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The Mallmann Diaspora

BY lisal

May 30, 2017

Metta, Norberto Piattoni’s Fort Green neighborhood restaurant

Francis Mallmann, the revered Argentinian chef made famous by his many restaurants around the world, a couple of books on his cooking style and a hit television series, Chef’s Table, has ensured his legacy with a diaspora of chef proteges, two of whom have rolled up in New York.  Norberto, better known to his friends as Negro, recently opened Metta, a neighborhood restaurant located on a quiet corner two blocks from the Fort Greene farmers market in Brooklyn. It offers sustainably sourced, vegetable-forward dishes all cooked in a custom designed, open-fire kitchen, using South American asado techniques, utilizing all aspects of the fire (smoke, flame, ash and embers) to create layers of flavor in dishes.  Packed with happy diners the night I went, it is relaxed, delicious, interesting and fun.

Flora Bar, Ignacio Mattos’ third opening in New York

Ignacio Mattos was born in Uruguay and learned to cook in the kitchens of Mallman and Slow Food legend, Alice Waters.  His two other restaurants in New York, Estela, with its bold, Mediterranean-inspired cooking, and Altro Paradiso, with its Italian cuisine, are favorites of mine.  Now, Ignacio has come with his team to the Met Brauer on 76th and Madison, offering small bites as well as main dishes in a comfortable setting either indoors or on the open terrace.  Service is superb, wines delicious and the food captivating.  The space, in my opinion, could do with some tlc – easily accomplished.  If you can serve food like that, a bit of flower planting and decorating should come easy.