On the same day that I went to Momofuku, I told my sister that I would very much like to go to Veselka. I'd heard incredible things about their burger (and while I had eaten it before, it delivered to me... cold and soggy from condensation), their desserts, and about the quaintness of the shop itself. So over we trekked (along with one of her classmates who happens to love cheesecake) for lunch. Unsurprisingly it was somewhat packed given the time, but goddamnit, I had never been before... and I was leaving in less than a week! I WANTED MY UKRAINIAN BURGER. So we waited the 20 or so minutes for a table, and after many names being called that had given up on waiting, we were finally seated.
While I had a firm plan on what I wanted to order, my sister and her friend Victoria grazed over the menu, ultimately deciding on the salmon omelet, with some sort of potato pancake side. I guess they enjoyed it, I had no part of it, so I can't pass and judgment on how good it was (the idea of soft fish flesh being cooked into eggs just doesn't appeal to me... sorry!). Photo credits here don't even belong to me. Despite taking 4 or 5, I ended up using the singular photo that Victoria snapped. I guess I should work on the whole photography thing haha.
Burger innards! Like I said, I knew what I wanted. Cheeseburger. American cheese. Deluxe. I didn't want my last impression of Veselka to be that limp burger I had sophomore year. In any case, I asked for it medium (what? I don't like bloody burgers), and they obliged perfectly. The center was just barely cooked through, and the outside had a delightfully smokey aftertaste. There was an ever so slight crunch on patty from the charring, and the cheese was melted homogeneously across the bias of the top. I really like this burger. If I had to find fault with it, it would only be that the bread is slightly dry... and that they don't assemble it for you, but that's nitpicking. At $12 (I think), it's certainly a pretty good value given the size and quality.
There were fries too. Given the choice between chips, fries, and sweet potato fries, I went with the default. They were okay, slightly thicker than I prefer (I love McDonald's fries), and well textured with a crunchy greeting yielding to soft innards. They accidentally snuck some sweet potato fries onto my plate, and that is my major regret. Those are pure egg whites. If I could reorder, I would go with that next time.
I would've been content with that for a meal, I mean... I did have a slice of crack pie prior to, but upon some goading by Victoria, more dessert was ordered. She got the cheesecake (which I thought about ordering, but figured I could take more pictures if I got something different). I did try this, and it's a very heavy cheesecake, with a filling that's very dense and satisfying to cut through. A very subtle tartness is pierced by a sweetness short of overwhelming, it was a pretty good balance, and a suitable follow up to greasy burger goodness. It's also not a wallet killer, although I'm not sure it's great for the heart.
After some debate, I settled on the triple chocolate mousse. I thought about getting the Kutia(?), but some quick research yielded that it was a dessert that was also served at funerals... which was a turn off. Anyway, this was the polar opposite of the cheesecake. It was light and airy, and the chocolate flavor was strong in scent, but mild in taste. What can I say, I like most desserts, and this is no different (I'm not very good at discerning what are good and bad sweets... they're all good to me haha). The chocolate thingy on the side was a nice complement to the mousse, as it was definitely on the sweet side. Oh yeah, the crème fraiche on the side... not ice cream. Duly noted.
All in all, I really like Veselka. Which is kind of an appropriate farewell for me from NYC food for a while, since it left a good taste in my mouth. Uh, my suggestion... go here?