There's nothing better than finding a spot where you can kick back and enjoy a nice meal. That is where Juventino comes into play. It's a Latin fusion spot with a dash of fun. We stumbled upon it by accident in Park Slope, Brooklyn one early Saturday evening and were impressed by the food and friendly service.
From the outside looking in, it is rather non-descript. There's no real signage to speak of. But inside you will find a lovely space with bulky wooden tables, wainscoting on the walls, and a nice bar. They also have garden seating when the weather permits. While most tables were reserved, we managed to squeeze in just in time to enjoy the last part of happy hour where oysters and tacos are served.
We started with a dozen oysters at a dollar a pop. The selection is impressive. Our plate included Bluepoints from Long Island, Welfleets from Massachusetts, and another variety from Washington State, the name of which escapes me. All were nicely chilled, fresh and briny and went well with the icy beers we ordered, a full-bodied pilsner from Belgian brewer, Corsendonk. They also have an extensive wine list.
Our meal began with a few small plates. Hongos y Huancaina made with marinated mushrooms in an aji amarillo sauce with thin slices of crisp country bread. Langosta Sincronizada makes lobster the star. It's piled high on a tortilla with a lively sage-juniper pesto. Meanwhile, a salad of grains with sugar snap peas and radishes gets some added kick from a pumpkin seed vinaigrette.
Mid-meal we were served a complimentary chicken wing lollipop with a fresh green salsa on a bed of creamy polenta. It was a wonderful surprise and delicious!
Next up - dinner. Grilled diver scallops were perfectly prepared with a mole poblano sauce. Our only regret is that there were just three scallops to the plate. It was topped with fresh arugula and thick pickled onions that are fabulous on their own. Rack of lamb, actually three lamb chops, arrived medium rare with a root vegetable "risotto," which I thoroughly enjoyed, along with farmstead cheese. And I reluctantly got my first taste of bison ribeye. It was much leaner than I expected, but well seasoned. It's served with cipollini onions and tortillas. And we couldn't pass up on dessert, which this night included a bowl of warm bread pudding that was quickly devoured along with an apple crumble.
While our meal, with beers, was a bit pricey, I couldn't help but feel rejuvinated. And isn't that what it's all about?