The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another Foodie Debut: The Prospect Lefferts Gourmand (PLG) on Gino's

First, the Snob goes Snobnobbin' at a local bakery/take-out place, now this! Debra Kirschner is a writer-filmmaker best known for her indie feature THE TOLLBOOTH and a local gourmand who wants to encourage fellow PLG residents to try neighborhood eateries by offering to try them all first and give a full report to readers of the Q. More on Debra at
For many of us who watched as Gino opened his restaurant next door to his long running pizza place, you had to wonder if and when it'd catch on But he stuck it out, and now I frequently ride by and see the place fairly busy. Cue drum roll...the first of what we hope will be many happy returns from the Prospect Lefferts Gourmand (PLG):

Spotlight on Gino’s Tratoria and Brick Oven Pizza

For 27 years Gino’s has been serving delicious Italian fare on Flatbush Ave near Lincoln Road. Beginning with one storefront that was primarily a pizza place and eventually expanding to include a sit-down Trattoria, this restaurant has survived and thrived through numerous shake-ups in the neighborhood. You get the feeling that no matter where PLG is headed, this restaurant will stay exactly the same. And that is a very good thing! This is the type of Italian restaurant every neighborhood needs, a place you can bring anyone to; kids, parents, grandparents, friends from college, relatives from the ‘burbs, and even Manhattanites will easily enjoy traditional Italian dishes like Chicken Marsala, Chicken Francaise, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Veal Parmigiana, Shrimp Marinara, Lasanga and my favorite, Chicken Pizzaiola. Everything is delicious and done exactly right. The portions are huge – great for sharing or a doggie bag AKA next day’s lunch. There are terrific daily specials like the Red Snapper I
had the other day – fresh and cooked perfectly – tender and tasty – without any fancy bells and whistles that I usually find off-putting like heavy cream sauces or artisanal pickled whatever. Just the real deal.

Gino’s feels authentic through and through from the moment you walk in and are greeted by the Italian waiter, to the fresh warm foaccia bread baskets brought to you soon after and the welcome presence of Gino himself – the owner, who wants to know what everyone in your party is ordering and will to speak to you extensively about what you might like. And he will stop by later in the meal to make sure you are happy!

I highly recommend asking Gino about his early years in the neighborhood. He has some hilarious stories. I have no idea how many of them are true – but when I’m looking for a fun evening out, entertaining is way more important to me than true.

Gino’s has live music some evenings, which is always enjoyable and never loud enough to overpower dinner conversation. There is a fun bar in the front where locals socialize and always seem to be smiling and laughing. The pizza place next door is great for a slice or a hero and both the pizza place and trattoria deliver.

Definitely give Gino’s a shot. I bet it will remind you of the best Italian restaurant you went to as a kid. And if you grew up in Prospect Lefferts Garden, it IS that wonderful restaurant you went to as a kid!

- Debra Kirschner


John said...

I used to love going to Gino's for a couple drinks on week nights. The bartenders were also the nicest and the live music was nice when I caught it.

I had a long conversation with one of the young bartenders once about how one of the male staff would consistently make unwelcomed advances on her whenever it was slow. Sort of changed my desire to want to come to the place after that.

Food's OK though, drinks are usually poured with a heavy hand. You could do worse for the area.

Alex said...

Ginos is great. Love the meatballs, chicken marsala, and, for when I'm in the mood for something really excessive, the chicken rollatini. The live music has its quirky charm.

amanda said...

they are SO accommodating to large groups of toddlers (ie three toddlers with crazed parents in tow) and that makes them saints. also - they have lots of highchairs. and the wine is decent.