At the time, Santos-Nevos was an editor at Epicurious and attending culinary school. She joined Donnelly in the kitchen for a pop-up event at City Grit. “That was the first time we cooked together and that was the birth of the pão de queijo sliders,” Santos-Nevos said. Rolfe saw potential in their collaboration and they started developing the Comodo menu together over successive Sundays. They bring the same creative dynamic to Colonia Verde.
“Certain menu items are definitely his and some are all mine but we’re not competitive. It’s very nice. There’s a lot of back and forth,” Santos-Neves said.
Their new menu relies heavily on the wood burning grill they built for the new location and they’ve quickly become known for their lomo al trapo, beef tenderloin covered in a coarse salt and water paste then tied up in a cloth and put directly in the embers of the fire to cook until a salt crust forms, perfectly seasoning the beef which stays juicy inside. Grilled trout is served with a pistachio coconut sauce and charred langoustines come with a cilantro chimichurri.
“We have this amazing grill and it reminds us that the simplicity of food is what makes it delicious,” Rofe said.
Beyond the grill, fennel sausage is topped with hard boiled eggs and Mexican-style esquite corn. Their cochinita, a slow braised pork shoulder, is served with a leek purée and buttermilk fried chicken gets a three chili rubdown. The farofa loca with red rice, brussels sprouts, fried chickpeas, and toasted pecans is a far from the traditional Brazilian dish but has many converts.
“The spirit of Brooklyn is experimental and creative and it allows you to be a little edgy and try out different things,” explains Rofe. “It give us more room to imagine the dishes and what we might want to do.”
While they’ve expanded quickly, they decided to start with a smaller menu that allows them to be creative from week to week and focus on new ingredients and local inspiration.
“Let’s bring that spirit of the long weekend with good food, beer, drinks and a nice steak,” Rofe said. “We want to be a true neighborhood gem and really live up to it."