Verōnika, a new restaurant at the recently-opened, Fotografiska Museum, premieres to the public today in Flatiron. The concept comes from celebrity restaurateur Stephen Starr who runs New York heavy-hitters such as Le Coucou, Pastis, La Mercerie and Buddakan (among others).
The menu will be led by Executive Chef Robert Aikens, who, prior to this, worked for Starr and his Philadelphia spot, The Dandelion, as well as the Rainbow Room.
Per the press release, the dinner menu is meant to be an “homage to the White Russians in Escoffier-era France” while looking to the cafés of Eastern European and the brasseries of France, for inspiration as well.
There are old-school French dishes like “Soufflé Suissesse” with sauce mornay and “Consommé Nana” (chicken, quail egg and Parmesan croutons) as well as cozy plays on Eastern European delights, such as Viennese veal schnitzel with crushed potatoes and cucumber salad. (If you're looking for more schnitzel content, we recently reviewed another new Vienna-inflected restaurant called Porcelain in Ridgewood).
Back in late 2019, we wrote that pierogi were finally being explored as a dish worth entering the fine dining sector, so we’re delighted to see that a classic potato version has found its way to Verōnika, here with sour cream and caviar. Other dishes will include items such as chicken kiev, not often seen in New York, with its buttery innards and a lamb goulash with buttermilk spätzle.
Desserts will be led by Becca Punch, an alum of The Modern and Eleven Madison Park, who will also look to Vienna for sweets presented on a dessert trolley, such as the swirly trifle Charlotte Royale. In 2020 we’d like more dessert trolleys, please. Toot, toot!
In true Starr fashion, the space feels elegant and opulent. The 146-seat space is massive, with a reimagined interior design scheme by Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors—who helped put La Mercerie on the map, with its signature blue walls, high ceilings and attached flower shop—using the landmarked, ornate details inherited from the Renaissance Revival-style building.
The Fotografiska Museum—yes, focused on all things photography—hails from Stockholm and is the cultural hub’s first U.S. location, since opening in 2010. The name of the museum’s de facto in-house restaurant is a reference to the “patron saint of photography.”
Starr’s latest project joins the growing number of museum cafés (such as the recently opened Mina’s, a Greek restaurant at MoMA PS1) in New York, hoping to actually function as destinations, for reasons beyond just being convenient after a day of checking out art.
But New York already has a museum café focused on the dishes of Vienna with longtime favorite, Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie. We're interested to follow whether Verōnika will evolve to take inspiration from the photography museum's current programming. For now, we hear photography on the restaurant's walls are set to change over time. Stay tuned.
Verōnika is located at 281 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010 at the New York Fotografiska Museum.