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PRESTO CHANGE-O

The Brooklyn Paper
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When diners think of a delicious dinner in Park Slope, Tempo, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and wine bar on Fifth Avenue comes to mind. The casually elegant Tempo is great for an evening meal, but if you’ve craved the sunny flavors of chef Michael Fiore’s cooking for a quick midday bite or thought his lusty "duck roll" or "salmon a la plancha" would impress business associates at an office lunch of delicious take-out fare, you were out of luck.

Until now.

Tempo Presto, the restaurant’s adjacent takeout annex, celebrated its grand opening on July 23. The diminutive storefront’s menu offers some of Fiore’s popular dinner fare and hot and cold sandwiches like the heated "Presto porchetta," Fiore’s house-made roast pork with rosemary, hot Italian peppers and wild mustard greens atop ciabatta, which is a bargain at $6.95.

Add $3 to the price of a sandwich and you’ll receive a side of marinated chickpea salad, one of several selections, and a cookie wrapped to go in the Presto lunch box. Pastry chef Lynn Quirgogara rounds out a meal with her "Brooklyn Bite Meez," a selection of delicate cookies, cupcakes and lemon bars. Her red velvet cupcakes are pictured at left.

There’s house-made golden apricot chutney and steak sauce, gelato and sorbetti (sorbets), too. I’ve tasted the gelatos and sorbets and they’re as light and silky as any I savored in Rome. Four sorbets and eight gelatos are available daily in blends like orange-cardamom, Nutella swirl, and "Chocolate Stix & Stones" - dark chocolate, candied peanuts and white chocolate-dipped pretzels that’s more Ben & Jerry’s than anything you’ll find in Italy.

But when it’s this good, why be a purist?

Tempo Presto (254 Fifth Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place) accepts cash only. The takeout counter is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday, from 11 am to 10 pm. Sandwiches: $4.95-$7.25; gelato and sorbetti: $3.50-$5; sides: $3.50; baked goods: $1-$2.25. For information call (718) 636-8899.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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