Now stepping in to redeem eggplant's sodden reputation: berenjenas con miel ($8) at the brand-new La Vara in Cobble Hill.
We do not say such things lightly, but four--count 'em--four visits have confirmed that nearly every item on this menu of Spanish food influenced by the country's Moorish and Jewish legacies is outstandingly delicious.
Consider that eggplant: Wrapped in cornstarch, the eggplant is fried until it wears the lightest of skins and is then plated with a helping of honey, nigella seeds and a melting-cheese duo. The trick to the eggplant's delicateness? A technique copped from Montero's time frying agedashi tofu at Nobu.
Keep the fryer interaction going with artichokes ($9) and pescaíto frito ($11). Dip the former in a coddled-egg-anchovy aioli, the latter in a lacy fish-fry plate accompanied by a zippy caper sauce.
Fideúa--a toasted-noodle paella ($16)--is stellar, as are chicken hearts with a riotously fresh herb salad ($13).
Our only regret as we ate molletes ($8), pitas filled with a bacon-pork-belly-paprika stew, was that we couldn't also eat them for breakfast the next morning. Thankfully, Raij assures us brunch is on the horizon.
La Vara, 268 Clinton St. (between Warren St. and Verandah Pl.), Brooklyn; 718-422-0065