Mulberry Project

Mulberry Project

By Hannah Howard

In true speakeasy style, Mulberry Project is tricky to find. An unmarked door leads to this subterranean lair, all dark spaces and cozy nooks. It’s not hard to envision the place’s past, during Little Italy’s heyday, as a secluded hangout for old Italian men. These days, the crowd is those in-the-know and the clandestine spirit remains. Black leather booths twist along the wall, industrial lights hang from low ceilings, and a crimson Kurtis Kulig mural draws eyes to the long bar, where the magic happens.

Don’t get too attached, though—anything and everything at Mulberry Project is part of a continuously transforming scene. The space regularly hosts evenings with guest bartenders, reimages its graffiti-clad secret garden backyard come summer, and tailors its craft cocktails menu to the bounty of the seasons.

The BBE tasting menu here is fleeting, too. Showing off the secret space’s secret weapon—excellent, memorable food—it brings together three small plates stacked with sass and kick. Silky soba noodles get depth and texture from sesame and peanuts, sweet from coconut, and just enough chile heat, while a perfectly steamed egg crowns a happy mélange of rich, crispy duck, radish, and chipotle-sambal puree. But the pork belly is the high point: Equal parts crunchy and fantastically fatty, it’s just how pork belly is meant to be.
To drink, you’ll have your choice of three from Mulberry Project’s short list of five “Best Of” concoctions, including a puckeringly tart grapefruit, lime, and vodka cocktail, a rose-scented take on a gimlet with lime-aromatized gin, and, best of all, bourbon spiced with the exotic, herbal tonka bean and something called Burlesque Bitters. Maybe illicit; certainly delicious.

hours

6 PM–4 AM daily

price range

$10 (egg with crispy duck) to $22 (steak)
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