On the corner of Henry & Warren Streets in Cobble Hill, you're probably more used to hearing babies wailing than festive Italian music emanating from the lot on the corner. Formerly a salon and then a favorite countertop diner-bistro named Sammy's, the space is now Bocco Lupo, a trattoria style small plates spot with a fifty-plus bottle Italian wine list and a mean set of panini. With large glass-paned walls on two sides and doors held open by an oversized bottle of wine, Bocca Lupo offers small plates menu ($7-$14) of tremezzini, bruschetta, and panini, as well as a daily pasta, risotto, and salads which rotate based on what's in season. Atmospheric touches like candlelit tables, flatware wrapped in twine, and small vases of flowers will help win you over--you might call it the style modern-rustic.
Gothamist and our dining companions started with a goat cheese, roasted tomato, and prosciutto tremezzini, the Italian version of a tea sandwich, served on crustless white bread. Unimpressed by the tremezzini, the roasted tomato and cheese were tasty, but the flavors were largely overpowered by the fairly bland bread. A roasted beet, arugula, and ricotta salad arrived next and was both sweet and delicious, with ricotta offering the perfect creamy compliment to the lightly dressed beets. The risotto special was rich and creamy, infusing the flavors of sweet squash and rich cheeses, but after a few spoonfuls, left us craving a more peppery bite. The best dish arrived last: a sausage, broccoli rabe, and tallegio cheese panini, the perfect combination of spicy-sweet sausage, nutty cheese, and slightly bitter broccoli rabe pressed between crisp grilled bread.
The eggplant, picked onion, and ricotta-stuffed tomato bruschetta have received rave reviews and another, topped with truffle egg salad promises to be tasty. The paninis, however, are Bocca Lupo's strongest offering, and for dessert, a nutella and banana panini which our server deemed the "best thing ever," arrived with a generous side of fresly whipped cream, hot nutella oozing out of the sides.
Bocca Lupo offers reliably tasty dishes and a comfortable atmosphere that will make you glad they've arrived in the neighborhood. Service is friendly and attentive--though unpolished at times, and when not too crowded, food arrives promptly, often multiple plates all at once. Similar in style to Gothamist favorite Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens, Bocca Lupo is like their eager younger brother: off to a good start, but with a lot of room for improvement.
Bocca Lupo is located at 391 Henry Street (at Warren), Cobble Hill, 718-243-2522