There's a certain kind of restaurant that serves all of its food on artisan ceramic plates - you know, the kind that look like they came from a craft fair and not off an assembly line. It's a way of saying: we're not a factory, and you're not about to eat this bowl of grains out of an Ikea bowl. There are a lot of restaurants like this in places like San Francisco and Portland and Seattle (I've never been but I just KNOW), and yes, in Brooklyn.
Faro, which is a block from the Jefferson L stop in Bushwick, serves all of its food on those perfectly imperfect plates - and they're just the right vessel for the slightly quirky pastas that make up the majority of the menu. What's that, chicken confit and some broth with your bucatini? Shishito peppers and mint with your gnudi? Do these things taste better when they're served in a dish that was hand-glazed and manually placed into a kiln? Probably. Take that, Crate and Barrel.
The rest of the place is filled out with all the requisite touches - hard chairs no doubt made from salvaged wood, big ceilings, and huge racks of firewood of questionable purpose near the entrance.
All of this could lead to a restaurant that feels like the setting for a Portlandia sketch, but in reality it's a pretty relaxed place and a nice addition to the neighborhood. The service is friendly, the prices are reasonable, and it's generally a nice spot to hang out. Some of the food looks or sounds a little more satisfying than it is, but there are plenty of things we like.
If you spend a lot of time in Bushwick, you'll want Faro on your hit list. It's a good place for a date, and probably the best place around here to take parents or a group of out of towners, largely owing to the fact that they actually take reservations. It's not the destination that Roberta's is, but Faro serves a different purpose: it feels like a restaurant for grown ups.
Must be those plates.
We'd heard the bread (which costs $5) was great here, so we ordered some. It was... multigrain bread. With fancy butter. Not bad, but save your carb intake for the pasta.
The oatmeal of dinner time. This comes mixed with corn and some chanterelle mushrooms. It's interesting, but an espresso cup- sized portion would have been plenty.
Did you think this place WASN'T going to have a salad with lettuce foraged from a vague "rooftop" farm? Right. Anyway, good lettuce.
Those little caterpillar-like pieces of pasta come mixed in with pork ragout, parsley, and ricotta. Someone at our table referred to this as "mac and cheese for adults." This one's an example of how Faro does right by its unusual takes on pasta.
This one comes with chicken confit, some kind of cheese, chili, and basil. The base of the bowl has a broth, which makes the whole thing taste a little bit like the pasta version of a fancy chicken noodle soup. We enjoyed a few bites, but probably wouldn't order it again.
A damn good duck, with a sweet, crispy outside and flavorful inside. We don't order duck on random Wednesday nights too often, but it's worth doing here.
Octopus, on the other hand, is something we order all the time. Faro's is decent, but too salty and a little overcooked.