eat mussels for $10!