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A Fine-Dining Veteran Turns to Street Food

Category: Food & Drink,Lifestyle

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Diana Tandia’s path has taken her from her native Mauritania to Paris and finally to New York, where she studied political science at Borough of Manhattan Community College. The next step was the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), and then the kitchens of Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Now, nearly 40, she has opened her own place, Berber Street Food, a minuscule canteen where she draws on her high-end experience to serve well-prepared street food specialties from Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, the Sahara and other parts of Africa, even touching down in the Caribbean with accra fritters and jerk wings. Senegalese djolof fried rice, Nigerian brochettes and a Moroccan vegetable tagine are a few of the other dishes on the menu. The restaurant, brightened with African fabrics, baskets and rainbow piles of hot chiles, seats 15 at chairs and stools, and fields a steady stream of customers for takeout. “Going out on my own, I did not want to stay in fine dining,” she said. Still, her presentation is gracious, overcoming the constraints of paper napkins and plastic utensils.

35 Carmine Street (Bedford Street), 646-870-0495, berberstreetfood.com.

Opening

Klein’s

The bright blue used by the painter Yves Klein, and reflected in the centerpiece Molteni equipment in the kitchen, inspired this restaurant’s name. The hotel it occupies, an English import, sits on the site of a former factory for Rosenwach tanks, the wooden water towers atop many New York buildings. At the behest of his employers, the chef, Matthew Deliso, a native of Long Island, has devised a mostly American menu with bucatini and meatballs, and charred Amish chicken. The setting is decidedly laid-back for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Summerly, a rooftop restaurant, and Backyard, a terrace for casual fare like wood-fired nachos, are also open.

The Hoxton, Williamsburg, 97 Wythe Avenue (North 10th Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 718-215-7100, thehoxton.com.

Misi

Just as she promised, the chef Missy Robbins is offering a menu in her new restaurant that consists of 10 vegetable-based dishes (listed as antipasti) and 10 pastas made in the restaurant’s own pasta room. You might start with grilled runner beans in a garlic vinaigrette, grilled baby artichokes with mint salsa verde, or whole roasted eggplant with Calabrian chile, lemon and olive oil. Then dig into spaghetti with fennel pesto and almonds, or tortelli filled with spinach and mascarpone in brown butter. It’s the food, not the neutral décor, that’s eye-catching.

329 Kent Avenue (South Fourth Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 347-566-3262, misinewyork.com.

Mekelburg’s

A larger, shiny new version of the Clinton Hill grocery, cheese and charcuterie shop, bar and restaurant has opened in the Two Trees development at Domino Park. It will be ready in stages, and will take about a month for all the new features to operate. The new space has a gas-fueled kitchen, which will eventually allow a broader menu than the sandwiches and craft beers for which the original is known. For now, the food menu is limited to pastries and cold sandwiches. There is also a coffee bar and a window to the street, which is open now.

319 Kent Avenue (South Third Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 929-457-6315, mekelburgs.com.


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