This Restaurant in Carroll Gardens Is Bringing Back American Bistro Classics

Credit: Jason Belmondo

After hearing Chef-Owner Sal Lamboglia of Café Spaghetti opened another restaurant in Carroll Gardens, one might expect an extension of Italian charm. However, they would be wrong.

Stepping through the doors of Swoony’s unveils an entirely different experience––a journey into the realm of retro-inspired American bistro classics, curated by Chef Sal himself. While it may be surprising, Chef Sal is not hitting up every Italian joint he can find in his free time. In fact, Swoony’s reflects what Chef Sal craves most: the menu is an anthology of steakhouse favorites, seafood delights, and bar classics.

Credit: Megan Shelton

Set within the ground level of a historic home, the interiors seem to be suspended in the time it was erected. A long wood bar is the centerpiece, surrounded by colorful liquor bottles and glass cabinets housing vintage serving ware. Tiffany-style lamp fixtures suspend from the stamped tin ceiling, and vintage posters hang along the walls. 

In keeping with its whimsical name, the culinary journey at Swoony’s is a playful one. Start with one of three snacks: Deviled Eggs, Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Olives, or Potato Croquettes.

Credit: Jason Belmondo

Then, explore the exquisite selection of starters. Delight in the creamy portion of Whipped Goat Cheese accompanied by chili crunch, cucumbers, and grilled sourdough. Shrimp Cocktail and Clams Casino also find their place here––the former is served with Tabasco aioli and dusted with Old Bay; the latter is stuffed with green peppers, bacon, and breadcrumbs.

The salads at Swoony’s offer a refreshing interlude, with highlights including the crisp Iceberg Wedge, adorned with creamy bleu cheese and crunchy bacon, and the West Coast-esque “King of Salads” aka Crab Louie, featuring a scoop of lump crabmeat over a bed of vegetables and a jammy egg.

Credit: Jason Belmondo

As the evening unfolds, guests are invited to explore an array of hearty entrées, each a testament to Chef Sal’s culinary prowess and creative vision. Standouts include the juicy Short Rib Au Poivre with crispy frîtes, and the Dorade prepared “Manhattan clam chowder style.”

Credit: Megan Shelton

No meal at Swoony’s would be complete without indulging in their decadent desserts. Dip into the rich and velvety Chocolate Mousse “with a cherry on top” or the nostalgic Vanilla Soft Serve. The French Toast is no breakfast confection––situated atop a china plate, it’s topped with walnuts, drizzled with maple syrup, and finished with a dusting of powdered sugar. 

Credit: Megan Shelton

Complimenting the dishes is an intentional cocktail menu, created by Bar Manager Ricardo Echeverri, fusing modern flavors with classic techniques. The most popular are the Martinez––crafted with gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino, and angostura, this classic cocktail was invented in the 1800s and is widely regarded as the precursor to the martini––and The Pistachio––a mezcal-based drink shaken with pistachio, lime, and rose.

Credit: Jason Belmondo

Meanwhile, the wine program, overseen by Managing Partner Giovanna Cucolo, showcases an array of global varietals that span approachable to celebratory, providing something to suit every palate and occasion.

At Swoony’s, classic comforts meet elevated dining––patrons can enjoy the timeless flavors of American bistro fare in environs that still feel contemporarily cozy. One visit here, and you are sure to leave with StreetEasy already pulled up, searching for apartment openings in the neighborhood.

Top Takeaways

Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Address: 215 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Cuisine: American

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes – Resy

The vibe: Vintage lamps and candlelight set the vibe in the vintage-inspired space while guests imbibe and nosh on retro culinary offerings.

Our favorite thing on the menu: Try the Clams Casino and Iceberg Wedge, but the Short Rib Au Poivre is the real show-stopper.

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Monday – Saturday from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

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