By: Ellen Cans
A new restaurant has opened in Manhattan’s West Side at10 Lincoln Center Plaza in Geffen Hall, named Tatiana. The non-Kosher restaurant features cured beef and pastrami with West African-style flavoring. The restaurant is the first New York eatery for chef and establishment partner Kwame Onwuachi, who grew up in The Bronx. The Afro-Caribbean restaurant’s glittering room and floor-to-ceiling glass wall opened some two weeks ago, with a sample dish of short rib pastrami suya, served on the bone, going for $70 on the menu. A review by a writer in the NY Post called the pastrami meal “my favorite new dish of the decade”.
Chef Onwuachi already has experience opening other restaurants in Washington, DC, has starred as a competitor in Season 13 of the “Top Chef” television show in 2015, and wrote several books including a memoir named “Notes from a Young Black Chef”. In 2019, he earned a James Beard Foundation award as “Rising Star Chef of the Year”. He was also recognized by Food and Wine magazine and Esquire magazine. The 33-year-old chef was born in Long Island, NY, had lived in Nigeria with his grandfather for two years beginning at the age 10, has been a resident of Los Angeles, CA, and currently resides in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The chef has been featured in numerous articles in various newspapers, being praised for his stunning comeback following a troubled youth.
The new restaurant is named after Onwuachi’s older sister, who had helped raise him, while their mother went to work as a chef in a NYC restaurant. As it says on the eatery’s website: “This is my love letter to New York – written with the flavors, aromas and textures of my childhood, inspired by my culinary muse (and beloved sister) Tatiana.”
In a recent NY Post interview, Onwuachi said the pastrami short rib dish was a last-minute addition to the Manhattan restaurant. Onwuachi said he had never served it before, and only thought to add it to the menu days before the opening. “I wanted to do a special beef dish,” he said. “I was like, why don’t we do a play on pastrami as my ode to New York with an African twist?” The dish, which was called a “masterpiece” by the Post writer, was a collaborative effort with executive sous-chef Nicky Dembeck adding a caraway cocoa bread, and chef de cuisine Kamat Newman adding a sweet mustard jus and restaurant partner David Paz-Grusin’s cabbage. The short rib pastrami is made using Wagyu beef from Washington state, not the commonly used brisket. “I wanted to do it somewhat different. I like serving things on the bone,” Onwuachi said.
Asked what his favorite old-time pastrami sandwich is, Onwuachi replied, “Probably Katz’s,” referring to the classic NYC deli first opened in 1888.