Veselka

Open Hours: Mon-Sun Open 24/7

Phone Number: 212 228 9682

Price Range: $5-$15

Address: 144 2nd Ave between St Marks Pl and 9th Street

Website: www.veselka.com 

Station: 4, 6, 6X, N, R 


Honestly didn’t know what to expect when my friend suggested trying Ukrainian cuisine for dinner, but I’m always down for an adventure. Trekking outside in the snow for a good 30minutes to reach this restaurant definitely set some standards for me. The entrance is a bit deceiving because you think you’re stepping into a small diner when really it is quite spacious inside with lots of seating. 

My friend had been dying to try this place out for awhile now so she went and studied up the menu before we even stepped foot into the place. Since it was our first time, we agreed we would order smart and try a bit of everything that was recommended to us. Hint: take notes now because we’re providing you with a helpful rundown: 

First we ordered the Stuffed Cabbage with beef, pork and rice (there’s also the vegetarian option of wild mushrooms and rice). 

Let’s just put it this way: we devoured it all. The minced meat was soft and seasoned, smothered under rich mushroom gravy sauce (you can also opt for the tomato sauce). The dish wouldn’t be complete without the sweet beet sauce they serve on the side, which was probably one of my favorite parts of the meal. 

The Stuffed Cabbage entre from the Ukrainian Specialties menu also comes with your choice of side. We recommend picking the Potato Pancake. 

Fried until crisp and brown, this side is a crunchy alterative to chew on while you’re having so much meat as your main dish.

Now, onto the next target: we can’t come to a Ukrainian restaurant without having their Pierogi (Ukrainian-styled dumplings that can be served either boiled or fried). They come in plates of 4 or 8 and you can choose a mix of fillings including potato, meat, cheese, meat, spinach and cream cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, arugula and goat cheese or short rib (note: short rib is a bit pricier).

We got the sweet potato, sauerkraut and mushroom and meat fillings and had them boiled. 

Nothing too special about the sweet potato and meat pierogi, but the sauerkraut and mushroom filling made the best impression with its slightly sour, but memorable flavor. I would still suggest ordering a variety of fillings to try, just make sure that this is one of the ones on your list. My friend liked the accompanying applesauce and sour cream, but I liked the sautéed onions more.

Lastly, we wanted to end our meal on a sweet note, so we took a peak at their dessert menu. They offer some pretty staple options such as brownies, cheesecake, carrot cake, apple pie, ice cream, etc. Our waiter recommended the Chocolate Custard, but if we’re exploring a new cuisine, might as well go all out right? We opted for the Kutya, a traditional Ukrainian pudding. 

First bite had us raising our eyebrows, second bite had us nodding our heads, third bite had us going for our fourth and fifth. To be less verbose, we loved it. The cold pudding consisted of white berries, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds and honey. Tasted like nothing I ever had before, but I loved the texture of the walnuts and poppy seeds not to mention how guilt-free we felt with such a healthy, hearty dessert.

Overall, the highlight of this restaurant is its Ukrainian specialties including the stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi and kutya as well as the friendly service and affordable prices. We’re eager to try the fried pierogi at our next visit. Come to this diner to seek for comfort food and amicable waiters that are ready to give recommendations of all their favorite home foods on the menu.