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The Mott

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The Mott: A cozy find with thoughtful cooking pops up in Nolita

  • Cuisine: Modern American
  • Vibe: Charming downtown nook
  • Occasion: Casual date, group dinner, intimate evening
  • Don’t Miss: Fluke crudo, ricotta gnocchi, duck breast with spinach and figs
  • Price: Appetizers, $11; entrees, $22; desserts, $7
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Phone: 212-966-1411
  • Location: 173 Mott St., at Broome

I have to admit: Dinner’s a lot more affordable when there’s no
alcohol on the menu. But most people like to have a drink with dinner.
These days, you need one. Or two.

It’s hard enough to open a
restaurant, never mind a sobering one. The Mott, a new establishment in
Nolita, had to debut without a liquor license. There was some saga
about how Emma Cleary, a former owner, parted ways and took The Mott’s liquor license with her.

But
you know what? The Mott’s doing pretty well without one and it’s not
because of the location. It’s situated at the edge of Nolita, on the
verge of Chinatown, where the only other thing open at night is one of
those Tui-Na massage parlors.

The space is wonderfully quaint — a
38-seat nook furnished with romantic lighting, tin ceilings,
whitewashed brick walls and a padded brown leather bar. There’s a
small, well-edited menu of American dishes like pan-seared cod, chilled
summer tomato soup and roasted chicken with haricots vert and
fingerling potatoes.

The flavors are much bigger than the menu. The chef, Brian Bieler, used to cook at Upstairs at Bouley and Cafe Luxembourg. Here he’s cooking what he wants to cook.

When
a chef is happy, you can ­really taste it on the plate. Fluke crudo
tends to be delicate and subtle. Not at The Mott. Raw fluke — sprinkled
with diced cantaloupe, sea salt, snap peas and a generous dose of chili
oil — is sweet and spicy and sour all in the same bite. There are a lot
of gnocchi dishes in this city, but the ricotta gnocchi at The Mott are
perfectly cooked, pillowy nibbles, coupled with fresh artichokes and
toasted pine nuts in an artichoke reduction sauce…

For more on NY Daily News

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