- Elizabeth Hagen
We have to admit, we’re still in a bit of a mourning period over The Wallace, a fantastic Clinton Hill restaurant that surprisingly shuttered in under a year. So we hope the slowly gentrifying stretch of Fulton proves more of a charm for Belli Osteria, a charming trattoria, that recently opened just across the street.
It’s a fourth venture for chef and owner Andres Rodas, who’s found success on Court Street in Carroll Gardens with Fragole Ristorante, on 6th Avenue in Park Slope with Piccoli Trattoria, and on Prospect Park Southwest in Windsor Terrace with Piccoli Take Out, which provides as good reason as any for never fussing with risotto at home. Belli follows much of the same format, and upholds the same standards, as the other restaurants — rustic chic environs, extremely affordable prices, and breads, pastas, cheeses and desserts, all made in house.
A few items from the Park Slope restaurant are recreated note-for-note here, a boon to Clinton Hill residents that have yet to experience the pleasures of shaved brussels sprouts salad with marcona almonds and citrus dressing, pappardelle with honey-braised short rib ragu, or (our recent obsession), buffalo mozzarella with roasted butternut squash, wild mushrooms, and brown butter-balsamic vinaigrette.
Other dishes are well worth the subway trip out to Clinton/Washington, such as chicken liver crostini (cross-hatched with bacon, because you can never get enough animal fat), knobs of featherweight potato gnocchi topped with tender duck ragu, and spaghetti calabrese, dotted with shrimp and roasted tomatoes and sauced with melted nudja — a spicy sausage spread that has suddenly become one of the most en vogue ingredients around.
Other neighborhood bright spots like Cochinita and Beny’s Delice give hope that there’s enough growing demand for thoughtful food in this area, to compete with places like McDonald’s and Happy Happy Chinese Restaurant. It won’t bring back The Wallace. But it might just give a fighting chance to the fledgling Belli Osteria.
860 Fulton St, (347) 799-1230