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This Week in Food: ‘Super Upsetting’ Cocktail Party, Taste of Bushwick, Big Apple Zinfandel

A ‘Super Upsetting’ Cocktail Party (Featuring Sandwiches)
Weather Up Tribeca (159 Duane Street)
Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Celebrate the release of Tyler Kord’s A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches with cocktails and sandwiches from an all-star lineup of chefs. The No. 7 Sub chef will highlight tasty fare from Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu and Justin Bazdarich of Speedy Romeo. Tickets are $25 and include cocktails, food, and a copy of the book. Reserve yours here.

Fast Food With Andrew F. Smith
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab (62 Bayard Street; Brooklyn)
Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Explore the ins and outs of America’s obsession with the fast-food industry thanks to author and New School professor Andrew F. Smith. Prior to the discussion, guests can sample healthy versions of classic fast-food treats. Tickets ($40 for general admission) also include entry to MOFAD’s current exhibit. Reserve yours here.

Taste of Bushwick

Boar’s Head Distribution Plant (24 Rock Street; Brooklyn )
Tuesday, 6:30 pm to 9 p.m.

The third annual Taste of Bushwick will take place rain or shine and includes the largest lineup of restaurants the festival has ever had. Restaurants and food businesses at the event — forty total — include Montana’s Trail House and Faro, among others. An after-party will be held at Syndicated, with plenty of drink specials. General admission tickets are $50.

Taller Copenhagen Dinner

The Pines (284 Third Avenue; Brooklyn)
Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Chef Karlos Ponte — of the Copenhagen-based restaurant Taller — brings his take on Venezuelan cuisine to Brooklyn for one night only. Dishes include caviar-topped corn crackers, black lentil noodles with chili and egg, and for dessert, cookie-dough-and-pineapple sorbet. An $85 ticket includes all nine courses; however, drinks are not included.

Big Apple Zinfandel Experience

Union Square Ballroom (27 Union Square West)
Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cool off with a glass of wine (or several) at this walk-around tasting, which will spotlight more than 70 different California Zinfandels. Between glasses, you can nibble on curated cheese boards from Saxelby Cheesemongers. Tickets start at $85.

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Chez Sardine Introduces Brunch; The Marrow Starts Lunch Service

Chez Sardine, Gabriel Stulman’s non-traditional izakaya, introduced a new brunch menu with funky Japanese-American combinations. Mushroom-baked eggs with goat cheese and ramps, miso-baked oysters, and a “Fedora burger” with smoked cheddar, cucumbers, and BBQ mayo will be served alongside funky cocktails and Stumptown coffee. The menu will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 183 W. 10th St.; 646-360-3705

The Marrow introduced lunch service on Monday, and its new menu will be available from noon to 2:30 on weekdays. Dishes from the brunch and dinner menus are available, and new plates like brioche grilled-cheese sandwiches and house-made sausage ragu have been added. 99 Bank St.; 212-428-6000

The Pines in Gowanus will open its backyard this Saturday. Stop by for a “Brazilian-soul-African-disco party” hosted by DJ Dr. Sussman, and a look at the new outdoor patio and its Basque cider bar. The outdoor dining area will open officially on May 18, and chef Angelo Romano will grill dishes over a wood fire Tuesday through Sunday all summer. 284 3rd Ave., Brooklyn; 718-596-6560

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Rao Finds Finesse and Hip Hop at The Pines; Sietsema Takes a Ramen Ride

This week, our own Tejal Rao visited Angelo Romano’s latest venture, The Pines, in Gowanus, and found “a peeling tin patchwork of wall and ceiling glow[ing] with candlelight” emerging in the aftermath of Sandy. Nourishing dishes like “hot, creamy Japanese yams” are complemented by the “down-to-earth but caring and professional” front of house team.

Also at The Voice, Robert Sietsema goes for a “ramen ride” to find out if “all the ramen places in Brooklyn suck.” He slurps his way through Yebisu Ramen, Chuko and Dassara.

At NY Mag, Adam Platt heads uptown to the recently opened Il Mulino, which “feels like it’s been a neighborhood fixture for decades.” And while “money is famously no object for Il Mulino’s loyal and deep-pocketed customer base,” the restaurant is undermined “by its own formulaic success”.

Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton dined at Kickstarter-funded Thirty Acres, in Jersey City. Dishes like “sweet, raw scallops” would “not be out of place at Per Se” but their $12 price tag makes them a much more palatable meal.

At The New Yorker, Shauna Lyon dives into the consistently packed scene at Rosemary’s, in the West Village, and decides “there is good food to be had.” “A rewarding meal can be made of any secondi–such as the porchettina, pink hunks of pork tenderloin with accents of fennel and mustard, or the crispy baked orata with grapefruit–paired with the exemplary rosemary potatoes” for those willing to weather the waiting time.

Stan Sanger, at the Daily News, finds the “spicy and spectacular South Asian street food right up [his] alley” at Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok Ny. He suggest “enthusiastic sharing” of plates to “get even a reasonable sense of what’s on offer.”

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Masten Lake to Gowanus Canal at the Pines

A whole week after the massive storm made landfall, locals in Gowanus still wore flannel and knee-high rubber boots to gut their smelly, flooded basements. But inside the Pines, a peeling tin patchwork of wall and ceiling glowed with candlelight. The grim work of the day was over, and friends on pink velvet folding chairs mellowed out with cocktails and Gang Starr. It was time for dinner.

Hot, creamy Japanese yams ($14) arrived whole in their skins, split open, loaded with a dense buttermilk froth, tiny anchovies, raw hearts of palm, and cilantro on tender stems. Sounds odd, but it articulated the power of a kitchen to rouse and cheer. Layers of softness, rich with umami, warmed us right through. As chef Angelo Romano’s food hit, it felt for an evening as if everything would be all right.

Romano ran Masten Lake in Williamsburg, but the adventurous restaurant lasted just seven months before closing. Prior to that, he cooked at Roberta’s, and there’s a touch of the Brooklyn swagger here—that permission to wear baseball caps in the kitchen, turn up the hip-hop, then surprise guests with a precisely constructed ballotine of pheasant (a reminder that Romano knows the classics well enough to have a little fun with them). This no longer feels like a contradiction, but whether it works is another story. Often, at noisy young restaurants, there’s a sense of bravado that the food and service don’t merit, and it makes everyone look bad.

Not at the Pines, which is smart, sincere, and often delicious. If you catch a glimpse of Romano, he is working quietly in the open kitchen. His front-of-house team is down to earth but caring and professional. Sure, they mispronounce the word “amuse,” making it sound like a caffeinated drink you’d pick up on your way to a late-night karaoke session (amooz-AY!), but who could complain about that? Especially when it’s a comically tiny spoon of raw macadamia nut and compressed tangerine, singing of orange blossoms and olive oil, presented with a smile on a silver tray.

Dishes built for sharing can ramble on the plate, like the pork shoulder ($22) scattered in juicy, blushing cubes with feathers of puntarelle, berries, and black garlic. Or they might focus intensely, like the row of raw madai with crispy scales, compact bites with three clean finishes, including the cured, grated fat of a beef short rib ($26). Others look traditional: A beveled bowl, printed with vintage flowers, holds rustic cappellacci ($24), a folded, filled pasta. But inside there’s a hot, meaty elixir, buttery with lardo—a pure essence of oxtail, rather than the threads of sticky braised meat you were expecting. This dreamy, Italian soup dumpling sits in a gentle broth, made on one evening with crabs, on another with langoustines. Like many dishes at the Pines, it involves sharp technique, but it doesn’t show off about it.

The Pines is the younger sibling of Littleneck, the Gowanus clam shack just two doors down, but it’s already going its own way. In one sense, the restaurant is becoming a neighborhood joint where local couples meet after work to sip wine and share plates of pasta at the bar, like the chewy pici ($19), mighty with trotter meat, tomato, and salt—a casual dinner before slumping home, getting into pajamas, and catching up on Homeland. But it’s also growing into a destination for food nerds who want to order 10 dishes, a few with ingredients they’ve never had, and let the kitchen course them out as an informal tasting menu. What makes the Pines so promising is that it plays both roles well. Now, to build an audience.