A few Saturdays back, we decided to try out 606 R&D’s “Sunday Supper”. It had been a busy day – running all around Union Square/Greenwich Village for iAdventure’s Olympic Scavenger Hunt (we, the Google+ Local team, were the overall winners!). We had worked up quite an appetite.

Located along a strip of several restaurants and bars, 606 R&D looks very low-key. T originally thought it was more of a sandwich shop until a friend mentioned they had fabulous cocktails and we should stop in.

Sunday supper only runs from 5-9pm and they don’t take reservations (for it or any other meal, for that matter) unless you are a party of 6 or more. We were seated out back, a nice open patio with simple white lights strung up around the perimeter.

I was intrigued by the simple, seasonally appropriate menu. This could either be really good or too simple and basic to deliver. The first course was an eggplant spread with radishes, celery, and crackers. The eggplant was flavorful and the radishes, celery, and crackers were a nice crunchy contrast to the soft spread. After that first course, I had a feeling the rest would be solid.

The main course and its accompaniments was served family style, arriving with enough for two in three different oval dishes. There was the rotisserie chicken – simply done, juicy and flavorful. It worked quite well with the macaroni & cheese, which was light on breadcrumbs but crunchy enough along the top to get by in my book. Besides whatever cheese they used – hard to tell though a blend of a stronger and a slightly moderate strength white, if I took a guess – was just so good. And then there was a basic big green salad. The dressing was light, allowing the freshness of the greens to shine through.

For dessert, there was their much touted donuts. I’d read you wanted one cinnamon sugar and one with just plain sugar. Thankfully that’s precisely what each person receives. Perfect ending.

The first time I went, they were running short on donuts and they allowed my boyfriend to substitute their blueberry pie. My oh my. Hands down, the best blueberry pie I’ve had in a long time. Dare I say it challenges my all-time favorite, Brieremere (serious compliment). Note, if they don’t offer the substitute, there will probably be a $3 charge – and the strawberry-rhubarb isn’t as good as the blueberry pie.

It was such a good meal, that we went back last night. There was an additional option on the line-up. For starters, there was this refreshing watermelon salad – two kinds of watermelon, mint, feta, and pumpkin seeds. Perfect for a warm evening.

Additionally, you could change up your choice of mains – rather than the rotisserie chicken, this Sunday we ordered the butterflied trout with a celery salad for $32 versus $20. The fish portion size wasn’t playing. The salad had olives as well, which made for an interesting combination. I’m not a big fan of olives, but the diced ones here worked somehow.

If you don’t want to dine-in, you can call in 20 minutes ahead and get that day’s set menu to go. This is definitely one of my new fave spots. Can’t wait to try out brunch.

606 R&D – 606 Vanderbilt Ave (at St Marks Ave) – Prospect Heights, Brooklyn – 718.230.0125
Reservations for Parties 6+

I used to live up by the main Bloomingdale’s location which proved to be very dangerous. I wasn’t a big fan of the neighborhood (Sutton Place is far from happening – and no one seems to know what to do do with it. Is it Midtown East? Is it the Upper East Side? People seem confused and indifferent altogether to its existence).  And the only thing I really liked was Bloomingdale’s, which was not good for my bank account. When I lived there, I found few restaurants in the area that I really liked, even though I was constantly trying to find new ones. Somehow I missed Pane e Vino, until I needed to book a brunch/lunch spot for this weekend.

Dining room - open and looking out to Lexington Avenue

Dining room - open and looking out to Lexington Avenue

Before lunch, we went to the Met to the McQueen exhibit. Short commentary? Go to it. Stat. Now to lunch. You could choose from their full menu, which was quite extensive. Or they also had their brunch menu available until 3:30PM. For $19.50, you had your choice of a brunch cocktail, a starter of either the soup of the day or a mixed green salad, and your brunch main course. I was tempted by the Frittata Contadina, which was a frittata with onions, Italian sweet sausage, and fontina cheese, but ended up going with the Focaccia di Casa, served with cured salmon, grilled tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in balsamic-extra virgin olive oil. Each main also came with hash brown potatoes.

My friend's beef carpaccio

My friend's beef carpaccio

As suspected, this was nothing compared to what would follow. Resist. You'll thank me later.

As suspected, this was nothing compared to what would follow. Resist. You'll thank me later.

Focaccia di Casa

Focaccia di Casa

Linguine Vongole e Vino Bianco - Linguine with baby Manila clams in a white wine sauce

Linguine Vongole e Vino Bianco - Linguine with baby Manila clams in a white wine sauce

When my main course arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting maybe an open-faced sandwich – more bruchetta-style. Instead, it was a nicely assembled sandwich, with the bread not overpowering in the least. With focaccia that is a serious talent! The hash brown potatoes were more like thin, fresh fries. Nice surprise and not overly fried, which worked well with the light, summery feel of the sandwich. It was a perfect brunch option in my book. Not as heavy as when something like this is served on a bagel. Wish I could find this more often!

Biscotti

Biscotti

I knew since my friend Nikki was in town that dessert would be a must. We were greeted by a plate of biscotti (fresh and soft – nice change) along with her coffee as we contemplated the finale. I had the server name off all of the dessert options, which all sounded amazing. We’d seen a large sampler platter go by earlier to a table celebrating a birthday so we knew they would all come out quite nicely. They had your standards – tiramisu or a ricotta cheesecake. My ears perked up when he named off a grape pie. Grape pie? I’d bever heard of such a thing. Our server’s eyes lit up when we expressed interest. “Yes! Yes! Very good!” he exclaimed. And what I liked about the server was you could tell he knew their food well and that he was passionate about it. Perfect.

Grape Pie

Grape Pie

When it arrived, I was pleased to see unlike many blueberry pies, this didn’t have a lot of filler. It was straight fruit mixed with only a bit of vanilla cream. The crust was almost like a thin layer of shortbread. Usually I find crust a bit disappointing, but I could have eaten much more of this one. And then the plate was finished off with a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream. It was a bit steep for a dessert – $10 – but was plenty for the three of us to share. If I came back here, it would be hard to skip this.

I think I’ve found my Bloomie’s meal companion. Done. It felt like we were tucked in an Italian side street. It seems that this place has yet to be discovered by those shoppers looking for a meal before or after. It wasn’t crowded, the service was attentive, and the food was phenomenal. Highly recommend.

Pane e Vino – 691 Lexington Avenue (at 60th Street) – 212.355.2277
Reservations Optional

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