Dining

Pillow Talk

Polo Dobkin is back in Williamsburg with Meadowsweet

The young artichokes ($16) at Meadowsweet—with crisp, golden edges peeping out from under a pile of generously dressed leaves and fat pieces of Parmesan—might remind you of a lovely artichoke heart dish you could order here when the restaurant was Dressler.

Polo Dobkin, who cooked at Dressler for years before it closed last summer, is the chef. He's a co-owner of the place now too, along with Stephanie Lempert, his wife. The couple has given the place a makeover, naming the restaurant after a weedy old herb with a faintly sweet flavor. Though it's not yet growing in the indoor herb garden that's been planted with basil, cilantro and rosemary just above the entrance, the meadowsweet is on its way from Dobkin's family farm upstate. 

The food might sound a little snoozy, but you won't find too much to complain about when you've got hot fried crab cakes on avocado purée ($12) or cod pil pil: a big piece of pleasingly salty cod on even more cod, a smooth mash of brandade running with olive oil ($26).

Pastry chef Jared Rubin and his excellent lemon tart

There's also the cuscino ($15) or pillow—a giant ricotta-stuffed bundle folded from a sheet of pasta. It's delightfully simple, swimming in a thin but silky Parmesan broth, bobbing with fresh peas. And a fine roasted chicken ($24) with a crisp, lacy skin, on a bed of wilty escarole and mushrooms. It's good, but after a massive cuscino, the itty-bitty gnocchi-like dumplings do seem a bit stingy.

Order a couple of Jared Rubin's handsomely composed desserts. The lemon tart with chamomile-flavored meringues and a quenelle of strawberry sorbet ($9) is an inviting little fruit bomb that does just what summer desserts ought to do; it sparkles with acidity and freshness and texture.

It seems like the only real mistake you could make is arriving a few minutes early. On a recent sweltering evening, the host told my very pregnant friend to please stand outside and wait until the clock actually struck six. That's when they welcome you in with smiles—not a moment before.

  • Stephanie Lempert and her husband, Polo Dobkin, co-owners of the newly opened Meadowsweet in Williamsburg. The couple has given the place a makeover since its Dressler days.

  • The walls are light and bright now, but the tiled floor remains.

  • An herb garden has been planted upstairs, like a lofted bed, accessible by ladder.

  • The cuscino is a giant ricotta-stuffed bundle folded from a sheet of pasta.

  • Jeremy Adona garnishes the Mighty Quinn cocktail with a sprig of rosemary, picked from the lofted herb garden.

  • Young artichokes with crisp, golden edges peeping out from under a pile of generously dressed leaves and fat pieces of Parmesan.

  • The Friend of the Devil made with Cabeza tequila, habanero, lime and cilantro.

  • Pastry chef Jared Rubin, previously at Battersby, with his superb lemon tart.

  • Lempert's pastoral print hangs on the wall.

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Meadowsweet 149 Broadway Brooklyn NY 11211 718-384-0673

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