Mettā: My New Neighborhood Haunt

There’s no table I’d rather post up at for dinner right now than the marble 6-top directly right of the front door at Mettā. The corner table sits below some big south-west facing windows that let the light pour in, plants drape from the sills and, most importantly, the food coming out of the wood-fired kitchen is especially notable. 

Mettā opened in my beloved Fort Greene neighborhood three weeks ago and I’ve already been a few times to try it out. Disclosure: a good friend is a partner, so I’ve watched it come together for sometime and I’ve also been privied to certain treatment. As a result of this same friendship though I’ve become friends with others at the new restaurant and been able to enjoy Chef Negro’s cooking a few times over the last year. Once, this summer at Pioneer Works, and again at a small dinner at his apartment that he hosts regularly for others in the hospitality industry. I’ve always been impressed. 

Though Chef Negro is often mentioned along with his former boss Francis Mallmann, who is known for his dramatic splaying of carcasses over blistering embers in Patagonia, it’s often Negro’s less dramatic and more delicate delicate offerings that surprise and interest me the most. His preserved vegetable salads. The bread he’s now making. The flounder and mashed potatoes. These are the dishes that really excite me...not to mention the bluefish. Though there’s plenty of meat on the menu, Mettā is not a carnivore’s den or some temple to Latin American BBQ.  

But why is this corner booth so appealing? Because the space at Mettā is so warm and inviting, something about the light that comes in from the big windows, the wood and stone interior, the big hearth in the open kitchen - the heat form which you can feel throughout the dining room. It’s really an idea spot, especially if there’s a touch of chill in the air. 

Home Studios is responsible for the designing space and there are also some nice contributions from Sublet Studios (artwork) and Clay Pond Studios (giant hand-thrown sconces and dishwear). The bar in itself is the result of a nice design move too. I’d describe it as having a sort of 70’s LA vibe, but I’m told that the design direction was to subtly nod to Chef Negro’s Latin American roots without being too overt. Whatever it is, it works. It’s beautiful. I just wish the barstools wrapped all the way around, so one could take the always-coveted end-of-the-bar perch to survey the landscape and settle in. 

Behind the bar there’s plenty of great wine and a deeper-than-usual Amaro selection too. And that’s just one more reason you’ll be able to find me there, at the corner table, or not.