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A table full of dishes at Theodora, a new restaurant from Miss Ada.
Theodora opens on Friday.

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The Owner of Miss Ada Has a New Wood-Fired Restaurant

Theodora serves seafood, with some Mexico City touches, in Fort Greene

For months, Tomer Blechman has been riding a small manual scooter up and down Cumberland Street in Fort Greene. He starts at Miss Ada, the restaurant he opened in 2017, then turns toward Fulton Street and kicks like hell. After two uphill blocks, he reaches Theodora. The new restaurant has been in the works for a year and a half, but on Friday, the scooting’s over. Theodora finally opens.

Theodora is bigger and more ambitious than Miss Ada. It’s also more expensive. The 20-item menu is divided into sections: raw seafood ($20 to $30), cooked seafood ($25 to $30), bread ($15), vegetables ($15 to $20), and bigger dishes ($40 to $60). Almost everything involves fish. And almost all of the fish is cooked over a big charcoal fire in the open kitchen.

For most dishes, the process starts in a dry-age refrigerator. Black cod, striped bass, and swordfish are set out in a dry-age refrigerator until their skin becomes soft and leathery. That’s ideal if your end goal, like Blechman’s, is a fish with crisp, blistery skin. He cooks the fish in a wood-fired oven, or right over a bed of charcoal, until they become cracker-like on one side, like chicharron.

Two people stand in front of a fire in an open kitchen at Theodora.
The open kitchen has a wood-fired oven and grill.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Other fish aren’t cooked at all. The restaurant’s yellowtail is cut into pieces and served in a bowl with lime and dashi: It looks like an abstract painting. The tuna belly is sliced thinner and served with mango over crunchy lavash. If you squint, it might remind you of a Mexican tostada.

One of the owners, Gerardo Estevez, is from Mexico City. He’s the reason the sliced beets are drizzled in salsa macha and the charred prawns come with pineapple pico de gallo. His influence on the food is subtle but impossible to miss at the bar, which serves mezcal, Pacifico on draft, and carajillos, a shaken cocktail that’s similar to an espresso martini. (Really, it’s much better than one.)

Beyond seafood, the restaurant has breads, like pita and Jerusalem bagels, and vegetables that are cooked over the fire. There’s also one holdover from Miss Ada that fans of that restaurant will be glad to see — the popular whipped ricotta, made with brown butter, honey, and sage.

The back dining room at Theodora, a new restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn Theodora
The bar and chef’s counter at Theodora, a new restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Theodora has around 80 seats.

Theodora has about 80 seats, between the bar, the dining room, and a small counter. The designer, Home Studios, also constructed the Brooklyn restaurants Sisters and Fausto. Like those places, Theodora has custom light fixtures and architectural touches, like cutouts in the walls large enough to fit two diners.

Seven years ago, Blechman wouldn’t have thought of opening a restaurant like that in Fort Greene. “I would have thought to do this in Manhattan,” he says. But the neighborhood has changed since he opened Miss Ada. Developers have lined Fulton Street with high-rise apartments and new restaurants are moving in. In addition to Theodora, Blechman is opening a bakery on Greene Avenue this spring.

He calls Theodora “another restaurant for the neighborhood.” And I guess he would know. He lives a short scoot away, after all.

Theodora is located at 7 Greene Avenue, near Fulton Street. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations are available on Resy.

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