Chef Jehangir Mehta’s follow-up to Graffiti, Mehtaphor, opened just three days ago in the Duane Street Hotel. Last night, the small space was packed, mainly with folks who seemed to know Mehta. The two bar areas, communal table, and handful of stand-alone tables all occupy a room the size of a small Brooklyn railroad apartment, so a certain intimacy with your neighbors is unavoidable.
Obviously a three-day-old restaurant is going to have some rough edges, and it isn’t fair to pass judgment on it yet. But overall, I enjoyed the food we tried last night. Mehta’s influences are all over the place, and it’s entertaining to see what the next plate will bring, especially because most of it tastes really good aside from being conceptually interesting. Plates run $9, $12, or $17, depending on size. Here’s a catalog of some of the dishes we tried …
Ice-cold oysters topped with pop rocks ($9) make the bivalve feel alive inside your mouth.
At $17, I thought these shrimp kabobs were overpriced, but loved the seasoning of aromatic kalonji seeds and the green papaya raita.
Shrimp ceviche ($9) tasted mainly of sweet citrus and could have used a kick of chile.
This lamb shank ($17) was coated in a delicious masala paste that’s spicy and slightly sweet, tasting like there might be caramelized onions in there somewhere. The sweet potato fries were very crisp.
130 Duane Street