Who says you can’t go home again?
Only two years after leaving Dressler (which would shutter shortly after, due to sordid circumstances that have already been duly discussed), chef Polo Dobkin never could have predicted he’d be back. But back he is—although this time, very much on his own terms.
After a few quiet months spent hanging out in the country, connecting with nature and developing relationships with farmers, he and his wife of six years, Stephanie Lempert, felt ready to open their own eatery that would mirror the lush, green spaces of and utilize the perfect, unfettered ingredients from the Hudson Valley. And when they began putting out feelers for a space (because of a friendship cultivated with the building’s owner over the years) the first offer on 149 Broadway went to Dobkin, which he quickly accepted, and has worked hard to make his own.
The resulting restaurant, Meadowsweet, is a decidedly sunnier counterpoint to the dim and slinky Dressler, which Dobkin and Lempert wound up dismantling down basically to the bricks. They’ve kept the mosaic tiled floors but installed rustic, whitewashed pine walls; swapped out the dark booths and ornate barstools for spare, blond two-tops and caramel-colored banquettes; and added a fertile, mezzanine-level herb garden overhanging the front entrance, designed by Brooklyn Grange and accessed by a slim, wooden ladder.
And while Dobkin earned Brooklyn one of its first Michelin stars with refined, New American fare at Dressler, he hopes to woo the guidebook (and, much more importantly, his patrons) with Mediterranean-influenced dishes this time around. Look for Spanish Octopus paired with chorizo and piquillo peppers; 3-week aged Strip Loin with boulanger potatoes, wild mushrooms and spinach; and Plancha Marina, seared scallops, head-on shrimp and monkfish served with aioli—all accompanied by herb- and fruit-forward cocktails curated by Lempert (both the cilantro and jalapeños in the verdantly green “Friend of the Devil” come from that elevated garden, and the Hudson Valley currants in the garnet-colored “Mighty Quinn” are sourced from a close friend)—as well as fantastic desserts from Battersby alum Jared Rubin, most notably a frozen coconut pie, set into a crumbly streusel crust lined with house-made raspberry jam.
“Certainly our intention and hope is to be reviewed by the Michelin Guide, but whether we get another star or not is largely out of our hands,” shrugs Dobkin.
“Really the most amazing thing about coming back to Broadway is seeing the familiar faces,” he adds, “reuniting with all of the people that had supported us for all of those years, and being able to welcome them back into this restaurant again.”
149 Broadway, Williamsburg