04/26/2006 12:00 AM |

788 Union St, Park Slope
Price Range: $20-30

Steps from the Park Slope food co-op, Scottadito marries rustic Italian flavors with fresh organic fare. Granted, the words “local,” “free-range” and “organic” mark every menu in the neighborhood these days, but it’s not the only draw here. Scottadito’s unique spirit shines through its small details — from the bursts of citrus that brighten the house-cured Pork Sausage ($11) to the flecks of copper that flicker through cracked paint on the walls, subtly brightening the room. Beneath a ceiling of dark exposed beams, patrons are led to sturdy wooden tables, seemingly custom-made to support generous portions, and are handed menus encased in soft brown leather.  

All dishes are available à la carte, but the $25 and $35 prix fixe menus are recommended for bargain-hunters with big appetites, and a trio of wine pairings is available for an additional $12 per person. If you don’t have time for a multi-course meal, go straight to the primi, or first course, menu because you’ll need a few minutes to deliberate over the selection of house-made pastas. You can’t go wrong with the bright fuchsia beet Gnocchi with Ricotta and Mascarpone ($15), and the decadent Spinach Ravioli with Butter and Sage ($14) offers a less colorful but equally satisfying option.

For the health nuts, the free-range Chicken Breast ($15) is simple, filling, and juicy, paired with roasted potatoes and sautéed chard, and the Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Ricotta Salata ($9) showcases organic chicory, and talk about whole foods — I encountered some leaves that were as long as my forearm. The impeccably fresh Wild Salmon Tartar ($16) was masked by an onslaught of competing seasonings — capers, ginger, balsamic vinegar, caramelized onions, olives, and pine nuts — but somehow, it worked. All of my dining companions cleaned their plates — even those who ordered without realizing that “tartar” means raw fish, rather than cooked salmon with tartar sauce.

Not all the dishes were entirely successful, though. The Pork Chops stuffed with Prosciutto and Ricotta ($18) were a bit tough, and the Tiramisù ($6) could have used an extra punch of espresso, but this was quickly forgiven when our waitress doled out a complementary round of limoncello to our rowdy party of six, along with an impressively inexpensive bill.