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Inside Tatiana, Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Afro-Caribbean Restaurant at NYC’s Lincoln Center

Situated within the newly reopened David Geffen Hall, it's an ode to the chef's upbringing in the Bronx.

Food from Tatiana Evan Sung

Your pre-theater meal just got a lot more exciting.

Top Chef alum and bestselling author Kwame Onwuachi’s first New York City restaurant debuted on Tuesday at Lincoln Center, as part of the $550 million revamp of the David Geffen Hall. Tatiana, named after the chef’s sister, is serving up Afro-Caribbean cuisine inspired by Onwuachi’s upbringing in the Bronx.

“Opening Tatiana at Lincoln Center is a longtime dream come true for me,” Onwuachi said in a statement. “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.”

Egusi soup dumplings from Tatiana
Egusi soup dumplings Evan Sung

That translates into a menu full of classics with the requisite Onwuachi spin. Truffle chopped cheese buns see bao buns filled with dry-aged ribeye, smoked mozzarella and Taleggio, then topped with shredded lettuce, pickled onions and a mountain of truffles, as Onwuachi told Eater NY. Other small plates include Egusi soup dumplings stuffed with black sea bass and served with Nigerian red stew and pickled pearl onions, as well as curried goat patties with green seasoning aioli and mango chutney.

On the larger side, you might opt for braised oxtails with rice and peas, Thumbelina carrots and chayote squash, or perhaps the salmon Creole with gumbo panade, roasted okra and peekytoe crab. A short rib pastrami suya features wagyu short rib with caraway coco bread and melted red cabbage, while the seafood boil combines king crab, middleneck clams, black bass and andouille in a vivid orange broth. To finish, rainbow cookie panna cotta is an upscale take on the bakery classic, with dukkah almonds, rainbow jam and Callebaut chocolate, and a warm honey bun with powdered donut ice cream recalls a trip to the bodega.

Seafood boil from Tatiana
Seafood boil Evan Sung

The beverage menu similarly draws from Onwuachi’s childhood, melding the flavors he grew up around in classic NYC cocktails. The LC Negroni mixes Caribbean sorrel and Lustau East India sherry with Fords Gin, Campari and Aperol, while the POG Nutcracker (Appleton Reserve, passionfruit, orange and guava) is a fancier version of the drink many buy from street vendors or merchants on the beach.

Onwuachi’s gone beyond the menu, too, to round out his vision. Tatiana’s design draws from the same well of inspiration as the food: Glazed tiles evoke the wet, oil-stained streets the chef grew up playing on, and gold chain-link details recall the fences he would hop as a kid in the Bronx. To top it all off, three huge color-changing cloud light fixtures hang above the whole setup, in a nod to Onwuachi’s propensity to dream.

One thing’s for sure: His dreams make for a delectable reality.

Tatiana is now open for dinner from 5 to 9 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and until 10 pm Thursday through Saturday.

Click here to see all the photos of Tatiana.

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