The succinct stretch of Park Avenue South in Manhattan does not lack for well-heeled eateries, yet few can hold a candle to the neighbourhood’s newest addition, Verōnika.
The latest opening from Stephen Starr, the restaurant – named after the Patron Saint of Photography – is housed on the second floor of the new Fotografiska New York, the Big Apple outpost – and the first in the U.S. – of the Stockholm-based centre for photography.
For the interiors, Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer of design studio Roman and Williams, have paid tribute to Europe’s grand cafes while also evoking the moody tones and textures of the photographic medium, with a gestalt of light, form and composition.
A twilight-hued hallway leads towards a black marble bar, which is surrounded by a delicately painted mural depicting a bohemian forest. This is complimented by a stained glass window – original to Fotografiska New York’s historical Beaux-Arts building – that has been restored and installed in the newly constructed restaurant space here.
In the dining rooms, grandiose ceiling heights and brass crown-like chandeliers bring a palatial feel to the space, while a soft, natural colour palette and pale oak floors are juxtaposed by flattened wood arches, detailed with wood trim edges, which mimic enfilades from the early 19th to mid-20th centuries. A series of blackened brass, De Chirico-like arched doorways seductively serves as the entrance to the kitchen where, in keeping with the interior concept, executive chef Robert Aikens sends out dishes inspired by northern France, Austria and Eastern Europe
Elegantly finished with curved mohair seating and custom egg-shaped lamps adorning each marble tabletop, the transfigurative space dramatically transcends eras without ever veering on the theatrical. §
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