Scalino G.P. Brings Italian Comfort Food to Greenpoint’s Manhattan Ave
It’s January, the long weekend is almost over, and the
vortex cold-spell is returning. Sometimes the only thing that will bring light to these dark days is the promise of a warm plate of glossy pasta and a glass of good red wine.
Lucky for us, there’s a new neighborhood Italian opened to offer up all kinds of comforting dishes, and it’s just far enough from Adelina’s not to serve as competition.
Scalino G.P. (659 Manhattan Ave) is an offshoot of Scalino in Park Slope, a restaurant run by Pittsburgh brothers Mateo and Blaise Yaksick since 2007. Their new Greenpoint joint is on the former site of Cookie Road and the interior now seems a whole lot more spacious than it used to, with exposed brickwork and simple, unfussy decor.
The menu, like the interior, is straight-forward and includes appetizers of calamari, meatballs in tomato sauce, and ‘antipasti Scalino’ (proscuitto, salami and parmesan), along with daily specials like grilled sardines and eggplant and zucchini parmigiana.
Mains include braised lamb with white beans, salmon with zucchini, and grilled chicken with arugula, with additional specials like tuna steak and a Berkshire pork chop.
The area in which Scalino G.P. especially excels, however, is its pasta dishes. The pasta isn’t made on site but is bought fresh from Raffeto’s, the Greenwich Village pasta emporium that has been going strong since 1906. Scalino owner Mateo is so enamored with it that, when we visited last week, he even brought out some samples of uncooked pasta so we could marvel at its smooth elasticity. House dishes include pappardelle with tomato cream and smoked bacon, spinach and ricotta ravioli and ‘rigatoni Scalino’ (turkey sausage and tomato cream) along with daily-changing specials.
From the specials list I chose pappardelle tartufate which consisted of the aforementioned fresh pasta, a hearty glug of truffle oil, fresh herbs, parmesan and a scattering of zucchini. This was simple and welcoming, like a big truffley hug, and went well with a glass of fruity Montepulciano.
One of my companions had taglierini carbonara which was wolfed down in minutes and declared ‘delicious’ whilst the other had the eggplant and zucchini parmigiana. The veg in this dish weren’t pre-fried so tasted crisp and light in their tomato sauce, providing a refreshing change from the cloying cheesy breadcrumb extravaganza that sometimes gets dished up. We also had some decent enough fried calamari and an endive and arugula salad with good little salty nuggets of blue cheese squaring up boldly to the zesty dressing.
As we rounded off dinner with a tasty torta della nonna, we realized we’d had an entire evening where we could actually hear ourselves speak: there’d been no music playing. Whilst this may not be ideal if you’re the only ones in there and attempting to conduct an intimate conversation, it’s actually pretty nice not having to compete with blaring music in order to get yourself heard.
It’s early days at Scalino G.P. and they’re still in the process of working out the right formula but, with pasta this good, the restaurant certainly has the potential to join the likes of Adelina’s in the ranks of cozy no-nonsense local Italians.