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Pete Wells Digs Chez Ma Tante for Its Resistance to ‘Cheflike Impulses’

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The Greenpoint bistro gets two stars

Chez Ma Tante’s spare dining room with dark wood tables and bar
The dining room of Chez Ma Tante
Stephen Yang

Greenpoint neighborhood bistro Chez Ma Tante keeps on raking in the accolades, this time with a laudatory two-star review from Pete Wells at the Times. The critic adores the menu from chef Aidan O’Neal, including seemingly disparate items like falafel, chicken liver pâté, and kohlrabi salad.

He’s particularly a fan of the pancakes at weekend brunch, which show O’Neal and chef de cuisine Jake Leiber’s instinct “to resist cheflike impulses and think like hungry campers.” The dinner menu, too, displays a “healthy disregard for refinement” that Wells enjoys, though it’s not clear what kind of food the restaurant is trying to serve, he writes:

Whether Chez Ma Tante’s kedgeree is a proper kedgeree I don’t know. It is, essentially, white rice dyed yellow with curry powder and mixed with hard-cooked egg and flaked cod. A fair amount of butter seems to be involved. On top is a crunchy salad of celery stalks and leaves. Somehow it’s rich and refreshing and soothing and exciting at the same time.

How did falafel, fried to a crackle and served over hummus and harissa with pickle wheels, get here? Not sure, but it is a great improvement over most of the vegetarian options you meet around town.

The review follows four-star reviews from both New York magazine and Eater’s Robert Sietsema, solidly placing Chez Ma Tante — which opened last spring — in the destination neighborhood dining category. For Wells, overall the food here is “consistently good.” Two stars.

Chez Ma Tante

90 Calyer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (718) 389-3606 Visit Website

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