Poor Columbia Street. In Manhattan, streets are completely torn up, repaired, and repaved and functional in a day. But for the past 6 months this street on the edge of Carroll Gardens and Red Hook has been in a stages of distinct disrepair, each frustrating in its own particular way. There were the potholes of the summer, the big dig of the fall -when all the concrete and asphalt were removed and new concrete poured- and the seemingly intentional crevices the new concrete came with, which were worse than the potholes. But all that uneven walking couldn’t hide the fact that it’s lined with some interesting bars, and a month ago it gained something kind of novel for the area, a tapas bar.
This “Mediterranean Kitchen” and wine bar that seemed as obvious as it was welcome. Sure, nearly every neighborhood has their own version, but Columbia Street didn’t have theirs. And some fresh tasting Mediterranean fare sounded just like what it needed. It seemed especially so when you looked inside. The many light fixtures bathed the large room in low yellow light, and the dark furniture made it feel like a place to get comfortable.
Unfortunately, things were in the usual first day disarray when we went on opening night, which was equally annoying (they didn’t know how properly pop the cork) and hilarious (they filled the enormous red wine glass to the tip-top). The food looked good, but it lacked focus. The long menu wandered through nearly every country in the Mediterranean from Turkey to Morocco, and there weren’t that many wines by the glass. But things have changed in the past month, both for the neighborhood and the bar.
One quiet day, Columbia was paved perfectly smooth, and on our revisit to Mazzat, things were running much more smoothly as well. The bartenders were confident and more inviting. The food looked even better and came out on time and hot. The biggest seller is the Moroccan Chicken Cigars, which look like spring rolls, and are loaded with herbs and extra moist chicken. These improvements have translated into larger crowds. And for that we’re happy.
It still needs some focus, but it’s worth it right now for the atmosphere alone.
208 Columbia Street, Brooklyn