Alongside pizza and bagels, the chopped cheese is a quintessentially New York dish. The bodega staple is a deconstructed cheeseburger, with American cheese and onions folded into ground beef on a flat top then loaded onto a hero with shredded lettuce and tomato. While the standard version can be enjoyed at delis across the five boroughs, Tatiana may be the only establishment to serve a truffled chopped cheese—one of many items that pay homage to corner store classics and the city’s culinary diversity.
“Opening Tatiana at Lincoln Center is a longtime dream come true for me,” author and chef Kwame Onwuachi said. “Having grown up in the Bronx, I know this area has long represented arts and culture. We’re drawing on the city’s vibrant 1980s music and art scenes and paying homage to the often-overlooked places which shaped the city’s fabric and creative culture.”
Architect Modellus Novus (MN) matched this energy with interiors that channel the South Bronx of Onwuachi’s youth and honor San Jan Hill, the Black and Brown neighborhood that the city razed to build Lincoln Center. MN wrapped the interior in oil-slick graphite glazed tile that glints in the light from oversize floor-to-ceiling windows. The two structural columns in the center of the dining room are decked out in chromate-treated steel—the same treatment that prevents rust in machine parts.
The brooding industrial chic aesthetic is defanged by clubby furniture like the custom oxblood leather and smoked oak chairs by Carl Hansen. Against the window-wall, velvet banquettes are inspired by NYC Parks benches, while tables are topped by either oiled walnut or a blue, green, rust, and gray mottled marble.
The expansiveness in the main dining room extends to the restaurant’s essential features. Nowadays, many restaurants—including Tatiana—have open kitchens, but few have open service stations, the (usually) hidden repositories for random forks and quart containers where servers gather to trash-talk difficult customers. At Tatiana, the stone-topped blackened steel service stations are dining room focal points meant to draw attention to the workers making and serving the food.
This openness is emphasized by the giant windows that make it easy to watch concertgoers on their way to performances across Lincoln Center Plaza. But for diners looking for a more intimate experience, there’s a private dining room behind sliding glass partitions shrouded in gold chainlink curtains.
Tatiana is located on the ground floor of David Geffen Hall at 10 Lincoln Center Plaza. More information on hours and reservations can be found here.