Lincoln Center sits on land that was once known as San Juan Hill, a predominantly working-class, Black and Brown neighbourhood that was razed in the 1950s to make way for the performing arts building. Inside it, Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi seeks to resurrect a little of its former vibrancy and community through a bold, eclectic menu, a hip-hop playlist and a modern, city-influenced decor. It’s an homage to chef Kwame Onwuachi’s childhood and to an overlooked community that shaped part of the fabric of the city – and it’s the hottest thing in New York City right now.
Named after Onwuachi’s older sister, who helped care for him while their mother worked as a chef, Tatiana is inspired by the foods and flavours of his upbringing in the Bronx, as well as his father’s Nigerian roots and other Afro-Caribbean and global flavours. The menu is divided into small sharing dishes – like crispy okra with honey and mustard, or the Nigerian-influenced egusi dumplings – and larger sharing plates such as shawarma-roasted chicken with turmeric lamb rice, and head-on shrimp with creole butter and brioche. Every bite conjures a different memory or aspect of culture, not least the decadent cosmic brownie with powdered donut ice cream, inspired by the bodegas of New York.
Tatiana is Onwuachi’s New York debut, but the chef is already well-established, having worked in restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Per Se before overseeing the critically acclaimed Kith/Kin in Washington DC and appearing on Top Chef. His 2019 memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, charted his childhood and early career, and was followed in 2022 by a cookbook, My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef. At Tatiana, within the revamped David Geffen Hall, he has put together a stellar team that includes chef de cuisine Kamat Newman, general manager Bradley Knebel and complex director Mouhamadou Diop, as well as talented wine and cocktail consultants Amy Racine and Don Lee, respectively.
Onwuachi is also no stranger to awards: in 2019 he was named Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation and was recognised by Food & Wine magazine in their Best New Chef category, but it’s his restaurant that now wins the Resy One To Watch Award 2023 within six months of opening. It signals the arrival of an establishment that is sure to leave a mark in New York’s, and the world’s, ever-evolving hospitality scene.
Now read the article about Tatiana and meet Onwuachi in the video:
The One To Watch Award recognises a rising star restaurant in the global hospitality scene which 50 Best believes has the potential to break into the list in the years to come. Its winner is selected by the 50 Best team based on the votes of its Academy and specific editorial criteria.
Discover more about the previous award winners