Masten Lake

30. November 2011 American, Brooklyn, Italian 0

285 Bedford Avenue between South 1st Street and Grand in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
around $125 for 2, with 3 drinks, with tip
♥ ♥ ♥

I was talking to my friend Stacie about where we’ve both eaten lately and as we went through our list, she said, There really hasn’t been anything exciting since Momofuku Ko. I thought about this for a few seconds and I agreed. Sure, I’ve been to some good restaurants the last few months–August and Riverpark among them–but she was right: nothing has stood out. That is until I sat at the bar of Masten Lake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During my first visit, there was a generous piece of fresh and unadulterated mackerel served with sour tomatillos and sunchokes with a dusting of Japanese ground spices and a hint of yuzu. It made me get up and walk towards the open kitchen to ask who was cooking that night. It wasn’t a new dish, and any mortal can buy that spice from Sunrise Mart on St. Marks Place–I just haven’t had it that way before.

My second visit was a more wintry night and my companion and I split a comfortable bowl of pici with tripe. This is definitely hand-rolled, he said while pointing at the pasta with his fork. Of course, it is; an alumna of Lupa wouldn’t have it any other way, right? Its heftiness lent itself to the subtle offal taste of the tripe; the crushed tomatoes rounded the dish off. It was a little heavy on the salt, as heavy-handed as the tagliatelle with mussels during my first visit, though the burrata with the shellfish made it more palatable. There are other, shall I say, whimsical and lighter dishes to share, which change almost nightly, like the apples with sheep’s milk cheese and foie gras with smears of melon and mascarpone. You get used to sliding and passing ceramics back and forth, creating works of food art on plates and bowls. Order several wedges of cheese and a plate of thinly-sliced lardo to compliment the easy choices of wine and nicely-made cocktails.

The next time I visit, I’ll take Stacie with me and we’ll cover our palettes with smudges and smears of the day’s freshest ingredients.

Related post/s:
Masten Lake photos on Flickr
Kale and bacon salad from Lupa
Momofuku Ko in 2008