Convivium Osteria
 

Interior (photo: Adeline Ramos)

 

Red snapper (photo: Adeline Ramos)

Old World Italian food and wine await at this Park Slope hideaway

By Erik Mathes

When the grind of the city has you feeling like you need a recharge, but you just can’t escape for a vacation, there’s a simple solution: Treat yourself to a night out at Convivium Osteria, a slice of southern Italy set just below the northern tip of Park Slope. In a sea of come-and-go restaurants, Convivium has found a way to thrive for 18 years come this November, deftly transporting guests to another place and time the moment they step inside.

The walls are adorned with shiny copper cookware, while bottles of wine pick up the light from flickering candles at rustic, wooden tables, creating a vibe that recalls the feeling of haunts from the homeland of chef and owner, Carlo Pulixi. Having grown up among chefs and farmers in Sardinia, Pulixi has worked in restaurants across Manhattan, but it was here in Brooklyn that he met his wife, Michelle, who helped him find the perfect location to introduce to the Slope the Old World Italian cuisine Pulixi was raised on.

Those recipes include plenty of braised and roasted meats, handmade pastas, savory salumi and cheese, and, of course, an abundance of fresh seafood enhanced by ripe tomatoes, briny capers, and vibrant herbs. While Pulixi makes it a point to feature an assortment of specials throughout the seasons, many of Convivium’s dishes have remained the same since its inception, like the house-made tagliatelle with beef and veal ragù, red snapper with olives, spinach, and potatoes in brodetto, and the oven-roasted rib eye for two.
The best way to start is with a glass of Italian wine with some fresh baked bread and olives soaking in their own oil with garlic, while you figure out the rest of your meal. Appetizers like the polpo (octopus with gigante beans, celery, red onion, and tomatoes), carciofi alla Romana (braised artichoke in extra-virgin olive oil with garlic, mint, and parsley), and quaglia ripiena (roasted free-range quail stuffed with sausage and mushrooms in a port wine and fig sauce) are all worth exploring, as are any of the pastas, stuffed or otherwise, especially the ravioli di mele, filled with green apple, ricotta, and cinnamon and served with Peking duck ragù.

For your main course, you can go big with a whole oven-roasted Mediterranean sea bream with marinated zucchini (available filleted upon request) or the Painted Hills 48-ounce rib eye with roasted potatoes, or opt for delicate braised rabbit with olives, capers, prosciutto, and rosemary with polenta crostini. And for dessert, the tiramisu with a glass of fortified Sardinian wine is just what you need to mellow out before heading back to life beyond the warm, Old World ambiance that envelops you within the confines of Convivium.

Ravioli di Mele (photo: Adeline Ramos)

hours

Mon–Sat 5 PM–11:30 PM; Sun 5 PM–10 PM

price range

$24 (roasted free-range poussin) to $98 (Painted Hills 48-oz oven-roasted bone-in rib eye for two)
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