New Museum and Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
After you’ve had your mind blown by multimedia installation art at the New Museum, bring yourself back down to earth by heading uptown a few blocks to the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, also known as the Ukrainian place next to Veselka. The restaurant doesn’t take pains with signage. In fact, you’ve probably walked past many times without noticing it. As you venture down the fluorescent-lit hallway, an interior window reveals diners happily munching on pierogi far superior to anything you’ll find down the block. Stick to the basics and you’ll be satisfied. Going any deeper into the menu gets you farther from Kiev and closer to Athens (Greek salad) and Budapest (Letcho, a Hungarian pepper stew) and farther from flavor. The wood-paneled room showcases traditional folk costumes and ceramics, transporting you to Eastern Europe, or at least to a time when the East Village was home to its immigrants. Get the Ukrainian Combination Platter and then roll yourself to the dance hall adjacent to the restaurant for some folk dancing with the grandmas and the hipsters.