the new york diet

Chef Sam Mason Doesn’t Like Crazy Stuff on His Nachos

Mason checks out the goods at Aldea.

Mason checks out the goods at Aldea.Photo: Melissa Hom

Sam Mason has been building a bar all week — "a drinking establishment, not a piece of furniture," he clarified; he's an investor in an as-yet-unnamed place on the corner of Grand and Leonard Streets in Williamsburg that's aiming for a May 1 opening. Those looking for a drinking experience similar to that of his former restaurant, Tailor, will be out of luck: "There's no food," Mason says. "Just whiskey, beer, and a pool table." (Though he'll be reprising some of Tailor's greatest hits at a dinner this Sunday night at Aldea, where he's taking over the kitchen for a one-off meal.) As for that rumored new restaurant, don't hold your breath. "Everyone's saying [I'm opening a restaurant in] Park Slope, but I have no idea," he says. "It's a long way off. I don't want to speculate." Find out what he had to eat this week in the latest installment of the New York Diet.

Friday, April 9
I didn't have breakfast.

I had a bánh mì sandwich for lunch. It was from a place on the corner here in Brooklyn, next door to the bar. It just says "bánh mì" on the sign outside. I always get the spicy pork.

I had spicy-pork meatballs with the classic red sauce over white beans at the Meatball Shop, with a side of steamed broccoli. It was my second time there — I love it. And then we went to Doc Holliday's, and after Doc Holliday's we went to St. Jerome. I drank a lot of beer. A lot of beer going on that day. Later we went to wd~50 for their seventh-anniversary party, just after hours with everybody. I had tons of Champagne cocktails.

Saturday, April 10
I woke up and had brunch at Le Barricou in Williamsburg. I had eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary. It was a late brunch, 1:30 or 2, so I didn't have lunch.

For dinner there's this place right next door to the bar, where I was working, called Haichi, and we had sushi. I guess it's Thai-slash-Japanese. We had 30 pieces of sushi — you name it, we ate it. I usually like eel, unagi, and I like it as sashimi. I had a bottle of sake at dinner, and there was quite a bit of Budweiser at Ontario after that, and some Jameson. Every night it's Budweiser and Jameson.

Sunday, April 11
I went to this place called Elote, kind of a brunchy thing, around three o'clock. We had tacos — I had chorizo and chicken — and we had margaritas. Just pitchers and pitchers and pitchers of margarita. And nachos, just cheese. None of that crazy stuff. And some salsa.

For dinner, I cooked at home. I did potato gnocchi with lemon, Gruyère, and mushrooms. We drank a bottle of red wine. After, I had some beer and Jameson at the Woods. I D.J. there on Sundays after work.

Monday, April 12
I made a BLT at the house. I had orange juice; I didn't have any liquor — no booze, no beer. Because that was breakfast.

I haven't been eating lunch lately because of this damn bar. For dinner, we all went out to an Italian restaurant by the name of Aurora, me and my partners. I had a ravioli dish with sage, butter — it was pretty simple. And a salad as well, a roasted-beet salad. We had a bottle of red wine. We might have had a second bottle of red wine.

Tuesday, April 13
It was a bánh mì day. It's so quick and easy. That spicy-pork bánh mì and a sweet iced tea.

I had my premiere for my [television show], Dinner With the Band, and it was catered. It was at Santos, and it was just little finger foods, sandwiches, stuff like that. I was nervous, so I didn't eat very well at the party. I did have some food before I went over — we grilled on my back patio, some hot dogs and shrimp skewers. But then I ate the finger foods. And then of course Jameson and beer.

Wednesday, April 14
I had a slice of pepperoni pizza at a place on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side.

I went to Aldea, where I ate some of the duck-and-rice dish, and that was great. On the way back, I came home and made an egg sandwich. I make it just run-of-the-mill: butter in the pan, egg, cheese, cover the lid, slide it on toast with Kewpie mayo mixed with garlic salt. Sometimes I do it with harissa, make it a spicy mayo.

I was going to Ontario, and I brought a chicken sandwich from the bodega on my street. They make a really awesome hot-lemon-chicken sandwich with melted Swiss cheese on top, and I also had a bag of chips. And then lots of beer, lots of Jameson — I had to make up for that off night back on Monday.

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