Options for a midday meal in under the Manhattan Bridge are limited, but Punto Bianco at the corner of Jay and John Streets in DUMBO now offers espresso and Mediterranean fare with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. "I've had my eye on this space for 15 years," says owner George Lati of the voluminous café with walls of windows and a modern flair. "We opened up just before the holidays which was crazy and my wife was so excited she was just giving everything away for free. 'Let the people eat,' she'd say. She was in heaven!" Lati describes his wife Shela as the engine that keeps the café running. And with a little help from their five children, Punto Bianco is seems to have found its footing.
A baked falafel wrap-panini—neither your typical falafel nor your typical panini, but totally tasty—is perfect for take out. At $5.50, it could be heartier, but adding a bowl of the simple and satisfying butternut squash soup for $5.00 rounds out the meal. For lighter fare, try a pizza pita with fresh basil and mozzarella or the phyllo dough topped with spiced beef. As for salads, the 'Bianco' (tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, kalamata olives, onion, feta, corn, and beets) hits the spot at $8.00 as does the fresh and flavorful tabouleh for $6.00—or build your own starting at $5.50. Pastries from Bridor and phyllo puffs filled with cheese and mushrooms are ideal with café au lait for $3.50 or a range of imported teas.
"I could be the mayor of DUMBO", proclaims Lati, who operated a business at 55 Washington for decades. "I used to have lunch with Patsy Grimaldi the old way, with a glass of wine or two," he laughs. Gesturing towards a sparkling red behemoth of an espresso machine by LaSpaziale, he jokes, "We'll have a coffee and I'll take you for a spin around the neighborhood one day. Here's my Lamborghini."
Punto Bianco // 14 Jay Street, Brooklyn // 718.330.0000