Sette Stands Out on 7th Ave
After weeks of unbearable humidity, the heat this week finally broke. Last night after the clear day was replaced by a starry night, there was a slight crisp in the air. So when I got to Sette, on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, I had a hard time deciding whether to savor the outdoors with the other diners or have the inside to myself. I opted for the charming outdoor patio with big red umbrellas, but the interior should not go without note. When Italian restaurants avoid kitschy decor they automatically get a plus in my book. Adorned in a warm minimalism with natural materials like the dark wood ceiling, light wood tables and a marble counter separating the open kitchen, Sette's small dining room is sophisticated without being overbearing. But who can resist this weather?
One of the best things about Sette, is the "Venti per Venti" wine list -- 20 bottles of wine for $20.00. I like this idea because the diner can invariably order the cheapest bottle of wine without being embarrassed. We chose a full, yet refreshing Librandi from Calabria.
If you ignore items like asparagus in August, Sette's pan-Italian menu is mostly seasonal. Although I thought the grilled squid with chickpeas and greens was too heavily dressed, the char on the squid cut nicely through the dressing. The stand out appetizer was the artichokes alla Romana, tender artichoke hearts dressed lightly in olive oil and lemon, a perfect dish for late summer.
I'm a big fan of the traditional Sicilian pasta dish, bucatini con le sarde, so after a good start to the dinner, I had to try Sette's. I was not disappointed. The tubular pasta was wrapped in tender fennel and plump golden raisins topped with toasted bread crumbs and fennel fronds. The special of the day, pan-seared sea bass, was delicious with a crispy skin and moist yet flaky meat. I finished the meal with a dense almond cake. My only complaint is that it tasted a tad heavy of almond extract giving it a slightly artificial flavor.
Sette offers two dishes, a pizzette and fish of the day, from their wood-burning oven which I unfortunately didn't have a chance to try. Will I go back to try them? You bet.
Sette is located at 207 7th Avenue at 3rd Street. (718) 499-7767