At Untitled (99 Gansevoort Street; 212-570-3670), the fine-dining restaurant inside the new Whitney Museum of American Art, the open and airy dining room feels like a gallery itself.
Encased in glass on two sides, the space is filled with light oak tabletops and cherry-red Saarinen dining chairs; the back of the room is flanked by an open kitchen and bar. Gray walls and white umbrella light fixtures, also conceived by Piano, complete the picture.
Visitors on the upper floors can marvel at works by Jeff Koons and Georgia O’Keeffe, but in this room it’s all about the art on the plate. Gramercy Tavern executive chef Michael Anthony and chef de cuisine Suzanne Cupps have developed a unique perspective on seasonal American cuisine. The menu is divided into four sections: snacks, offering bites like lobster toast ($12); vegetables (carrots with chili and peanuts, $9); appetizers and small plates (spring onion and bacon flatbread, $13); and mains (lamb chop with emmer, ricotta, asparagus, and olives, $27).
Composed small plates are presented in a minimalist way, some leaving an artful negative space on the plate. Smoked clams with cucumber and yogurt ($14) taste bright and fresh with the addition of olive oil, red onion, and micro-greens, although the portion doesn’t go far if you have much of an appetite. Lightly cooked asparagus with turnips, smoky bacon, and pecorino is a more satiating choice, served over a creamy carbonara-style sauce.
Main courses are just as aesthetically pleasing, but more generously plated. Grilled monkfish with black garlic and lobster glaze ($25) looks like an abstract landscape. It’s served over a verdant pool of green garlic purée, a bed of spring vegetables (think sugar snap peas and leeks), framed by a smear of the darkly colored black garlic dressing.
On a recent visit a popular dish seemed to be the roasted and fried chicken with tatsoi and dill ($24). All around the room, tables were topped with what resembled plated gardens. The colors of yellow flowers, fuchsia pickled swiss chard stems, and golden-brown chicken pieces really pop on a bed of green, a fennel frond and dill yogurt hiding underneath. The layers of textured flavors meld seamlessly — a little creamy, a touch acidic from candied lemon strewn throughout the dish, and a tiny bit bitter from the greens. It wouldn’t be surprising if this becomes Untitled’s signature dish.
Desserts, like the rest of the menu, focus on market-driven ingredients. A visually impressive peanut butter and blueberry crunch cake ($10) sits in a glass-covered stand near the bar. Triple-chocolate-chunk cookies with vanilla milk ($8) is another dish seen making its way to many tables. Strawberry pound cake with pistachios and ricotta ($10) is a creative riff on a homestyle classic, but in this version, strawberries are marinated in elderflower and the cake is topped with whipped cream and riesling sabayon.
To wash it all down, Daniel Boulud alum Eduardo Porto Carreiro has created a wine list with a wide array of selections from all over the world. A selection of beer and cocktails is also available.
If your budget won’t allow for much more than a ticket to tour the Whitney, the Studio Café, also developed by the team behind Untitled, is an option. Open to museumgoers only, the café is located on the eighth floor and serves toast, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts priced from $6 to $12.
Untitled is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Monday.