After a stint at Navy in Soho, Café Henrie in the Lower East Side, and her Rockaways stand The Castle this past summer, chef Camille Becerra has earned a following. Earlier this month, she opened up her latest stylish outpost, De Maria, right in the heart of Nolita.
Within days of opening, the all-day restaurant on Kenmare Street was filled with a hodgepodge of creative types and lifestyle bloggers eager to snap up shots of Becerra’s Instagram-friendly dishes. By the end of New York Fashion Week, it was obvious De Maria had become a must for the see-and-be-seen crowd.
What’s clear from the minute you walk inside De Maria is that nothing was done without purpose and careful consideration. From the interior space to the art on the walls to the ceramics to the food, it was all curated with a designer vision. Becerra and creative director Grace Lee worked with many of their friends to make the project come to life.
For example, the co-founders of the design and branding studio the MP Shift (Amy Morris and Anna Polonsky) did the minimalist interiors space, which is heavy on wood, with calming, earthy neutral shades. The tables have a matte black finish, which conveniently make for an extra beautiful background when photographing the food. The walls are lined with Donald Judd-inspired pieces, and in the bathroom, there’s a neon blue Virgin Mary piece by Lee, Brand, and Becerra that adds an unexpected touch to the whole vibe. And the chic, striped uniforms were created by Everlane.
In keeping with Becerra’s cooking style, the food leans on the healthy side, but it’s still full of flavor, not to mention color. The vibrant Dragon Bowl, iterations of which existed at Café Henrie, is a flavorful blend of turmeric-poached egg, black chickpea grains, avocado, and tarragon tahini—perfect for breakfast, lunch or even a late afternoon snack. Turmeric, which continues to be a health fad, also comes into play in the chili-turmeric bone broth with milk-foam, herbs, and mustard seed oil, which comes in a big, beautiful ceramic mug with an exaggerated handle by Workaday Handmade. On a cold winter day, the sprouted grain porridge with miso butter and cranberry molasses is the perfect way to warm up your morning. And the lemon-vanilla-black lava salt focaccia is a can’t-miss for any time of the day.
The Space Becerra and Lee enlisted a team of artistic talents to collaborate on the sun-faded space, which was helmed by Amy Morris and Anna Polonsky of the design and branding studio the MP Shift, along with art director Nikki Brand, who also lent her expertise to the project. On the walls, you’ll find works by Donald Judd, Paul Rand, and a neon blue Virgin Mary piece that’s worth going to the bathroom just to see it.
The Playlist A hybrid of Nigerian '70s music, casual jazz, chill tones, and Nina Simone on repeat.
Tribes Local Nolita-ites and a steady stream of stylish people in Becerra and Lee’s orbit, from designers to artists and photographers.
The Menu There’s an all-day breakfast menu with pastries (like lemon-vanilla-black lava salt focaccia and banana bread with coconut and hemp seed) and plates (chili turmeric bone broth and a Rooster bowl with sprouted grains and mackerel). From the lunch specials the colorful Fire Dragon bowl with turmeric-poached egg and black chickpea grains is a can’t-miss. Weekend additions include a Bergamont chocolate waffle and house yogurt coddled egg. Beverages include fresh juices, coffee, cocktails, and wine. Breakfast starts at $4, lunch at $11, and wine at $7.
Basics 19 Kenmare Street, New York, New York, 10012. Call 212-966-3058 for reservations. Hours: Open daily for breakfast, lunch and aperitivo pre-dinner (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
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