James Beard winner, chef-owner Galen Zamarra, will reopen Mas (Farmhouse) tomorrow in a total revamp of his now 13 year-old restaurant, a year after it was shuttered by a fire.
With narrower tables, the space is less “claustrophobic” and there’s more soundproofing, Zamarra says. But he kept a lot of the original design, like a farmhouse table in the middle of the space and banquettes on the side.
The core of the restaurant will remain largely the same, which includes a regularly changing menu of American and French dishes, which in the past have included fluke tartar with rhubarb pickled spring onions and shrimp with artichokes and a fennel puree.
In a time when longtime restaurants close regularly and novelty often trumps tradition, Zamarra is willing to bet that people will return to what’s essentially a slightly updated version of the old Mas. The chef thinks his restaurant has been popular partly because the restaurant accommodates special-dietary needs, from dairy-free to gluten-free to vegetarians and vegans.
Diners have become more demanding in the past few years, and Mas has always tried to accommodate every request, he says. Not long before the fire, Zamarra even reconfigured the way prep worked in the kitchen so that it would be quick and easy to please even the most finicky diner — including when they order the tasting menu. Animal products can be taken out without a fuss, and dishes that need butter will be finished with it instead, making for an easy solve if a dairy-free diner visits.
“That’s something I’ve changed in the kitchen,” the chef says. “We really focus on trying to make a well-rounded menu that’s very adaptable to meet everybody’s needs. When someone has special requests, it’s not a big deal.”
Take a look at the new Mas (Farmhouse), located at 39 Downing Street, and let us know if you stop by.