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Wburg Restaurant Fandi Mata’s Monthly Dinner Theater is a Feast for All 5 Senses

The five-course menu is served between brief pauses of a dazzling show put on by an acrobatic group called Hybrid Movements Company.
Acrobats from Hybrid Movements Company put on an unforgettable show at Fandi Mata last month. Photo: Provided/Mike Shane.

On the last Thursday of every month in Williamsburg, palm readers and acrobats greet guests of Mediterranean restaurant Fandi Mata’s dinner theater experience.

Run jointly with Hybrid Movements Company — the entertainment group that frequently collaborates with House of Yes — the three-hour show combines spectacular food and performance to “transport people in all of their senses, in one journey,” said Françoise Voranger, Hybrid Movements founder and performer.

The October performance, "Blue Moon," was an eight-part acrobatic show about disparate moons shining so brightly over the world that everything falls into disarray until a hero is summoned to reunite the moons to shine as one again. 

Formerly an auto shop, the restaurant opened in the lofty space on Bayard Street, directly south of McCarren Park, in December 2020. Voranger said she looked at 12 other venues before landing on Fandi Mata’s 8,000-square-foot Williamsburg restaurant to host the show.

“I've always wanted to do dinner theater, but the food had to be particular, and the vibe had to be particular because it has to be magical,” Voranger said. “It can't just be like, two experiences happening simultaneously in the same space. It has to come together.” 

An acrobat hangs by her hair for a rapt audience at the Mediterranean restaurant. Photo: Provided/Mike Shane.

The five-course menu is served between brief pauses in the show. Guests first enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine while some performers go from table to table interacting with guests, and others fly from swings and ropes hanging from the ceiling. 

The $100 dinner ticket doesn’t cover the $19 cocktails, like the smoky Paloma rimmed with citrusy Tajin, and a pleasantly orangey Sazerac. But the meal still includes plenty.

First come the canapés of seared beef with béarnaise, vegetable spring rolls, tuna tartare and, the star of the bunch, cheesy mushroom croquettes.

The first course includes a mezze platter — a spread that shows off the restaurant’s Mediterranean roots — of hummus, babaganoush and muhammara, followed by lamb tartare and a baby kale caesar salad where, in the best way, you can really taste the anchovy.

The second course is braised short ribs, seared salmon and zhoug-coated roasted cauliflower, accompanied by sides of roasted acorn squash and a celery root purée. At this point, you might be too full to finish what’s in front of you, but make sure to try as much of the fall-apart-tender short ribs as you can.

And to top it all off, guests finish their evening with a berry cobbler served with vanilla gelato — this is where you might want to sneakily loosen your belt.

General admission tickets, which are limited to bar access and are standing-room only, are also available for $50. 

Every month, Fandi Mata serves dinner with a side of fire tricks. Photo: Provided/Mike Shane.

Fandi Mata co-partner Emil Radoncic said the goal is to run the show for at least a full year. The performance and the menu will evolve as the partnership continues, but the goal of collaboration and celebrating art will remain.

“Since the very inception of the concept, our goal and idea was to celebrate artisanal craftsmanship, from mixology to culinary, to make partnerships and collaborations with different artists from different fields,” said Radoncic.

Fandi Mata, derived from the Romani term meaning “to connect,” reserves 100 of its 242 seats for its monthly show with Hybrid Movements. Its upstairs dining area, which features a mezcal bar dubbed "Little Oaxaca," remains open for à la carte dining during the show. 

The next theatrical creation will be a New Year's bash on Dec. 31, featuring a new three-act show called "Oracle." Fandi Mata is located at 74 Bayard St. Tickets are here.