To remedy my carbohydrate drought, I went for white flour (not the nutritionist's suggestion, I assure you) at Al Di La, the Park Slope restaurant that seems always to have a line snaking around the corner down Fifth Avenue. The restaurant and wine bar down the block (on Carroll Street, in case you were wondering) both serve the same menu. We ate at the wine bar's bar because, well, we weren't in the mood to wait long.
A beef carpaccio was made with high-quality beef and came topped with shaved parmesan and whole anchovies. I'm not the biggest anchovy fan in the world, so I let my dining partner eat them while I stuck to the dish's other adornment, capers. Mussels were served in a rich and tomatoey broth, but the best part of the dish was a crusty piece of bread snuck beneath bivalves, absorbing all of the elements a nutritionist would say are better left uneaten. Oh, well.
For my fellow diner, a rich and creamy tagliatelle with ragu. It tasted kind of Hamburger Helper-ish, but in a good way. My spaghetti with clams (finally!) did not disappoint. The large and briny Manilas were judiciously scattered and I didn't find even one empty shell. The pasta itself was al dente and swimming in oil and chili flakes. I returned my plate to the bartender with a half cup of pasta remaining. "You left the pasta," he said. "You know, that stuff at the end really is the most unhealthy part. But it's also the tastiest." Maybe so, but after all that white flour I didn't really need a full cup of oil.
And we passed on dessert, but next time I would likely order any of the cheese-based delights on the small menu.
Al Di La
248 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215