Vandal, New York

New YorkEating Out

Vandal, New York

Labyrinthine Lower East Side restaurant embodies the changing fortunes of global street artists...

The monied purification of street art culture continues in New York, at an ironically-named new mega-restaurant. Vandal takes the tag once applied to its city’s taggers by the very people who will be stepping out into this 360-seat venue, designed in collaboration with Rockwell Group. It’s probably a little unfair to lay the cascade of gentrification at Vandal’s doorstep — the mean streets of downtown Manhattan are long forgotten — and, after all, this is a celebration of street art’s very finest; the sort who swapped train tracks for white cube galleries a long time ago.

Vandal New York

That said, it’ll be hard for some of the artists still out in the cold to swallow comments like those from Brit artist HUSH: ‘together we created a cohesive space to complement the eclectic street food-inspired menu Chef Santos has prepared’. Lovely. But these struggling artists have multi-million pound mortgages to keep paying, and so street art giants like Shepard Fairey, Tristan Eaton and Vhils join HUSH in turning a series of dining rooms into something which is actually very nice indeed. Of course, Rockwell Group have fine pedigree in the Big Apple; working on swankathon spaces like Chefs Club and New York Edition. Vandal is no different, a labyrinthine venue that teases and pleases at each twist and turn; private rooms, ‘secret catacombs’, and art installations all accessed via a minimalist flower shop designed by noted creative floral studio Ovando.

The grit of bygone Bowery is referenced, but it is the opulence of today that wins out — it’s not a bad place to enjoy the fruits of Chris Santos’s labour; signature dishes like Pressed New York Hot Pretzel (American Kobe tartare, smoked aioli, pickled mustard seeds) and Chicken Katsu & Hong Kong Egg Waffles (with braised collard greens) are informed by the Lower East Side’s multicultural heritage, and the street food that he and executive chef/partner Jonathan Kavourakis have lapped up on their travels.

@vandalnewyork

Vandal New York
Vandal New York
Vandal New York
Vandal New York

Related Story: Newcastle bar MusicSlashArt is a tasty mix of A-list street art and sounds…

Vandal New York
Vandal New York

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