Monday, September 17, 2007

Al di La Vino

We saw King Lear at BAM with Nicolas and Muriel last Saturday. It was a really great production. I didn't like the audience, though. They laughed at awkward times. How is "Her voice was ever soft,/ gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman" funny considering that Lear is in extreme despair and holding the dead Cordelia in his arms? And they were so restless. Lots of loud coughing throughout, and the hipster guy next to me was leaning forward for the majority of the performance and kept stroking his scraggly beard in a fidgety, non-contemplative sort of way. I'm not sure he had any idea what was going on, and I guess he wanted me to know that while invading my field of view.

Anyway, even though his star power attracted people who are indifferent to Shakespeare, or plays in general, it was totally worth going to see Ian McKellan as Lear. His performance in the final act was even more affecting than we expected it to be. And Mabel was floored by the opening sequence with the loud organ music and Lear effectively consecrating the proceedings. We are going to remember this performance for a long time.

After the play, Mabel and I met up with her brother Ben. We went to Al di La.

Susie suggested this place a few weeks ago when Crystal was in town, and I had been wanting to give it a try ever since. I didn't know the name of it. All I knew was that it was a Northern Italian restaurant and on 5th Ave, but I thought, 'How hard could it be to find?'

After 20 minutes of walking I called Susie, and she led me to the place. We were looking to eat at Al di La Trattoria, but there were 50 people on the list in front of us. They offered us an hour wait to get a table at their annex, Al di La Vino, and we took it.

They use the same kitchen and presumably the menu was the same. We got a bottle of wine and some cheese while we were waiting. I think we got a table after 40 minutes.

We shared Beef Carpaccio and Squid salad to start. I really liked the squid. It was cooked just right. Mabel thought the salad was overdressed. It seemed like we might have gotten the waxy rind of the cheese sliced onto our carpaccio, but otherwise it was fine.

For the primi, Ben got Linguine with Clams, Mabel got Tagliatelle Ragu, and I got Sweet Corn Ravioli. My ravioli was really awesome.

For the segundi, Ben got Calf Liver. He had never tried it before, but was always curious and wanted to give it a try. It's great having a truly adventurous eater in the family. Mabel and I chickened out and split a Hanger Steak, also planning to share with Ben if the Calf Liver experiment went awry. We all tried some of the liver. It was good, but I could only eat a bite of it. There is no way I could finish a portion on my own. I guess I'm not a liver guy. I think everyone felt the same way.

The food and wine was decent, the service was polite and upbeat, it wasn't too loud, and all that enabled great conversation. A good time was had by all.

Al di La Vino
607 Carroll St (at 5th Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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