There was an announcement back in February 2017 of a Mediterranean restaurant called Kismet coming to my Pine Hills neighborhood. It would be replacing the Bruegger’s bagel shop that had been there for over three decades.
I used to frequent Bruegger’s there, at a site downtown, and up at Stuyvesant Plaza. I liked the sandwiches – my favorite, tuna salad on cinnamon raisin (don’t judge) – but they started to become parsimonious with the cream cheese and the like in the period before they all closed.
On Saturday, May 13, my wife and I walked by the place at the corner of Madison and South Allen at about 1 p.m. The brown paper that had covered the windows was down, the table settings appeared to be in place, but the sign read CLOSED, so we went further that block and had lunch.
Yet by the time we walked back towards home an hour later, the OPEN sign was showing! So we walked in. The server, Colin, jumped out of his booth. Were we going to be their first customers? Well, no. But the place looked really nice, so we said we’d back on Monday, which happened to be our anniversary.
Two days later, return we did, around 6:30 p.m. three or four tables were occupied when we got there. Colin remembered us. The food was delicious; mine was a beef and rice thing with a side salad. And the prices were reasonable.
Colin said they were surprised how much traffic they had in their three days open. They were planning on doing a “soft” opening. The public demand dictated otherwise.
Indeed, there was a point where most of the tables and booths were filled, mostly with pairs of people, though there was also a party of six. But the service was fine, and the chef/owner came out to meet people at the various table. The two women at one side of us happened to see that the place was open, but the pair on the other side were friends of the chef from cooking he had done elsewhere and had encouraged him to start his own place.