The Castello Plan Opens in Ditmas Park This Friday

The Mimi's family is about to get a little bigger. This Friday, Ben Heemskerk will partner with Avi Shuker, one of the owners of Ditmas Park hummus restaurant, to open the Castello Plan. The wine bar will be located two storefronts down from Mimi's on Cortelyou Road, and next door to Market, the specialty food store that the Mimi's team opened last month. The bar takes its name from the first map of Manhattan, which was drawn by none other than Jacques Cortelyou, the first mapmaker for the city and the namesake of Ditmas Park's burgeoning restaurant row.

Heemskerk, who first met Mimi's owner Mimi Kitami when the two worked across the street as servers at The Farm on Adderley, says that the bar will feature about 110 wines sourced from around the world and 12 Belgian beers. He says there will be an emphasis on small producers from places like Morocco, Uruguay, and Croatia "that maybe don't get the marketing and hype" of some of their bigger counterparts. "There are very small producers who are really dedicated to the art of wine making," says Heemskerk, adding that he's particularly enamored of the charms of Massaya, a Bordeaux blend from Lebanon, and Burgundy from Simon Bize. Glasses will run $7 to $12, and Belgian beers will start at $4.

The bar, whose seating for 40-50 people will be augmented by a backyard garden in the spring and summer, will also have a seasonally driven food menu from Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky. Pogrebinsky, who originally hails from Ukraine and has worked extensively as a private chef, has created 17 dishes, including pickled mushroom salad with sunflower oil, Spanish morcilla sausage with yellow lentils, and rabbit stew. Pogrebinsky plans to expand her repertoire to eventually include late-night and brunch menus; the Russian-Spanish-French-influenced dishes, she says, will be "sophisticated but very simple, focusing on natural, seasonal flavors. It will be comfort food that's excellent with wine and talking."


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