We think we have determined why we do not like Veselka as much as we should.
Renowned as a 24-hour Ukrainian comfort food eatery in the East Village, Veselka is beloved among both late night munchers and, even more so, recovering hangover sufferers. All two times that we have now been to Veselka, we have decided that their food would taste great if we were hungover. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), we are hardly ever hungover.
We always have our cocktails much too early in the day for that nonsense.
Arriving at Veselka after our blintz brunch at B&H Dairy a block a way, we are none too excited for the Best Thing I Ever Ate course on the menu: the Ukrainian borscht, chosen by Ted Allen on the IN A BOWL episode.
|Borscht = the Frau Blucher of Soups|
|Or Fire Engine Red, Depending on Your Camera Exposure|
"Outside," Vodka says, never afraid of a little 50-degree breeze.
"Nooo," Ginger moans, but she is more afraid of making Vodka wait not-so-patiently than she is of freezing to death, so she relents. (Ironically, when we are given our glasses of water, Vodka's has five times the amount of ice as Ginger's; clearly, the staff at Veselka have a sixth sense about which one of us is a polar bear).
|Well Played, Veselka|
"Essentially, a small order of everything," Ginger mumbles under her breath.
Our borscht arrives a minute later, and we both examine it with fear in our eyes. It is indeed Barney purple, but thicker and less baby food-like than we had anticipated. Ginger is taken with the smattering of dill that has been sprinkled on top, and Vodka with the side of sour cream and solitary piece of bread.
|No Need to Call in the Gerber Baby for This One|
|It Was a One-Bowl, One-Spoon Flyin' Purple People Eater|
As we pass the spoon back and forth like refugees, and as Vodka adds more and more sour cream to the proceedings, we come to the conclusion that this borscht concoction is significantly better than we ever thought it would be. It is thick and hearty, and while we had feared that we would be swallowing spoonful after spoonful of those dreaded beets, we instead find beans, carrots, potatoes, and meat also swimming in the broth. The sour cream certainly helps, but overall, the borscht is pretty good, especially considering both of us hate its main component.
|Could We Just Get Three More Pints of Sour Cream, Please?|
|We Title This "Still Life of Pierogie"|
|That Knife Is a Bit Ambitious for the Size of That Sausage, No?|
|Someone Give This Girl a Butter Knife|
Veselka's Ukrainian Borscht: 3 stars