March 8, 2009


We decided on Veselka for dinner one night because one of us wanted a burger and one of us wanted pierogies, and we were headed for Union Square. It worked out kind of perfectly. They were busy but not crowded, and we fit nicely at the bar without a wait. As a bonus, we had a nice view of the prep cooks fixing up orders.

The menu is a combination of classic diner food (burgers, salads, soups, sandwiches) and classic Ukranian dishes (perogies, potato pancakes, blintzes). I had been craving a burger, and ordered a cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. The burger was huge, with melty cheddar cheese and the fixings on the side. I must say it was delicious-- nice beefy flavor, cooked right at medium with a squishy bun. It was one of the messiest burgers I've ever eaten. The juices ended up all over my plate, my hands, my face. I'm surprised Jennifer wasn't effected by this from just sitting next to me. The fries were also very good-- they tasted fresh and had a nice strong sweet potato flavor. Not overly crisp but not limp.

The ambiance is diner but nicer. Our waitress was an older lady and very nice. She was there when we needed her, and that's what counts. Note that they are open 24 hours, and because of that I hear they can be a bit crowded late nights on the weekends. But one of those greasy burgers would be tops on a night like that. -Laurel

There are two staples in my weekly diet, and they both involve potatoes - gnocchi and pierogies. Without a doubt, Veselka is the perfect place to go when you are craving the latter. 

Open 55 years, Veselka makes some mean Ukranian food. Because we opted for immediate seating at the bar, we had a prime view of all the different foods on the menu. Their potato pancakes looked melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the blintzes looked soft and crispy and yummy as well. However, I had my heart set on those pierogies, and I was unbelievably excited to get them.

Here you can mix and match seven different kinds of pierogies (potato, sweet potato, cheese, spinach and cheese, meat, and sauerkraut and mushroom, all for $9.50) as well as how you would like them cooked (boiled or deep fried). They come with sauteed caramelized onions and you can request apple sauce and/or sour cream as well (50 cents extra if you choose both). I decided on four sweet potato pierogies, and three reg. potato pierogies. I have never in my life had deep fried pierogies or pierogies filled with sweet potatoes and as soon as I took my first bite I wondered aloud why. Crunchy on the outside yet soft on the inside, with that hint of sweetness (with the sweet potatoes) and hint of saltiness (with the reg. potatoes) these were perfect, especially when topped off with all of the previously mentioned fixings (all three are MUST HAVES if you are getting pierogies). My heart melted and all I could think afterward was More! (said in the voice of the alien at the beginning of Men in Black).

As a note, I had a bite of Laurel's sweet potato fries and they were probably some of the best I've ever had. They were a bit squishier than ones I've had in the past, and not overly salty. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. 

Ambiance-wise, the wait staff was quick but didn't bustle you out. One complaint would be that after taking our plates it was hard to get a check, but we didn't have to wait too long, and made friends with the guy sitting beside us who ordered some sort of beet soup. However, if you decide to go here, I strongly suggest sitting at the bar (unless you are on a date and want to see them) simply because the guys who work behind the counter were cracking me up. They were calling on some of the wait staff just so they could make fun of them. Dinner and a show (actually maybe that's good for a cheap date?). - Jennifer

Address: 144 Second Ave (at 9th St)

Payment: credit, cash

Delivery: no

Open Late: 24 Hours

Large Group Friendly: Yes, but doesn't take reservations

Bar/Happy Hour: beer and wine

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