"You will love this; we make it from scratch," announces Zahra Tangorra as she plops down a plate of chicken sausage over cauliflower ragu ($16) to a hungry foursome seated in the hushed rear dining room of Italian eatery and market, Brucie. It's a busy Friday night, but the lively chef and owner hardly looks frazzled as she takes a break from preparing panelle sandwiches to chat with her sated guests.After all, Tangorra sees Brucie as just a big dinner party. Cobble Hill sushi spot Cube 63 has been transformed into Tangorra's modern rustic shrine to Italia, where guests lucky enough to snag a seat at the bar can watch staff make fresh ribbons of pasta. Tangorra, a former display artist for Urban Outfitters and Brooklyn Industries, has loaded the space with antique shop finds; white furniture looks as if it was plucked from the patio of an old Southern home.
The food is equally striking. Although Long Island native Tangorra has never before cooked in a professional kitchen, she is fueled by memories of watching her Italian grandfather sit by the stove, painstakingly stirring sauce.The menu, which changes almost daily, pays special attention to locally sourced products, and it is not uncommon for a farmer from Hoosic River Poultry up in Buskirk, NY, to personally make a delivery. Starters include a creamy burrata paired with red peppers ($10) or crostini smeared with apricot jam and ricotta salata ($10).As an alternative to that tender sausage, perfectly executed spaghetti and meatballs ($13) is a hearty stand-in. For now it's BYOB; if you crave something a little stronger than a P&H ginger soda, a bottle of Primitivo from Brooklyn Wine Exchange down the street saves the evening.