Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Zagat: Herbs Go from Garden to Glass at Meadowsweet

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One Brooklyn restaurant has a full-sized herb garden inside. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.

A new restaurant in Brooklyn took it's herb garden inside and is using the results in your cocktails.

Chef Polo Dobkin's Meadowsweet is a brand new edition to the South Williamsburg dining scene. and it may be only New York City restaurant that has a full herb garden inside the eatery. It's perched above the entryway in a custom-built loft space. 

"This restaurant was really an inspiration of our time spent Upstate. My father-in-law has an amazing, all-organic garden up there, and it really kind of inspired us to think about the height in this space, and it got us thinking about growing up, growing up high and being able to use that space for something really useful," says general manager Stephanie Lempert.

Ingredients are harvested each night and used as garnishes and for flavoring in the restaurant's cocktail program.

"Every cocktail usually incorporates some aspect of the herbs in the garden," Lempert says.

You've heard of farm to table; well, this is garden to glass.

"There's different kinds of cilantro. You have, like, curly leaf, and then you have this flat one. We decided to use this for the drink because I think it looks quite beautiful. So fresh, so beautiful," Lempert says.
The plantings lend the spaces charm, but it would never be able to keep up with the kitchen's needs.

Chef Dobkin prepares a menu of New American fare that's inspired by the Mediterranean.

"There's Italian influences, southern Spanish influences—also Northern Spanish. It's basically Southern Mediterranean," says Meadowsweet Executive Chef and Co-owner Polo Dobkin.

Diners these days want intricate details about where their ingredients come and this restaurant stands out in Brooklyn's scene by putting theirs in plain sight.

"Meadowsweet is an herb that originated in Europe. It's used in food and wine and flavored vinegars. So we thought the connection of food, wine and condiments was perfect—especially considering we have the herb garden in the front of the restaurant," Dobkin says. 

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