Kurt's Flatiron Faves - Veritas

Welcome back to my little Flatiron tour! I hope you enjoyed the recipe I posted last week. Make sure to let me know if you try it! I’d love to know how it turned out for you and what little tweaks you may have added.

Back to New York! From 22nd Ave, we make our way back down Broadway to take a left onto 20th. En route, we find ourselves across the street from Beecher’s itself. That doesn’t mean we’re anywhere near done though! We’ll be coming back to Beecher’s from the south at the end of our tour.

That this week’s restaurant, Veritas, follows last week’s visit to Almond, makes sense not just geographically, being just off of Broadway on the north side of 20th, but also thematically. As you’ll remember, Almond had an atmosphere of comfort that I really enjoyed because of the great way it translated the neighborhood French bistro into an urban, Big Apple living room.

Veritas was a really big deal when it opened in 1999 to rave reviews and a three star review from Ruth Reichl in the Times. Over time, its reputation waned from being an exciting scene for new food to just another expensive New York restaurant.

I guess my return to New York was well-timed, because the whole restaurant was apparently re-imagined last November, which is when Chef Sam Hazen took over the food side of things. I’ll have to admit, I didn’t actually get a chance to dine in the restaurant itself – I just spent time in the bar.

Similar to Almond, what struck me was the warmth and friendliness of the staff, which I almost didn’t expect given the more haute cuisine style of food it seemed to offer. The “haute-r” you get in the culinary world, the more difficult it is to avoid that exclusive pretention that has historically stigmatized really creative chefs and dedicated kitchens. Some places fight this perception tooth and nail, which often ends up in a contrived sense of pseudo-informality.

Veritas seems to take the opposite approach. The tooth and nail strategy is replaced by keeping it simple: engaging staff and a warm, welcoming atmosphere surrounded in unobtrusive earth tones. I should note that I’m not the only one who thinks they’ve done well in their transformation. Sam Sifton of the Times recently bestowed another three star review of Veritas as well.

From one haute New American restaurant to another, next week we’ll cross the street to Gramercy Tavern, the second of Danny Meyer’s restaurants on my list of neighborhood favorites.

Have you been to Veritas? Or any of the other places on my list so far? I’d love to hear what you think about them in comments, especially specific dish or drink recommendations! See you next week!


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