When we crossed the threshold of de Mole in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we immediately considered doubling back for our Panama Jack hats and 1950s-style aviator glasses. Subway delays meant our inner Hemingway energy would have to do, though, so we took a seat in the airy dining room. The wide-open windows, big colonial-style fans, and cocktail bar delivered more than enough charm to woo even the most cynical Manhattanites on the L train to Brooklyn.
Though the restaurant’s interior oozes Spanish Colonial charm, the menu is proudly Mexican, highlighting the flavors of the Puebla region. Puebla is most famous for its Mexican victory against colonial overlords in the Battle of Puebla, a battle that eventually led to Mexican independence. You can see this tension between old world and new throughout the restaurant and menu. But let’s table the history lesson for now, and get to cocktails.
We started with an “El Anticuado” (US$13), a wonderfully rich and smoky Mezcal Old-Fashioned, and an Oaxacan Mule (US$14), a citrusy and bright take on the classic favorite. In this version, the traditional copper mug is ditched and, instead, the drink is served in a beautiful ceramic vessel made by Guanajato-based artist Javier Servin. This beautiful cup (though cup doesn’t feel adequate to describe it – maybe chalice?) is just a teaser of dinnerware and glassware to come. It’s not often that you get to eat and drink from something as colorful and pretty as the meal itself.
Not long into our first cocktails, we were treated to a Pork Belly Guacamole appetizer (US$16). The fat from the pork was beautifully balanced with the lightness of the guacamole, and the savoriness perfectly complemented our more acidic cocktails.
Shortly after, the Fire and Ice Ceviche (US$18), a showstopper of an appetizer, was served. This gorgeous dish (almost too pretty to eat), exemplified the restaurant’s playfulness with tension and dichotomy. The dish is almost like ceviche sorbet. The fire comes from spices and the ice from frozen cantaloupe, which contrasted with one another beautifully. It was crisp and tangy with a strong citrus flavor and leche de Tigre broth (lime, olive oil, cilantro). And it was the perfect palate cleanser to get us refreshed and ready for the next course.
The first entree to arrive was the Pollo Con Salsa Roja (US$20). For those who didn’t pay attention in high school Spanish, this Chicken with Red Sauce dish is covered with a tangy and peppery guajillo sauce and accompanied with Oaxaca cheese mashed potatoes. This is pure Puebla comfort food. This mix of smoky, warm sauces, rich and garlicky mashed potatoes, and fresh baby kale will remind you of a holiday meal and will have you searching for the nearest sofa for the requisite post-meal nap.
We would’ve been satisfied if the meal had ended here, but we had to make room for the deliciousness that had yet to come. Our second entrée was a pan-sautéed salmon (US$18) with a rich mole sauce of 21 spices, including chocolate, cumin, salt, thyme, plantains, and (how many is that?) 17 more! The skin on the salmon was perfectly crisp but was nothing compared to the sauce.
This was our first encounter with mole sauce (the namesake of the restaurant), and we were disappointed that it had taken us this long to experience it. The mole was complicated, smooth and rich, and created an effect in the mouth that felt almost celebratory. Your tastebuds can feel the days-long process that went into making this sauce. Accompanying the mole was chestnut rice, a perfect vehicle that provided a sweetness that was completely at home in the dish and gave us the perfect segue to dessert.
We finished our meal with something that may feel simple but blew us away – Peaches and Cream (US$6). A well-known Southern American classic with a Mexican twist, the centerpiece poached peach was topped with Mexican cinnamon, cream cheese mousse, a coconut tuile, and key lime sauce. This simple dessert was perfectly light and satisfying, and an especially nice cap to a filling, rich meal.
Halfway through an exquisite bite, we learned that the head chef started his career by working in pastry. And suddenly everything about this beautifully crafted end to our dining experience made sense.
Nearly two hours after we arrived, the meal was over, and the restaurant’s vibe had completely changed. The laid back dinner-time atmosphere transformed into a buzzy and electric post-dinner bar scene that made us wish we could stay a bit longer. De Mole delivered us into a happy trance and nothing could faze us. Even the inevitable L train delay that awaited us didn’t have a chance.
Visit de Mole
Get all the information on de Mole below.
Address: 2 Hope Street Brooklyn, NY 11211
Call: +1 347 721 3399
Written by Zach Tomasovic
Article Date: December 2019
MISSED OUR LAST NEW YORK NEWS ARTICLE? IT’S ON ROASTED MASALA.
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