458 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
“Hey.” I said back to the strange man with the baseball cap on, a t-shirt and a beer in hand. I’ve seen him sitting at the bar all evening. Why is he talking to me?
Long awkward pause. No one in my party of four knows what to do now.
“You don’t speak English?” said the strange man.
“Huh? Oh I speak English.” i replied now with a bewildered look. Is he drunk?
Another long awkward pause before the stranger walks away.
“Oh, don’t mind him. He’s one of the owners. I have to tell him to stop bothering the customers like that.” said the waitress.
“That was one of the owners?” We all looked at each other in amusement and laughed.
And that’s pretty much the only bump in an otherwise really nice dining experience at Il Torchio, a new Italian place on Myrtle. As a new place they are still experiencing “growing pains” – running out of items, timing, etc. – but nothing that couldn’t be corrected in the next few weeks.
The owners, as I understand it, are in the construction business and did a wonderful job of restoring the space. The bar area/dining room is very rustic looking yet airy.
It was a little dark for my taste but does create the mood of an “intimate dining experience” if that’s what you’re looking for. I was looking for a little more light so I could read the menu.
There’s also a garden but I didn’t go out back to check it out.
They offered a reasonably priced dinner menu with several salad, panini and pasta choices along with a couple of specials. They also have a huge tapas menu which I thought was a bit expensive at $8-$15 per plate. I always thought the idea of tapas were small, affordable dishes which you can make a meal of by ordering several plates. It’ll be expensive to do it here at these prices but it didn’t stop us from ordering a few as pseudo appetizers.
From top to bottom: The Tapas Special, the Dried Figs and the Artichoke & Parmigiano Dip.
The Special was nice – very garlicky.
The Dried Figs was interesting in terms of Sweet, Salty and Savory and might not be for everyone. Personally, I thought they were good but I’m gonna try something else on the tapas menu before ordering it again.
The Artichoke & Parmigiano Dip was very good, highly recommended, but you get this huge amount of dip and so little toast on the side! You’ll need, no you’ll WANT, a giant basket of toasts to scoop up all that yummy goodness! Now it could have been a bit thicker in consistency but in terms of taste…very good.
We then had the Insalata di Cesare to cleanse the palate.
Eh. I didn’t like it. I like my salads to come dressed unless I ask for dressing on the side. The dressing was also very strong on the anchovies too giving it a fishy taste.The croutons were also a bit bland – need to be more garlicky. Unless changes are made – pass on it.
For entrees we got Penne ala Vodka, Rigatoni Bologneses and the Saffron Linguine with Clams and Calamari.
The pictures may not show it but these are fairly large bowls of pasta. (Or maybe I ate too much toast and dip.)
The Penne ala Vodka was very good. It wasn’t too heavy on the cream sauce and had a very nice flavor to it. Very well done.
The Rigatoni Bolognese was good as well. It’s a mixture of meats making up the Bolognese sauce which made the dish slightly different than the ordinary. Again, very flavorful and well done.
The Saffron Linguine had a lot of flavor but finished with a bit of saltiness. I’m thinking it’s from the clams but I could be mistaken. It was still a very good dish that could’ve been better if it was slightly less salty.
We finished dinner with the Tiramisu which is not pictured because it didn’t last long enough to get photographed! Decent slice of Tiramisu covered in a chocolate sauce. Yummy.
Overall, I enjoyed my dinner at Il Torchio. It’s nice to have a reasonable priced (if you stay away from the tapas menu) Italian restaurant on Myrtle. The dishes are nice, familiar fare with a slight twist. The large selection of tapas gives it the ability to be a different dining experience every time you go – I’ll definitely be back.
Note: They do not currently have a liquor license but are in the process of getting one. There is a liquor store on the corner with a nice selection of wines. Il Torchio charges a $10 corking fee.