Bed-Stuy's NeroDoro Can't Get By on Looks Alone

The Vegetarian Option

Dining out meat-free.

NeroDoro's handsome interior and its prime corner location are inviting, but the menu needs significant reworking. [Photographs: Lauren Rothman]

NeroDoro, an Italian wine bar situated right on the corner of bustling Greene and Classon Avenues in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, looks like an excellent spot to while away an afternoon: open, airy and glassed in all around, the restaurant fills with soft natural light during the daytime. Unfortunately, though, it's hard to stick around here for long if you're nursing anything other than a coffee or a glass of wine—the food is lazy and sloppy.

Should you want a bite to go with your wine, stick to one of the few decent dishes: soft but straightforward Pesto Gnocchi ($12), that are lacking in salt but otherwise perfectly fluffy, not gummy at all.

Things drop off sharply with the house panino, Il NeroDoro ($9), a sandwich undeserving of its Italian moniker that implies a crispy, buttery griddled exterior: the bread here was soft, flavorless and barely warmed, while inside the barest hint of a grilled eggplant and raw apple filling did little to distract from the poor quality of the bread. The basil, mint, capers and olives alluded to in the sandwich's description were nowhere to be found.

A small plate of Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms ($7.50) looked promising: nicely-grilled triangles of polenta were draped with an aromatic, velvety-looking mushroom sauce, but one bite revealed a startling amount of salt in the dish, rendering it nearly inedible. With less salt, it could have been a winner: the polenta was crisp on the outside and soft inside, the mushrooms nicely cooked in a sauce smooth with heavy cream.

NeroDoro's handsome interior and its prime corner location—the restaurant is petitioning the city to allow for sidewalk seating—are inviting, but the food here is nothing special, and, I think, needs significant reworking. It might be nice to sip a glass of wine here, but what's a good wine without a little nibble alongside?