The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Restaurant at Oriental Pavilion - Still Closed After 63 Years

Leave it to resident historian Bob Marvin to call attention to PLG's greatest restaurant - the Concert Grove House, or Maison Fong on Yelp. While this culinary destination inside Prospect Park has been closed since 1949, and despite the fact that the neighborhood name Prospect Lefferts Gardens was not coined til the 1960's, the restaurant remains the best upscale option in the area for fine dining.

(cut and paste alert!) The Oriental Pavilion -- originally called the Concert Grove Pavilion -- was built by Calvert Vaux in 1874. Situated in the Concert Grove, the Oriental Pavilion is an open shelter that consists of eight cast-iron columns supporting a decorative wooden roof with a beautiful stained-glass skylight. Typical of the day, its design borrowed motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish, and Egyptian architecture. The Oriental Pavilion served as a gathering place for the adjacent restaurant called the Concert Grove House (removed in 1949 by Robert Moses.) In 1974 the Oriental Pavilion was devastated by fire, leaving nothing but the cast-iron columns. It was restored in the 1980s. The Q and Mrs. Q exchanged vows there in 2007 marking the 58th continuous year that north Flatbush restaurant goers have lived without a proper pissaldiere. In fact, it's fair to say we don't even have a pot to pissaldiere in. Or rather, we don't have a pot to put the pissaldiere in. Actually we do and it's made by Le Creuset, but I burned it making grits, thus sullying my one true link to French culture, but I do occasionally enjoy a good French dry cleaning, though the modern process was actually perfected in Atlanta, Georgia. Ladies and germs, the proof is in the postcard:


Bob Marvin said...

"Resident historian"--that's a BIG responsibility, so I shouldn't rely on stuff I vaguely recall reading long ago, but IIRC the Master Builder didn't leave us entirely restaurant-less. Moses built a hot dog stand under the Oriental Pavilion. When that caught fire it burned down the rest of the Pavilion.

On the subject of the Pavilion, I wonder if the Alliance will ever correct the deficiencies of the '80s recreation? It looks to me like there's some sort of internal rain gutter that wasn't done right. In any case, the wooden edges of the rebuilt Oriental Pavilion started to rot soon after it was completed. Not the Alliances fault of course--I think that restoration was pre P.P. Alliance. The Dept.of Parks didn't have a good track record on historic reconstruction. The early '70s restoration of the boat house boasted of replacing the original terra cotta with a modern high tech material which started to crumble soon after it was finished which lead to still another restoration that actually got it right.

As to the elusive Maison Fong, I find the phony Yelp review kind of funny and sort of hope that they leave it up.

The Snob said...

Is there any indication of what the restaurant was replaced with? I'm recalling a bunch of small staircases that limit access to the area by wheelchairs and strollers (and I thought Moses loved wheels), but not much else. This restaurant looks like a big chunk of real estate to just vanish into the woods.

Bob Marvin said...

Why not--that's exactly what happened to the old Elephant House about 20 years ago.