Once in a while a special place comes along, a place that stays with you long after you experience it. Verōnika, appropriately named after the patron saint of photography, is that place for us. The lavish fine dining restaurant inside Forografiska reopened with all its grandeur intact, but we did notice a few changes.
This time CultureWorks, owners of Fotografiska and NeueHouse, took over from restaurateur Stephen Starr, creating a more seamless experience between enjoying dining and art. New chef, Dominick Pepe, has cast a wider net with a menu reflective of continental European classics, doing away with the previous Eastern European menu. No need to fear,though, you can still order pierogies and a schnitzel.
While the interior is still as glamorous as ever, this time you will find the seating to be a lot more comfortable. Inspired by modernized interiors of Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, Roman and Williams design studio captured the spirit of old world elegance. The Fotografiska building stands out for its architecture alone. It is a historical landmark that was once a Church Missions building dating back to the 1890s. While Verōnika has its own entrance, it is located on the second floor of the museum and, if you so choose, you can access it after taking in some art first.
When you walk in you will notice the well-designed space offers two distinct experiences: Bar Verōnika and the restaurant. This beckons you to stay for just one more drink after dinner, while making a new friend or two (as we did!). Whoever did the branding, we applaud their extensive use of the logo—even on lemons and ice cubes!
For starters you enjoy complimentary in-season crudite on ice, with a tangy dip. We thought this was a super idea, and the presentation was very-well executed. The bread offering was memorable. These popovers were so light and airy.
Pescatarians will enjoy the selection of sustainable seafood and vegetable options. Check out the single Half Shell Maine Scallop served right in a scallop shell The gorgeous plating makes this dining experience extra delectable.
Meat eaters will not be disappointed with the humanely raised meat selection of steaks, and of course three different options of schnitzel, the chicken was topped in a rich mushroom sauce, tableside. Spring Vegetable Tartare was also beautifully presented, almost a shame to deconstruct. Admittedly, though, it turned out to be fun to hit the center and have all the veggies splay out onto the plate.
If you have room left, try a dessert. Sadly we did not, but will surely try it during our next visit. Instead we took in the beauty of the bar for one last drink. The DJ kept the atmosphere chill, with his selections of soft and low numbers. The museum is known for creating spaces that foster a conversation; the atmosphere of the restaurant and bar is no different.
Fotografiska is a cultural venue that is ideal if you are looking to impress a date, business partner, or a friend from out of town.
Verōnika, 281 Park Ave South (SW corner 22nd St)