Photo: Lincoln Center
From growing up in the South Bronx to becoming a James Beard Award Winning Chef, at age 33, Kwame Onwuachi is now overseeing Tatiana at the reimagined Geffen Hall inside Lincoln Center. The restaurant is named after his big sister who watched after him as his mother worked as a chef in New York City. Onwuachi is also drawing inspiration from his childhood neighborhood – from Italian bakeries and Caribbean roti shops to Chinese takeout.
Photo: Esugi Dumplings/Evan Sung
You will find it all in sharable plates of Crispy Okra with honey, mustard and peppa sauce; Hamachi Escovich with avocado, carrot nage and marinated peppers; Scallop Pinchos with jerk BBQ, spiced oregano and onion confit; Egusi Dumplings with Crab, Nigerian Red Stew, Pickled Pearl Onion and Curried Goat Patties with green seasoning aioli and mango chutney.
Photo: Hamachi Escovich/Evan Sung
Chinese influences can also be found in Chef Onwuachi’s Take-Out Mushrooms with scallion pancake, plum sauce and pickled ginger. Caribbean flavors makes an appearance in Mom Dukes Shrimp with creole butter, and Braised Oxtails with rice & peas, Thumbelina carrot and Chayote squash.
Photo: Braised Oxtails/Evan Sung
Italy surfaces in a Rainbow Cookie Panna Cotta dessert with Dukkah almonds, rainbow jam and Callebaut chocolate. There’s even a Bodega Special made with a cosmic brownie, powdered donut ice cream and sorrel.
Cocktails by beverage industry veterans Don Lee (Death & Company, PDT, Momofuku Group) and Amy Racine (Sons & Daughters, IRIS, La Marchande) also reflect Onwuachi’s roots. They include Crunch Punch with Remy VSOP, Mt Gay Eclipse, Pineapple and Captain Crunch Cereal Milk; and Espresso Coquito with Bacardi Ocho, Mr Black, Caramelized Coconut, Milk, Spices, and more.
Photo: Modellus Novus
To breathe life into the new space, Onwuachi closely collaborated with New York-based architecture firm Modellus Novus. Graphite glazed tile wraps the interior walls offering visual effects of oil-stained wet city streets in the sun. Structural columns, which stand in the center of the dining room, are clad in chromate treated steel, evoking Onwuachi’s childhood playing around fire hydrants on a hot summer’s day.
Photo: Lincoln Center
Onwuachi even co-designed his staff’s uniforms with Tanya Amini of Lady and Butler. They are designed to encourage a feeling of equality amongst the staff. The design of the menu, meanwhile, pays tribute to San Juan Hill, a once-thriving Black and Brown neighborhood that was razed in the 1950s to make way for the development of the Lincoln Center.
Tatiana is located inside David Geffen Hall at 10 Lincoln Center Plaza. For more information, visit https://www.tatiananyc.com.