The Mott: Less Regal Than It Sounds
The Mott, a new opening in Little Italy/Nolita, strangely both wow-ed and disappointed me. What I mean is that the food is remarkably good, yet there was something off about the entire experience. The Mott is a strange place, as it stands right now.
Located on a very discreet corner off Broome St in Nolita, it is a quiet and simple spot. No glitz, no glamour, no frills. The narrow restaurant has a narrow bar, which is rendered totally useless by the lack of liquor license (an issue I will address in a bit). Tables along the side wall and in the small back area are ‘rustic’ wood with few adornments. The white walls are tastefully covered in black-and-white photographs and large pop art paintings, all of which are for sale. Critics and bloggers have dubbed The Mott as ‘cozy,’ but I didn’t think so at all. The stark white walls, chilly temperature, lackluster service, and contemporary art left me feeling cold. There is definitely a downtown charm to the place, but cozy it is not.
Unfortunately, The Mott is known in the restaurant scene for the very public departure of Emma Cleary just before opening. Cleary walked away with the liquor license, putting The Mott in a very difficult position of a fine food establishment with no alcohol. To be honest, I didn’t think this would bother me. And it did, to the extent that there were no other beverages available. You’d think if they had no booze, they would at least have sodas, right? No go.
So aside from the slightly chilled atmosphere and the bizarre beverage sitation, the food was actually very very good. A small menu with only6-8 starters and 6-8 entrees, the theme is ‘contemporary American.’ On recommendation, I went for the Ricotta Gnocchi while my friend Jen had the Sea Scallops. The gnocchi was divine: light, airy, pure pebbles of ricotta with sweet corn, bacon and something that tasted like caramelized onions. It was both decadent and refreshing. The scallops were gigantic, plump, and delicately prepared (as they should be!).
If you’re looking for good food, I would absolutely recommend The Mott. It almost seems to have been made exclusively for foodies. However, if you’re looking for an experience, this is not your place. They do not have the jive down at all and the scene is a bit triste.