Despite its traditional billing as a winter item, a platter of oysters is ideal for summer snacking on a patio (and with modern fishing practices, you can enjoy the shellfish this time of year without worrying, too). Perhaps that’s why the raw offerings have been such a popular draw at Mezini, the Italian restaurant that opened at 492 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope last week. “We have people who have been coming back three or four times,” says owner Agnese Mezina. “Mostly neighborhood people.”
Mezina has been working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, and before opening Mezini, she served as the manager of Jean-Georges restaurant JoJo on the Upper East Side. But when she decided to work on her own project, she wanted to leave fast-paced Manhattan. “The city was just too busy for me,” she says. “I like Park Slope. I like the people. I like the neighborhood. It took me awhile to find this place, but I knew I wanted to open here.”
She found the space when decades-old Park Slope Restaurant moved in with its sibling concept Green Kitchen down the block, and she turned over the interior to include the exposed brick wall and hardwood floors aesthetic that’s nearly ubiquitous in this neighborhood.
Mezini supplements its mollusks with an Italian menu that goes way beyond that of an average spaghetti and lasagna joint. Chef Vino Castri is a native of Puglia, and he put together a menu that includes items such as filet mignon served with a chickpea puree and a whole baked branzino. You can wash down all the entrees with a glass (or bottle) of Italian wine.
Mezini is only open for dinner at this time, but Mezina says she’ll open the restaurant for both lunch and weekend brunch in the coming weeks.