In the same way that transit hubs are finally being transformed into dining destinations, museums are sprucing up their food offerings as well — taking savvy advantage of constant foot traffic and hungry, captive patrons, to offer menus that far exceed frozen burgers and fries. Danny Meyer took over both The Modern and The Whitney. Russ & Daughters proved a perfect tenant for the Jewish Museum. And now the Estela & Café Altro Paradiso team is making the Upper East Side actually kind of cool, by debuting two unique spots in the contemporary Met Breuer.
Flora Bar and Café Opens in Met Breuer
Situated on the basement level of the new art institution, the casual and breezy Flora Coffee obliges morning and early afternoon visitors, with a daytime menu that includes sesame pound cake, gluten free walnut cookies, savory scones and an eggy “greens” pie, along with a duo of sandwiches (ham or chicken salad) and coffee, wine and beer; think cold brews and Parlor Coffee cortados, as well as Clos Lapeyre’s Jurançon Sec, and Mikkeller’s ‘Keeper Pils’ Pilsner — ideally enjoyed on a sunny, outside patio.
From there, you can peep into the floor-to-ceiling windows that open into the yawning expanse of the 74-seat nighttime restaurant, Flora Bar; accented with marble tables, iron-colored banquettes and custom stools. Because of ventilation issues, chef Ignacio Mattos has veered away from heavy, smoky preparations in favor of light, seafood and vegetable-focused options; raw offerings include Scallop with plum and nori, Osetra Caviar with crème fraiche and Oysters with Szechuan mignonette, followed by share plates such as Steamed Clams, Straciatella Cheese with meyer lemon and fennel, and a Rutabaga and Raclette Tart, as well as a few larger selections like Lobster Ravioli, Chicken with parsnip and Seared Tuna with radishes, and a small handful of desserts; notably Coconut Sorbet with celery and pineapple and Amarena Cherry-Chocolate Mousse.
Not only are museums havens for art lovers, nowadays, they’re meccas for food enthusiasts as well.
Flora Bar and Flora Coffee
945 Madison Ave