Eat of the Week: Mr Donahue’s

Eat of the Week: A column about restaurants in NYC and beyond.

Walking into Mr. Donahue’s feels like walking into your grandma’s (*very stylish*) dining room in Brooklyn. Not only because this new Nolita diner-slash-restaurant is about the same size - with just a short bar and three tables for two - but also because of all the lovely little details that trigger feelings of hazy nostalgia: the butterscotch-filled candy dish, a WW2 military hat, the elegant silverware perfectly laid out on the doily placemats next to Murano glass candle holders.

Mr Donahue's NYC restaurant decor

As I waited at the bar for my boyfriend to arrive, I ordered a sparkling Gruner Veltliner and drank in the vintage vibes, while listening to their playlist of jazz standards that made me feel like a character in a Woody Allen movie.

The menu boasts American post-war classics that incorporate subtle immigrant influences, like Swedish American meatballs, jerk mushrooms and angel hair pasta. In keeping with the meat and potato spirit of your grandmother (or mine, at least), you can order any of the five main meats with a sauce and a side.

Swedish meatballs at Mr. Donahue's NYC

We ordered the crab imperial to start, followed by the meatballs and roast beef with mushroom marsala and a side of the veg medley. Everything was tasty but my favorite was the crab, for sure, served warm in a small tinfoil tray with a package of classic saltines. We then shared banana rum pudding - topped with a maraschino cherry to punctuate the end of a very sweet Tuesday night out.

Ice cream sundae in NYC

When I got home, it was no surprise to discover that the restaurant was named after the owner’s Irish grandfather. Next time you’re missing home - even if it’s just an idea of what home should be - stop by and say hello to Mr. Donahue.


The short of it

  • Food: 4/5
  • Ambience: 5/5
  • Tip: Seats are truly limited so get there around 6:30pm to nab a spot for dinner
  • Address: 203 Mott St.