Located at 266 Irving Avenue on the corner of Menahan Street off of the Myrtle-Myckoff stop on the L and the M trains, Dromedary seems poised to become a neighborhood favorite. Bushwick Daily previewed Dromedary back in November, when it was scheduled to open in December; a few months after the original opening date, the spot is finally open and serving upscale beach staples sans messy sand, just in time for warm weather days.
Dromedary’s signature cocktails are sophisticated takes on classic tiki drinks: Two of them contain absinthe and one has cricket bitters. Among the best offerings are the Marlin Chasing a Mermaid (Cognac, Mezcal, Banana, Lemon, Rose) and the Mt. Kilauea Colada (Rum blend, Pineapple, Coconut, All-Spice, Blood orange, Absinthe).
The Mt. Kilauea Colada is one of the many indicators that proprietor Michael Lombardozzi is taking his tiki business very seriously: The drink is constructed to look like the active volcano from which it takes its name. “I didn’t want to open a traditional cocktail bar,” explains Lombardozzi.
Each cocktail is a reminder how nuanced and delicate the flavor profile of a cocktail can be: the flavor notes rarely overpower each other and each one is included with intention. The banana flavor in the Marlin Chasing a Mermaid is especially surprising: banana flavoring can be tacky, but the cocktail’s banana flavor is elegant in context. Dromedary also offers several beers on tap, including one by Kona Brewery.
The space itself is airy and attractive. Lombardozzi collaborated with Rock Starchitects on the design of the interior, and while patrons can almost hear the waves, exposed brick walls and wooden tables make it a recognizably Brooklyn environment. There’s a cabinet full of tiki mugs, a vintage cigarette machine, a rotating artists’ chalkboard, and an open wall dedicated for film projection (on a recent weekday evening, “Grease 2” was playing).
It’s easy to get lost in the textures, colors, and aesthetics of Dromedary and to forget that the place is in Bushwick and not a decadent island oasis. In the back of the bar, a vinyl booth in a shade of green that Lombardozzi says reminds him of banana leaves is directly below a beautiful, sea blue chunk of wall.
The food also transports. Executive chef Brian Baskoff has been honing his craft for twenty five years, including 7 years spent training in the art of French cuisine and a stint as the sous chef at Williamsburg’s St. Anslem. Baskoff is nothing short of stoked to have found a home at Dromedary (Lombardozzi is also an industry veteran who recently tended bar at Arrogant Swine: The experience both parties bring to their passionate collaboration is a major contributing factor in how remarkable their bar is).
The menu is a foodie’s fantasy and a mashup of the best flavors of lots of beloved world cuisines: diners will find themselves hard pressed to select a single dish.
One noteworthy starter is a flight of deviled eggs ($5), which are each naturally dyed a bright color and contain unusual culinary accents: the Hawaiian is dyed with cabbage, the Mexican with beet, and the Indian with turmeric. The Mexican egg is topped with two crickets, which provide a crunchy, salty morsel of additional protein and make the Mexican egg a standout well worth the effort of working past any reservations one might have about eating a bug.
The house burger (named The Second Lombardozzi Burger Contest Winner), is expertly crafted: the sesame honey bun contains pumpkin pie spices and the bacon crusted beef burger is topped with smoked bleu cheese and pickled onions. The ingredient combination is definitely unusual, but the bacon crusting and sweetly spiced bun juxtaposed with the more savory ingredients makes it an indulgent dish that feels like a privilege to eat and costs $10 (fries are not included, but you won’t miss them). All of the kitchen’s meat and animal-sourced ingredients are grass fed and free range.
Macaroni salad is typically a menu item that is easy to shrug off, but Dromedary’s, which features and pineapple habañero mayonnaise and is topped with toasted coconut, is delightful. It’s served with chopsticks as designated utensils and a bowl goes by surprsingly fast.
The spam musubi arancini balls are a crowd pleaser and are served with a sweet lime cilantro mignonette. Other notable menu items include a classic PuPu Platter, korean drumsticks, caribbean ribs, ginger-grapefruit prawns, mushrooms & brussels, and sprout wontons—and a brunch menu that includes macadamia nut pancakes, Scotch eggs benedict, tortilla scramble with crickets and a kimchee bloody mary will roll out next weekend.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a dromedary is a one-humped camel. Lombardozzi’s 6-year-old son is fond of them, and his line drawings of the animals are currently at the foot of the artist’s board.
So sit back, relax, and get happy at Dromedary Bar!
Dromedary is located at 266 Irving Avenue on the corner of Menahan street off of the Myrtle-Wyckoff stop on the L and the M trains. Hours are Monday – Sunday from 5 PM – late, and from 5pm until 4AM on weekends, with kitchen hours until midnight and sometimes later. Follow Dromedary Bar on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.