Owners Dane Asermely and Bobby Khorram
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
MESO, a Delicious Melting Pot
By Robin Jovanovich
There’s a new kid on the Elm Place block, right between two Rye institutions, Fong’s Laundry and Longford’s Ice Cream, and it’s added a whole new feel and flavor. MESO, the creation of Dane Asermely and Bobby Khorram and chef Alex Lopez, offers a fresh and enlivening spin on Mediterranean cuisine.
The partners, who have two restaurants in Manhattan, Tillage and Harrow, and long experience running eateries and bars, had planned to launch the MESO “brand” in SoHo in lower Manhattan, Rye, where they have friends and family, and Sag Harbor in Long Island.
“The order shifted due to the pandemic and we are honored to have opened first in Rye,” said Asermely.
When you walk into the restaurant at 22 Elm, you find yourself in an enchanted environment, starting with palm trees, ferns, and an oversized lounge chair whose two hands are meant to bring people together, explained Khorram. The handmade oak bar was made by a local company called Sensitive Wood. The sophisticated banquettes are a combination of leather and suede. The plan is open, yet each area is its own private niche.
The design mix is almost as interesting as the partners, and as exciting as the food and signature cocktails that await.
A lounge chair with room to share
Khorram’s family is German and Persian. “I used to be a pharmacist and was planning to go to law school when friends convinced me to open a restaurant instead!” Asermely comes from an Italian and Persian family. “I grew up on a banquette. My mother owned a restaurant, and I was creating conceptual designs for restaurants from a young age,” he said.
The oak bar was handmade by a local craftsman.
They came up with the “brand” name, which means “middle”, because they wanted their restaurant to be a melting pot of flavors from the 21 countries on the Mediterranean, inspired by the best of Spanish, Greek, French, Italian, Syrian, Moroccan, and many other cuisines.
There is nothing middling about MESO; it’s a perfect mix of locally sourced food and a worldly philosophy.
On our first visit, three of us sampled everything from the Meso platter to the mushroom soup finished with truffle oil, the grilled octopus over roasted new potatoes, homemade pasta topped by a one-pound lobster, roasted Brussels sprouts, and truffle mac & cheese. We found room to share a serving of pistachio gelato.
What we missed that you shouldn’t are the specialty cocktails, which the owners describe as “an extension of the experience, especially the clarified margarita!”
MESO is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. They will start serving brunch by Valentine’s Day. They offer curbside delivery, as well as a to-go cocktail program. Call 305-6683.
This spring, they will open MESO Garden, in collaboration with LVMH and Veuve Clicquot. They’re imagining socially distant tables tucked behind high hedges, lush plantings, and pergolas wrapped in vines. The garden will be created from space behind the building and around into the building’s side parking lot.
We’ll be the first ones there.