Opening on the ground level of the Park Avenue Mondrian in New York City’s NoMad neighborhood, The Vasper is a new American bistro created with the help of partners at Helios Hospitality [Sol, The DL, Dinner on Ludlow, Le Jardin, Apartment 13]. Inspired by the mid-twentieth century modern design movement, the restaurant pays homage to an era of opulent dining and deals made over lunchtime cocktails. Executive Chef Nick Koustefanou [Peak/Kissaki/Broken Shaker] has been tapped for food and Beverage Director Evan Hawkins [Soho House/Pouring Privateers] for drink.
Open for lunch, dinner and private dining experiences, the 120-seat restaurant aims to be both a destination for the evenings and a new mainstay for the office power lunch crowd, offering a prix fixe two martini lunch sure to usher in feelings of nostalgia.
“The Vasper is a reflection of both New York’s culinary heyday and the continued innovation we see in modern restaurants,” says Paul Seres of Helios Hospitality. “With the return of office culture, happy hours and business dinners, The Mondrian struck us as the ideal location for honoring the culinary and cocktail culture made famous in postwar America.”
Chef Koustefanou’s Modern American menu highlights the flavors made famous during the ‘50s and ‘60s updated for today’s palette, featuring dishes including Hiramasa Crudo with melon gazpacho, radish, chili and fresh honeydew, Beef Tartare with deviled egg mousse and toasted sourdough and a decadent Lobster Thermidor for two served with Gochujang Sauce American and seasonal vegetables. The space also boasts a chef’s counter for curated tastings, inspired by Koustefanou’s background in Japanese omakase with his experience at Kissaki. The Vasper serves as Chef Koustefanou’s second position as Executive Chef.
“Though classically American, the modernization of the notably mid-century dishes is executed in a more eclectic interpretation,” says Chef Koustefanou. “Our tasting counter affords us the opportunity to create unique menus for private clients and events.”
Whether enjoyed at the verdant bar that draws guests in from the street, or at a marble dining table in the lush, art-laden main dining room, the cocktail menu curated by mixologist and Beverage Director Evan Hawkins evokes the spirit with modern classics. In addition to Hawkins’ take on the one and only gin martini, “The Vasper,” featuring spiced olive brine, Txakolina Vermouth and House Giardiniera, The Vasper’s cocktail menu standouts include the Bitter Rum Mojito, with mint bitter caramel, vanilla and fresh citrus and The Mezcal Paloma Whip with dry grapefruit soda and chile salt.
From the warm welcome of the lively bar to the dimly lit dining rooms, the three spaces of The Vasper, designed by Delphine Mauroit of DMDesign and Tom Mckay of Mckay Architecture, AIA, hold their own personality while flowing together for a seamless visual experience. Drawing from Mckay’s minimalism and DMDesign’s sophisticated aesthetic, The Vasper is both earthy and urban as well as upscale and inviting, inspired by the non-stop movement of the city it calls home.
Upon entry to the bar space, guest’s eyes are pulled upwards to the lush greenery and unique chandelier, bathed in natural light during the day and city happenings at night. As guests move to the dining spaces, they will find sumptuous fabrics from Kravet and cozy booths. The art collection, a pictorial expression of movement, features works by French artist Silvere Jarrosson and minimalist painter Yaacov Agam.