NEW YORK, NY
It was interestingly tricky to get a reservation here but in the end I got one via Resy Notify. Granted I had to make the reservation for two and then claim I received a cancellation at the front because of the very annoying thing restaurants do by not allowing reservations for one to be made but anyway… I digress. Upon entering the space, my first impression was that it was a pretty space. It was dark and sleek black with shimmers of gold. Since it was just going to be me, I gave up my table in favor for a seat at the bar. On cocktailw, it looked like an interesting mix but of course you know that I beelined for the Negroni they had… I was not a fan of the rendition but the standard one they made later as well as the mezcal one they made for me after made up for it. I decided to try some wine and had a little back and forth on tasting with the bartender but finally settled on a California rose. Yes I know… me drinking California wines, but alas it was the driest and least fruit forward wine that they had.
For the guests of the restaurants, there was a mix of different varieties of people, some were old fans of chef, others were artists and guests about to perform and finally those looking to take in a show… all in all an interesting crowd. By the bar, I have a view of the kitchen though mildly obstructed. The music playing is Usher and similar mood music though there is a piano player who wrote music for Sinatra seated by me… He was quite a character and I will leave that there… no further comments on the interaction.
Looking at the food menu, I found it to all be very creative and this I very much love. Though I am an American now, I still have some Nigerian in me and there were familiar dishes that I was looking forward to try. I settled on the crispy okra, the egunsi dumplings, scallop pinchos and oxtails. I love oxtails so it was a given that I would order them even though it was on the large share section. To note, the food comes out fast here and they do not wait for you to finish a dish before firing another. This is usually a pet peeve of mine but then I considered that this would probably be a location for pre-show dinners so best to accept it at that.
First that came out was the crispy okra. It is very bold on initial taste. I love how the honey mustard is the first standout on the flavor profile. Soon after that comes the developing sensation of heat that rounds out and finishes on the palate. Another thing that I liked about this dish is that the okra was not slimy. Okra can get very slimy when cooked and even though this leaned towards that, it still maintained its crispiness. Quite tasty really.
I saw pinchos and of course I had to order. It brought out my nostalgia for Spain. This dish came out after the okra so I still had the spicy kick of that in my mouth. It definitely takes a bit of time to subside that one so I had to take a break and sip some water. These were scallop pinchos and they were indeed special. It was cool to touch when I got around to eating it so I am not quite sure if that was because I was busy tasting the okra or not. The scallop were definitely quite succulent. On flavor, there was jerk BBQ and onion confit the balance of sweetness that each achieved without overpowering the other was commendable.
Now for the egusi dumplings. I LOVE EGUSI! These are ground melon seeds and I cook it as often as I can. Growing up I would eat egusi every week on Sundays with some pounded yam. I was definitely curious and excited to have it in dumplings made a mental note to try to make that myself at home. This dish truly was exciting to me as it combined my love of dumplings with egusi, an Afro-Asian fusion dish if you would. So verdict on this is that it is good BUT I can make better! This is the problem with knowing exactly what is in a dish as I cook it myself. I end up comparing what chef puts in front of me to what I can do myself. So would I get these again? Sure… but really just to say I can make something better than a chef.
Finally came out the oxtails. I was definitely craving oxtails since it had been quite sometime since I had had any. Before ordering, I was warned that it was going to be a large share but who cares. I was really in a throw caution to the wind mode so much so that I decided to go to the opera to see Rigoletto while I was waiting for the dish to be prepared. I am thoroughly at home at Lincoln center and I guess it was a bit of a given that that would happen. I confess it was the rice peas that really got me excited about this so I beelined to that. This was fabulous. Almost a luxurious version of rice peas with this unique flavoring that I cannot place my finger on. The oxtails were big, juicy and fall off the bone tender… just the way they should be. On flavor, what I can say is that it is bursting with flavor as you would expect for oxtails but it deep rich dark sticky sauce. Unfortunately I have no idea what is in it but it was a nice dish for sure. Gentle reminder, this is definitely not for one or even two… maybe three.
Well that was the end of my visit to Tatiana. Would I return again? yes as it is a nice addition to the Lincoln center restaurant options to enjoy before taking in a show. Enjoy!