NEW Restaurant: Veranda NYC, SoHo
New restaurants in New York are always kind of a big deal. There are so many that you could just only dine "new" each week, in the "before" that is. Now, we're just happy having somewhere -- anywhere, to go. To our delight, George Mendes, formerly of Michelin-stared Aldea, seem to time everything just right and opened Veranda this past April, in SoHo to boot. Veranda is described as "recognizably American cuisine, with nods to India, Mexico, South America, the Middle East" and the chef/owner's home culture, Portugal. The first couple of months opening were probably mostly empty tables, but as the weather warmed up and more people became vaccinated, I'm sure he started to see the tables filling up and the buzz of a happening New York restaurant scene delighted his ears once again. I know it did mine!
My go out buddy since back in the day, Vanessa, is still as game I to check out restaurant debuts, it's a thrill I don't think will ever go away. We were obsessed and in the early aughts had a newsletter dedicated to it, Fast Metropolis, do I still have any readers from back in the day? :> We evolved to much more than that, but started out as a nightlife newsletter, which we enjoyed, as we would go to new restaurants, bars, clubs and lounges and write about them and had a bit of notoriety because of it. So Vanessa found this new restaurant and booked us reservations, which were not easy to get, but I guess she still has her trickery ways. New York is coming back...with a vengeance!
So jumping right in, we decided on the croquette appetizer, two entrees: a steak and a bass and asparagus for a "green." For cocktails, we kept it simple and went with martinis, she a regular and I the "Ultimate Dirty Martini," which I ordered off the drink menu. This was the best dirty martini I've ever had in my entire life, you could tell a lot of love and passion went into the making of this drink: "olive oil fat washed vodka, carpano dry vermouth, olive brine, celery bitters, cracked green peppercorns & tri-color cirgonola olives."
Pictured below is the JUMBO GREEN and WHITE ASPARAGUS, "cooked on the plancha, morels, green almonds, charred pumpkin-seed cilantro salsa," = $16. Delicious! Yum, yum yum, just looking at the picture I remember being very happy when I took the first bite. The cilantro salsa was especially creative and unique and was the perfect addition to this green medley. Asparagus can get boring, this dish was anything but that: