Among Frank Lloyd Wright’s numerous architectural triumphs is his notion of the Usonian home, an affordable suburban abode crafted from solid materials like wood, glass, and stone that deepens its connection to the outdoors through large windows. It is this midcentury approach to organic residential architecture that guided Brooklyn, New York, studio Carpenter + Mason when designing Sereneco, in the Greenpoint neighborhood.
Spearheaded by sommelier Billy Van Dolsen and partner Jim Nawn, the understated all-day restaurant is found on the ground level of the fabled The Pencil Factory, first built in 1872 for the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company. Carpenter + Mason thoughtfully preserved such industrial details as concrete flooring and stunning expanses of raw brick.
But the space is also calming and airy, complete with skylights, limewashed surfaces, and naturally dyed textiles by Rockaway Beach artist Madeleine Provost. There is also greenery at every turn, the Ficus tree sprouting from marble at the entry the most dramatic representation.
Hues of terracotta and soft cucumber meld with the white oak that dominates Sereneco in the form of a long bar yet a banquette, backdropped by earthy tiles, is just as inviting a setting for a perky springtime Dorothy Parker Sour with rose petal-infused gin, Aperol, and rosemary. Seemingly floating spherical paper pendants add an ethereal touch.
Chef Dennis Hong’s food falls into the seasonal New American cuisine camp. To begin, addictive whipped ricotta with a Mediterranean melange of pistachio, orange blossom water, and honey is slathered on freshly baked focaccia. Then, attention turns to wholesome, comforting dishes like Steelhead trout over red Himalayan rice in lemon-caper sauce.
Brunch, often a chaotic weekend ritual, is expectedly laidback at Sereneco, where short rib panini brushed with horseradish mayo and eaten amid a stream of mid-afternoon sunshine is every bit as idyllic as Wright’s utopia.