Real New Yorkers often avoid museum cafés for fear of price-gouging and all those tourists. Having spent years as a chef to artists and top galleries before publishing Cooking for Artists (2015), Mina Stone is uniquely positioned to make MoMA PS1’s dining option just as much a destination as the museum’s current exhibitions.
Pistachio walls with fuschia lighting makes Mina’s feel like one of the galleries. Wearing a restaurant’s merch has become a flex, and Mina’s takes that a step further, selling its own brand of Páros olive oil in bottles designed by the artist Urs Fischer.
Sesame seeds splattered the table like confetti when we broke the bread that came with our selection of small plates (choice of four, $22): whipped feta; a briney fava dip with capers; meaty olives with cracked coriander; and quick-pickled carrots. If you don’t already know Stone’s cooking, the menu is a pleasant intro to her Greek-ish recipes.
On recent visits, the peinirli ($12), essentially a cheese boat topped with an egg, was overcooked and needed more yolkiness, but it was still comforting. A nod to Stone’s Jewish and Greek heritage, the challah French toast ($14) is filled with perfect savory notes from goopy tahini and tart Greek yogurt, topped with seasonal fruit compote (there’s also a babka version). But our favorite was the breakfast mezze ($18): With tangy beet tzatziki (easily the brightest color that appears in the room), chewy fried halloumi and jammy eggs, it’s a rare trifecta of ingredients we could see ourselves eating everyday. This order-at-the-counter restaurant with revolving specials is best for snacking with an ouzo (an anise aperitif) or a frappé (Greek-style iced coffee).
Stone is not trying to win accolades for ingenuity; rather, she’s focused on simplicity and thoughtfully sourced ingredients. And she’s done just that with this hip hangout.