February 18, 2008 | Insatiable Critic

A Flower Blooms in Brooklyn

Zucchini cushioned on truffled robbiolo makes a fine grilled pizza.  Photo: Steven Richter
Zucchini cushioned on truffled robbiolo makes a fine grilled pizza. Photo: Steven Richter

        The going-home traffic is gone and in no time at all we zoom over the Williamsburg Bridge to the charmingly rustic Fiore with its spiffy service, flea market treasures and enticing Italian home cooking.

        Warming up on a wintry night  over a bottle of Mt. Veeder Cabernet, the six of us share the excellent grilled pizzas, all of them: Bianca with cheese and prosciutto, a peppery two cheese pie, and the house’s namesake, paved with zucchini and perfumed with truffled robiolo cheese. Then it’s on to a voluptuously runny burrata, a mound of fried calamaretti and zucchini, and a salad that mixes roasted butternut squash, raddichio, walnuts and pecorino – enough to share.        

A big and tasty bird for just $12 is a Brooklyn lure. Photo: Steven Richter

Crisp fried calamari, zucchini and sage. Photo: Steven Richter.        Teodora’s chef-owner Giancarlo Quadalti had planned to add this to his fiefdom of much loved little restaurants -- Celeste on Amsterdam, Bianca in the Village. But in the time it took to finish restoring this crumbling little building – “the  mortar had turend to sand” -- he realized he didn’t really want to run a trattoria below his own duplex. So he persuaded chef Roberto Aita of Roc to cross the bridge. Now Quadalti stops by for dinner often, joining us tonight for cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage and carefully cooked monkfish with roasted garlic, preserved lemon and caper sauce. I’ve tasted three versions of bucatini amatriciana in the past week and this one, just $9, is the best. Roasted orata with porcini and potatoes and whole roasted dorado are very good too.  Twelve dollars for half a giant-size chicken on roasted potatoes gives new strength to the dollar. Though next time I’ll ask for the herbed fries or roasted potatoes “extra crispy.”

        Of the $4 desserts, I like the polenta cake and a primitive apple torta but  the tiremasu has uptown class. Our penny-pinching pals with a car are already planning an encore, I’ll be hitching a ride with them.

    284 Grand Street between Roebling and Havemeyer Streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 718 782 8222