10Aug2006Convivium.jpgEven a lowly cab driver can find the money to splurge on a fancy dinner with his girlfriend every once in a while. The other day I was in a celebratory mood because I’d just conducted a five borough eating tour. So with some money in my pocket and a few hours to rest up between the gluttonous eating tour and dinner, I headed to Park Slope with Melissa, my sweet Thai girlfriend.

On the solid recommendation of a local, we went to Convivium Osteria on 5th Avenue. I was under the impression that it was blend of a Portuguese, Spanish (Galician), and Italian all at once, but both the waiter and the bartender hailed from Livorno in northern Italy. After dishing out some gratuitous Euro attitude when I dared to converse with them, they told me that the owner is Italian as well.

However, the most impressive dish of the night seemed to have a decidedly Portuguese flare. As an appetizer, we ordered pan roasted quail in a sauce of port and figs. After an ill fated trip to Porto during which I tasted a dozen different varieties of port, I decided that I was just not a fan of fortified sweet wine. But the port sauce on this dish was a sweet and fruity delight. Once we were done devouring the quail meat which fell from the bone into the sauce with just the slightest nudge from our forks, we used our bread to sop up the sauce until the plate was clean.

10Aug2006Convivium2.jpgThe wild boar prosciutto salad sounded a lot more exotic than it was. But I must say it was very tasty. The artichoke ravioli was also delicious, though my memory gets a little fuzzy at that point in the meal.

I was dizzy from the intense heat in the restaurant. The a.c. was weak, and the day had been stifling hot. The night wasn't much better, and I swear it was hotter in the restaurant than outside. I felt like we were eating our gourmet meal at the sweltering lunch counter a few blocks over at El Gran Castillo De Jagua. So next time we go out for a celebratory dinner, we might just get Cubanos.

Convivium Osteria, 68 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-857-1833