Lombardozzi’s a 20-year industry vet who did a decade at One If By Land, Two If By Sea before a one-night training stint at Maison Premiere inspired him to open his own place. He’s been working on the Bushwick space since July, transforming a once gaudy yet dim catering hall—there were mirrors along the walls but no windows—into the casually Hawaiian-inspired bar it is today. The self-taught mixologist created a collection of tiki-esque drinks, plus collaborated on a menu of pan-Asian eats with chef Brian Baskoff, who worked at St. Anselm in Williamsburg and consulted on the menu for Empire Biscuit.
In creating the bar program, Lombardozzi renounced the frozen sugar drinks commonly associated with appropriated tiki spots, instead wanting to see if there was a way to recreate them with more finesse. Ice is an important element in attaining the look he wants, as the crushed variety he uses “works like glass to show the colors inside.” That’s particularly evident in the Mt. Kilauea Colada ($11), which is supposed to depict a volcanic mountain rising out of the sea.
Visits to Hawaii got Lombardozzi thinking about how to incorporate the islands’ beloved Spam, which is presented here as Spam Musubi Arancini ($6). The Korean Drumsticks (three for $8, five for $12)—double-fried chicken legs in an oyster sauce-base with Korean chili flakes—have been an early hit and also show up in the Pupu Platter ($22/$42) with Caribbean Ribs, Ginger Grapefruit Prawns and Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts Wontons. There’s also Hawaiian Mac Salad ($3/$6), naturally.
From Bushwick Daily:
Highly anticipated “urban tiki” destination Dromedary Bar officially opened last Friday, April 22nd, and Bushwick turned out to celebrate the new spot in remarkably high numbers.
Located at 266 Irving Avenue on the corner of Menahan Street off of the Myrtle-Myckoff stop on the L and the M trains, Dromedary seems poised to become a neighborhood favorite. Bushwick Daily previewed Dromedary back in November, when it was scheduled to open in December; a few months after the original opening date, the spot is finally open and serving upscale beach staples sans messy sand, just in time for warm weather days.
Dromedary’s signature cocktails are sophisticated takes on classic tiki drinks: Two of them contain absinthe and one has cricket bitters. Among the best offerings are the Marlin Chasing a Mermaid (Cognac, Mezcal, Banana, Lemon, Rose) and the Mt. Kilauea Colada (Rum blend, Pineapple, Coconut, All-Spice, Blood orange, Absinthe).
The Mt. Kilauea Colada is one of the many indicators that proprietor Michael Lombardozzi is taking his tiki business very seriously: The drink is constructed to look like the active volcano from which it takes its name. “I didn’t want to open a traditional cocktail bar,” explains Lombardozzi.
Each cocktail is a reminder how nuanced and delicate the flavor profile of a cocktail can be: the flavor notes rarely overpower each other and each one is included with intention. The banana flavor in the Marlin Chasing a Mermaid is especially surprising: banana flavoring can be tacky, but the cocktail’s banana flavor is elegant in context. Dromedary also offers several beers on tap, including one by Kona Brewery…
The food also transports. Executive chef Brian Baskoff has been honing his craft for twenty five years, including 7 years spent training in the art of French cuisine and a stint as the sous chef at Williamsburg’s St. Anslem. Baskoff is nothing short of stoked to have found a home at Dromedary (Lombardozzi is also an industry veteran who recently tended bar at Arrogant Swine: The experience both parties bring to their passionate collaboration is a major contributing factor in how remarkable their bar is).
The menu is a foodie’s fantasy and a mashup of the best flavors of lots of beloved world cuisines: diners will find themselves hard pressed to select a single dish.
One noteworthy starter is a flight of deviled eggs ($5), which are each naturally dyed a bright color and contain unusual culinary accents: the Hawaiian is dyed with cabbage, the Mexican with beet, and the Indian with turmeric. The Mexican egg is topped with two crickets, which provide a crunchy, salty morsel of additional protein and make the Mexican egg a standout well worth the effort of working past any reservations one might have about eating a bug.
The house burger (named The Second Lombardozzi Burger Contest Winner), is expertly crafted: the sesame honey bun contains pumpkin pie spices and the bacon crusted beef burger is topped with smoked bleu cheese and pickled onions. The ingredient combination is definitely unusual, but the bacon crusting and sweetly spiced bun juxtaposed with the more savory ingredients makes it an indulgent dish that feels like a privilege to eat and costs $10 (fries are not included, but you won’t miss them). All of the kitchen’s meat and animal-sourced ingredients are grass fed and free range.