photo credit: Adrian Gaut
We have to admit, we don’t remember that much about the art at the last museum we went to. Forgive us art history students, but museums are mostly somewhere new to go, something new to do. Verōnika, the restaurant at the Fotografiska Museum known for its grandiose dining room, serves a similar purpose. It’s somewhere new to go, something new to look at. You can also eat there.
The latest iteration of Verōnika—which takes up the 2nd floor of the stunning Church Missions House on Park Avenue South—isn’t the same Verōnika of 2019. We had some very impressive chicken Kiev and chou farci at that restaurant before the pandemic forced it to close. The current version, operated by a new team, also serves European-leaning food like schnitzel and salt baked beets, but the impressive dining room is absolutely the main draw.
If you have a particular affinity for photogenic dining rooms, you'll appreciate Verōnika. The large, majestic restaurant boasts enough opulent (but not gaudy) chandeliers and photography du jour to host Lily van der Woodsen’s fifth engagement party. High ceilings, stained glass, an amount of gold that stops just short of giving "Gilded Age"—we get the appeal of the faux-aristocratic atmosphere. Just know that the food isn’t going to be a memorable part of that fantasy.
Verōnika doesn’t make bad food. It’s just kind of boring. Your options are seafood, steak, and—the only distinctive aspect of the menu—various schnitzels. We appreciate the audibly crispy crust on the “jagerschnitzel,” but the mushroom sauce on top could use some oomph. Nothing from the raw bar and starters (organic spring salad, tempura oysters) is particularly enticing. A spring vegetable tartare is perhaps the most intriguing concept. Alas, it is just a pile of vegetables.
Still, the restaurant stays packed with people, many of whom wear the requisite all-black ensembles with earrings that look like they came from the MoMA store, because museums. You shouldn’t come to Verōnika expecting a meal that lives up to the scene-stealing dining room. But if you want to be in a beautiful space that you can dress up for, it’s somewhere new to go.
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Table Bread & Crudités
We like the complimentary plate of flaky rolls and crunchy crudités. (You can skip the vegetable tartare since this serves the same function.) But when one of the best parts of your meal is decent table bread and some baby radishes, you’re in trouble.
Spring Vegetable Tartare
The lack of flavor in this neat pile of food shouldn't be surprising, as the menu lists all of the ingredients: asparagus, fava beans, artichokes, fennel, quinoa, and rhubarb vinaigrette. Still, we wish this vegetable tartare brought something to the table other than nice plating.
Three Tempura Oysters
These tempura'd oysters are topped with caviar and come with a champagne sabayon. Verōnika is a shamelessly decadent restaurant, so it shouldn't be a surprise that there's caviar on the menu. It doesn't add much here, but they have to put it somewhere.
There's a nice fry on the chicken here, but it lacks flavor that the mushroom sauce, while good, doesn't really compensate for.