The Whitney decamped its longtime UES home for the glitz of the Meatpacking District—where it got its very own Danny Meyer joint. The Metropolitan Museum then took over the Whitney's imposing Madison Avenue space, opening the Met Breuer, which houses the Museum's modern and contemporary collections, in addition to a new restaurant, which opened yesterday evening. Restaurateur Thomas Carter and chef Ignacio Mattos, who run superb eateries Estela and Cafe Altro Paradiso, are now doing artful eats with Flora Bar downstairs at the museum.
The seafood-heavy menu draws influence from Europe, like flashes of Spanish tapas staples potato croquettes ($14) and anchovies and boquerones ($18). Classic American steakhouse fare gets a nod, too, with shrimp with cocktail sauce ($32), caesar salad ($17) and a steak with bearnaise sauce and potatoes ($38). Prices are, as you can see, Upper East Side-friendly, and if the dishes are similarly portioned, expect a delicious but expensive meal after ordering enough food to go around.
Estela's a well-known quantity in the wine community and that ethos continues uptown with smaller vintners and vineyards sharing equal measure with bigger names in the industry. All of their wines are also available by the glass, a rare and appreciated opportunity to vet a new varietal without committing to the entire bottle.
After eating and drinking your fill, refuel for the art at Flora Coffee just outside the restaurant. They'll serve coffees and teas but also a small menu of sandwiches and pastries in a more casual setting.
945 Madison Avenue, 646-558-5383; florabarnyc.com. Flora is open Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 5:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Flora Coffee is open Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.