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.

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

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.