Inside Tatiana, chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Afro-Caribbean restaurant at Lincoln Center in New York
Your pre-theatre meal just got a whole lot more exciting.
Excellent chef Former and best-selling author Kwame Onwuachi’s first New York restaurant debuted at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, as part of David Geffen Hall’s $550 million renovation. Tatiana, named after the chef’s sister, serves Afro-Caribbean cuisine inspired by Onwuachi’s upbringing in the Bronx.
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“Opening Tatiana at Lincoln Center is a longtime dream come true for me,” Onwuachi said in a statement. “Having grown up in the Bronx, I know this area has long stood for arts and culture. We draw inspiration from the city’s vibrant 1980s music and arts scenes and pay homage to the often overlooked places that shaped the fabric and creative culture of the city.
This results in a menu full of classics with the requisite Onwuachi spin. Truffle Chopped Cheese Buns see bao buns filled with dry-aged rib eye, smoked mozzarella, and Taleggio, then topped with shredded lettuce, pickled onions, and a mountain of truffles, like Onwuachi l told Eater NY. Other small plates include Egusi soup dumplings stuffed with black sea bass and served with Nigerian red stew and pickled pearl onions, and curried goat patties with green seasoning aioli and mango chutney.
On the broader side, you can opt for braised oxtails with rice and peas, Thumbelina carrots and chayote squash, or perhaps the creole salmon with okra panade, roasted okra and peekytoe crab. A short rib pastrami suya features a wagyu short rib with caraway coconut bread and melted red cabbage, while the seafood boil combines king crab, clams, black bass and andouille in a bright orange broth. To finish, the rainbow cookie panna cotta is an upscale take on the bakery classic, with dukkah almonds, rainbow jam and Callebaut chocolate, and a warm honey bun with powdered donut ice cream is reminiscent of a trip to the bodega.
The drink menu also draws inspiration from Onwuachi’s childhood, blending the flavors he grew up around in classic New York cocktails. The LC Negroni mixes Caribbean sorrel and Lustau East India sherry with Fords Gin, Campari and Aperol, while the POG Nutcracker (Appleton Reserve, passion fruit, orange and guava) is a more sophisticated version of the drink than many buy from street vendors or merchants on the beach. .
Onwuachi also went beyond the menu to complete his vision. Tatiana’s design is inspired by the same well of inspiration as food: glazed tiles evoke the damp, oil-stained streets the chef grew up in, and gold chain detailing recalls the fences he used to jump when he was a kid in the Bronx. To top it all off, three huge, color-changing, cloud-shaped light fixtures hang above the entire installation, a nod to Onwuachi’s propensity for dreaming.
One thing is certain: his dreams become a delicious reality.
Tatiana is now open for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and until 10:00 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.
Click here to see all of Tatiana’s photos.
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