Cardellino (Italian for Goldfinch) opened last week in the location formerly occupied by Brooklyn Girl at the corner of Goldfinch and Ft. Stockton in MIssion Hills.

First visit and they are firing on all pistons. They are busy, they have adequate staff and the food is - and this should really be no surprise - excellent. The bar is still in the middle of the restaurant and it was hopping, keeping 3 bartenders busy. The dining room, for which reservations are very much necessary at this point, was packed. There are a number of communal high tops for walk-ins. We ended up at a high top and had some fun conversations with the other others at our table.

Ceasr Salad…a tad over dressed and a tad salty from the parmesan, but otherwise a really good rendition. There may, or may not, be anchovies in the dressing, but to be sure, the salad came with 2 tempura battered and deep fried anchovies on top. They were quite tasty, and not the least bit strong or fishy. This salad is ample for 2 and could be stretched to feed 3.

Tuna Hamachi…stellar dish that was inhaled in a matter of a few minutes. Impeccably fresh tuna with fresh citrus notes and fresno chiles for some heat.

Polenta w/Mushroom Ragu…soft polenta scented with truffle and topped with more of a fricasse of mushrooms. It was declared very good, but not as good as the hamachi

Pizza…there are a bunch on the menu. We ordered the one with castelvetrano olives, 'ndjua, mozzarella and Calabrian chiles. The crust was spectacular, light, chewy, just enough char. All pizzas come with a small condiment dish of parm, red pepper flakes and ranch dressing. Probably the best ranch dressing I’ve ever eaten, clearly not Hidden Valley from a gallon jar, and yes, it works with the pizza. Heresy for all you purists, but PDG.

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Thanks. Was wondering about this place as it’s got some good buzz but the menu sounds pretty unadventurous.

Thanks for your writeup. We used to go to Brooklyn Girl at HH and enjoyed it. My DH gets her hair done over there and had noticed the buildout going on. No surprise that Trust would open another winner, but I’m a little surprised it’s also in Mission Hills. That’s good info about the Caesar salad, because that’s something that my companion and I would split. Do you know if they have it at HH (or even if the have a HH)?

DC…didn’t see much about Happy Hour. I’m assuming they’ll be doing something but it wasn’t on the menu we saw, and we didn’t get to sit at the bar.

My trainer is just 2 doors down, on the other side of The Huddle and I’ve been watching this space for a long time. They started working in the kitchen and practicing about 2 weeks out from their opening, more of less. It was fun to look in and see what was baking. BG was put up for sale back in 2016 and found no takers, not sure why. So when it closed I wasn’t that surprised. It had a good run and was done. I was delighted to see the Trust Group take over the spot.

Cardellino is going to cover all day parts, which is pretty new for the Trust Group, they usually just do dinner and weekend brunch. I haven’t yet seen the breakfast or lunch menus, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what they are. They still had some baked goods left in the pastry case and they looked promising.

BTW, the door is no longer in the center of the storefront, they moved it up towards Ft. Stockton.

RD…I think a few of the items are carry overs from Trust or Fort Oak, but it’s an ambitious project, the biggest one they’ve done yet. I don’t think their intent was to be adventurous as much as it was to be a great neighborhood joint that you can rely on for good food all day long.

My guess is that they wanted to open with something they knew they could manage well while they get acclimated to the new space, service and customer preferences. I also think they wanted to keep the price points reasonable so that diners could come on a frequent basis and bring their kids too. I could be totally off base, but I suspect you’ll see some fluidity with the menu once they settle into a regular routine. We shall see. In the meantime, what they are doing, they appear to be doing pretty well.

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