550 Court Street, South Brooklyn
3 1/2 L's
As three silver-haired French-speaking men entered through the front door, a burst of throaty laughter interrupted the soft strains of Nick Drake streaming from the stereo. With warm handshakes, the boisterous trio greeted both the waiter and the couple sipping wine at the bar and headed straight for the garden. It was a quiet Thursday night, and besides the wine-sipping couple—who may have been the owners—we were the only patrons inside the restaurant. Pompette shares its sleepy stretch of Court Street with Luna Rossa, a pizzeria; La Slowteria, one of my favorite Mexican spots in Brooklyn; and the Treats Truck Stop, the kid-friendly, sweet-as-can-be bakery and snack shop. These welcoming spots never seem as crowded as they should, and although our waiter said that Pompette is usually much busier, I began to worry. Just as some people post pictures of sad-eyed dogs in need of adoption, I often want to post photos of hopeful chefs peeking out into empty restaurants as they wait to make someone dinner.
Pompette is worth journeying past Buttermilk Channel, if only to drink wine and eat steak au poivre and pomme frites under white umbrellas in the charming little yard. In fact, as a bottle of red and three plates mounded with fries sailed past our table and toward the Frenchmen, we worried that we’d ordered wrong. Still, a martini glass of cooling cucumber juice spiked with gin and a twist of lemon made a fine aperitif. And we had no complaints about our salad, an artfully arranged crescent of perfectly tender baby beets, figs bursting with sweetness, potent and creamy blue cheese, and rosemary-roasted almonds, all drizzled in truffle-honey. On another plate, expertly cooked octopus met fresh, plump fava beans and bright, bitter baby arugula dressed in a citrusy aioli. Sweet scallops were seared until just caramelized, and served with baby vegetables and rich, porky guanciale. The house-made spinach tagliatelle may have been a bit on the gummy side, but its generous toppings of garlicky hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, juicy lobster and fresh corn disguised any imperfections.
With entrée prices ranging from $18 for roast chicken to $27 for Long Island duck, Pompette isn’t cheap, but you can make a light meal out of an appetizer portion of the scallops or lobster tagliatelle, both priced at $15. If you need a place for a quiet date—or a spot to take visiting relatives who aren’t into the communal table trend—this cozy bistro, like that sweet puppy looking for someone to love, deserves your attention.
N.B. Pompette is closed for vacation until August 15.