Neighbors' Fury About Wood-Fired Grill Smoke Forces Village Eatery to Close

By Danielle Tcholakian on August 8, 2014 4:21pm | Updated on August 11, 2014 8:41am

 Mas (la grillade) will have to close its doors Aug. 19 because it couldn't pacify neighbors upset about the ubiquitous smell of wood smoke from the grill, owners said.
Mas (la grillade) will have to close its doors Aug. 19 because it couldn't pacify neighbors upset about the ubiquitous smell of wood smoke from the grill, owners said.
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Mas (la grillade)

WEST VILLAGE — A three-year-old restaurant in the West Village is being forced to close its doors because neighbors won't stop complaining about the smell of wood smoke, according to the restaurant.

Mas (la grillade) had touted its French-inspired menu made with "classic but rustic techniques, such as grilling, smoking and charring" over a wood-burning stove since they opened at 28 Seventh Ave. South in 2011.

But neighbors were steaming mad about the smell of the smoke almost immediately, said co-owner and James Beard Award-winning chef Galen Zamarra.

"We originally had all these wood-fired grills that we cooked all our food on," Zamarra said. "Many people liked [the smell], but for some people, it was a little too strong to smell all the time."

After sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into rooftop equipment to try and mitigate the issue, Zamarra realized trying to sustain the original concept of the restaurant was simply untenable.

"We've done various things over the year to try to control [the smell], make it more suitable for the neighborhood, to make people more happy with it," Zamarra explained. "We just felt that we weren't able to keep the identity and the vision we originally had, so it was time for a change."

The restaurant — whose current menu includes a $43 entree of Roasted Striped Bass Crépinette with Lardo, Broccoli Rabe, Pickled Baby Squash and Nepitella-Squash Purée will serve its final dinner Aug. 16, before closing for a complete renovation. 

"We're going to have a new concept," Zamarra said, but declined to elaborate on what that concept will be. "I'm not ready to talk about what that is, but we have a really fun idea. I'm really excited about it."

Zamarra said renovations to the kitchen are "mostly done already," and the plan is to "work on the dining room and reopen hopefully in October at some point."

Zamarra is also coming up with an entirely new menu, but wouldn't give any hints as to what will be on it.

Zamarra's first restaurant, Mas (farmhouse), now celebrating its 10th year in the Village at 39 Downing St., will remain open, he said.

Mas (farmhouse) serves "locally grown and sustainably raised" French and New American cuisine and celebrated its 10-year anniversary by signing a lease for another 10 years.

"We're really happy that's going strong and doing well," he said.

Mas (la grillade), 28 Seventh Ave. South, (212) 355-1795. Open for dinner 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. The restaurant will serve its last dinner on Aug. 16.

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