Michelin-starred chef Shaun Hergatt, who has delighted people from all over the world with his incredible dishes, has opened up a new hotspot in the heart of SoHo called Vestry. Here’s why you should make a reservation ASAP.
The fact that new restaurants are finally able to open amid the Coronavirus pandemic is something truly wonderful to see. Even places that shuddered over these past several months are starting to see the light of day again by re-opening their doors for their customers to enjoy what they’ve been serving for years upon years.
Shaun Hergatt hopes to make his own lasting impression that many of his neighbors have done with Vestry, which first started taking reservations earlier this month. The dinner-only American restaurant features an a la carte menu of local and seasonally driven dishes enhanced with a few authentic Japanese ingredients.
Rooted in long-standing relationships with local producers and foragers, the menu is largely focused on vegetables and seafood. Small plates comprise the best of what’s in season: Red Beets with preserved plum and beet chips, Ocean Trout with nashi pear, Maitake Mushroom with surf clams and red endive. Main dishes such as Black Seabream, Amberjack, Atlantic Salmon and Wagyu Beef are prepared on a custom Binchotan charcoal grill and dressed with accompaniments such as purple turnip tops, caramelized onion rice and miso-mustard, the Organic Chicken is warm-smoked and served with honeynut squash and pumpkin seeds.
Cocktails are simple, a straight shake of fresh, classic and seasonal ingredients. Garnishes are kept to a minimum allowing the focus to remain on smoked, savory and herbaceous flavors. Japanese spirits are employed, such as Sudachi, Hinoki, several styles of Japanese whisky and Shochu in creations such as: the Roosevelt with dark rum, dolin blanc and fresh orange; and the DBA with laphroaig, Japanese whiskey, maple, shoda soy and ginger. The wine list, developed by Wine Director Irene Miller, focuses on smaller producers who have a deep connection to the land and who tell their story through wine. There are roughly 600 labels including classic regions, such as Burgundy, Barolo and Champagne, complemented by eclectic selections from producers who are pushing the boundaries, making new discoveries and uncovering ancient traditions. A Sake service may also be enjoyed at Vestry served in traditional Tokkuri bottles and Ochoko cups.
Designed by Jason Volenec Studio, Vestry is SoHo-centric and visually playful. With interiors that mirror Hergatt’s “raw and refined” culinary vision, the space juxtaposes exposed concrete and reclaimed oak flooring with more refined appointments of leather, velvet and brass. Fun visual guideposts add to the aesthetic draw of the space and a soaring ceiling. A former music video set designer, Volenec moved into hospitality design to create ‘permanent-sets’ for everyday-people to play out their lives. Vestry was created to be a space that is relatable to the distinct character of SoHo – raw materials and refined finishes to expose the creative process.
Recognized for his precise fine-dining approach at Juni and SHO Shaun Hergatt, Chef Hergatt earned a variety of accolades from Best Restaurant to Best Young Chef as well as a 2 Michelin star accolade. Chef Hergatt has intentionally set out to deviate from his white tablecloth background to pursue a fresh approach to neighborhood dining at Vestry. The result is an approachable and playful dining experience that maintains bold flavors, skillful technique and colorful presentations at the core.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to live and work here for as long as I have. Being able to invest in New York City’s dining scene comeback has been really meaningful to me and my team. We’ve been working hard to open safely while still delivering a relaxed, well taken care of experience for our guests,” said Chef Hergatt. “New Yorkers are hungry for dining destinations that create an easygoing atmosphere paired with world-class cuisine – this is the exact niche dining experience we have created at Vestry.”