People go to Veselka, by now an East Village standby for late-night Ukrainian grub, seeking dishes like bigos or blintzes or goulash—or the special combination plates. But why? This above plate, which included a meat-stuffed cabbage with mushroom sauce, one each of cheese, potato, and cabbage pierogi served with sour cream and onions, and a heaping pile of kasha, was far from special. Sure, we were there at 4 am after RT's birthday party, which I guess is not the same as being there during regular lunch or dinner hours. But the pierogi was tough-skinned and heavy, the stuffed cabbage mediocre, and the kasha dry, flavorless, and almost—dare I say it?—a bit like dog food.
My bison burger, which was a special that night, wasn't bad, but it wasn't the greatest, either. It wasn't as juicy as it could have been (though from what I understand bison meat in general is drier than beef, albeit with more flavor). At least the sweet potato fries I asked for instead of regular fries were decent, especially once I doused them in Tabasco sauce.
Cross-section, bad and sloppy. Sort of like the food.
Like so many others, this wasn't the first time I'd ended up at Veselka for a late-night meal. But the place seems to be getting more and more mediocre, and the place itself, like a lot of other 24-hour establishments, has a taken on a bit of the down-trodden weariness of a bus or train terminal. This is one place I'd be sad to see close, but only for the memories and not for the grub.