Masquerade (351 Broadway) is a new Iranian tapas bar and restaurant in the southeast section of Williamsburg that is already enjoying a strong following.
The crowdpleaser was opened in October 2021 by co-owners Pouya Esghai and Siavash Karampour, who are also in a band together. The duo said, “We always wanted to open our own bar.”
“During the pandemic, we had nothing to do and were jobless,” said Esghai. “Rents were down, and it was much easier for newcomers to sign a commercial lease and get a liquor license, so we just went for it.”
Masquerade’s design features are meant to conjure images of Tehran in the 1970s by way of New Orleans. Esghai lovingly explained that “Masquerade is an imaginary place that could have existed in Tehran before the revolution.”
Masquerade serves as a fun and casual hangout with good food that can be shared. “We are not your regular Persian restaurant with bright lights and big portions. We serve artisanal cocktails and a bunch of small dishes, that are mostly family recipes,” explains the co-owners.
The reasonably-priced food menu features a variety of tapas ranging from dips like a cucumber yogurt dip to the popular cheese and herb plate to heartier options like a lima bean stew. Esghai told Greenpointers that Masquerade’s most popular menu items are the Tahchin, which is a crispy rice cake with saffron, barberies and golden raisin, the fesenjoon, a meatball stew with pomegranate molasses and walnut, as well as the saffron shrimp skewers.
The drink menu includes cocktails made with a range of liquors, beer on draft and in cans and bottles, and wines by the glass or bottle. According to the co-owners, Masquerade’s most popular cocktails are the Thief of Ceremonies with turmeric, tamarind and tequila, and the Total Eclipse with pomegranate, mint, rye whiskey and served with lavashk, which is a popular Persian snack that resembles fruit leather.
Now that the weather has warmed up, these delicious drinks and food are best enjoyed in Masquerade’s beautifully designed outdoor space, decorated with string lights and greenery. Esghai says that the patio area can accommodate large dinner parties with anywhere from 10 to 35 guests.
Masquerade offers a happy hour from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. when a beer and shot is $8. DJs entertain on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “It usually turns into a dance party after the dinner service around 11 p.m.,” said Esghai.
Masquerade is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday 5 p.m. – midnight, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.