Inspired by the elegance and allure of New Orleans, this gorgeous salon—its green walls fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe: two French Quarter staples with plenty of appeal in Brooklyn.
Absinthe, that mythical anise-flavored liqueur, is the obvious choice to start. There are 19 international varieties of the stuff, best enjoyed as an opalescent brew made by slow-dripping ice water over a sugar cube. But there's even greater sorcery to be found on the trim list of cerebral cocktails, employing lesser known liquors like herbal Aquavit and rich Venezuelan rum. The Carondolet, meanwhile, deploys gin, orange-flower water, citrus and Maldon salt—the salinity draws out the drink's vanilla and honey notes, and makes it a fine match for briny oysters.
It's dangerously easy to be seduced sitting round the oval, marble-topped bar, emptying beau soleil and belon shells—even if the sensuous atmosphere occasionally borders on parody (see: pull-chain toilets in the loo). Though any kitsch is quelled by the truly romantic 1,000-square-foot garden, kitted with iron tables, an outdoor oyster bar, creeping vines, and lush greenery sprouting dreamy wormwood and hyssop.