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If you’re looking for a touch of Latin in Downtown Brooklyn, then you’ll be thrilled to hear about the opening of Taino Soleil [121 Livingston St. at Adams Street, (718) 858-8778]. Ramon Martinez’s new “cocina latina” serves a mixture of Cuban, Dominican, Mexican and Puerto-Rican dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday.

More than a restaurant, this cozy space, which seats about 50 diners, also has a bar and lounge.

The plush leather banquettes and muted lighting conspire to create a comfortable, stylish ambiance that’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a night of live karaoke on Tuesdays, ladies night on Wednesdays and Latin night — with a live DJ — on Fridays.

“We use family recipes [to give our customers] a welcoming and hearty meal,” general manager Iman Saleh told Breaking Chews about the restaurant, which opened in June. Among the popular dishes are the “guisado,” a Dominican beef or chicken stew, and the “sancocho,” a velvety root vegetable soup with pork.

“You may have to wait a little longer, but the ‘pork mofongo’ — a Puerto Rican, green plantain mash — is delicious,” said Saleh. (The “mofongo” is also available with shrimp.)

Enjoy an ice-cold mojito while you wait — just $4 during happy hour, with fresh mint and lime and housemade simple syrup, said Saleh.

Caving in to the demands of their customers, the restaurant has recently added honey chipotle wings to their repertoire, said Saleh. Look for them at happy hour and on the appetizer menu.

Taino Soleil is also open for Sunday brunch, from 10 am to 4 pm, and is closed on Saturdays, except for private parties.

Let’s do lunch

Flatbush Farm [76–78 St. Marks Ave. at Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 622-3276] is lightening up for the summer, with a lunch service and a new summer menu created by chef Stephen Browning.

Their lunch features a small selection of sandwiches, such as the popular BLT or the fried green tomato sandwich, with pesto and mozzarella on ciabatta bread.

The summer menu is likely to change over the course of the season, but for now, owner Damon Gorton said that customers of the bistro have been favoring the rabbit pappardelle — with zucchini, squash, basil, mushrooms and sun-dried tomato — and the house-cured bresaola salad, with bresaola beef, wild arugula, shaved Parmesan, country toast and truffle oil.

Order your meal with a cool watermelon margarita or pear martini, and enjoy it all in the restaurant’s 1,500-square-foot garden out back.

Mice in Cob Hill

News flash: Mice found at the Tea Lounge [254 Court St. at Kane Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 624-5683]!

But luckily, these refined rodents are hanging on the walls of the cafe, not sniffing around in the kitchen.

Fantasy and science-fiction artist Alan Beck has created a series of miniature portraits by painting mice into classic portraits, such as “Napoleon Bonamouse,” “Mouse with a Pearl Earring,” and Beck’s personal favorite, “George Mousington.” Beck will display his “Mouseopoli­tan Museum of Art Series” on the walls of the Tea Lounge until Aug. 30.

Because the paintings are “mouse-sized,” the largest one is 8-inches by 10-inches and the rest are 4-inches by 6-inches.

“I wouldn’t want to make a larger painting. If you do a large mouse it becomes a monster, and it loses its appeal,” reasoned the Boerum Hill-based artist, whose other works, such as drawings of baby dragons playing with kittens, are also on display.

At any rate, we think that the Tea Lounge is going to sell a lot more grilled cheese sandwiches this month.

Posted 8:40 pm, August 7, 2008
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