What happens when a restaurant pops up in Nolita and changes chef and outfit every month? My first gut thought was probably bad food... how can I restaurant get up and running and serve good food? How can it stay consistent and just as is builds momentum switch... well the crew at What Happens When is doing... and doing is well enough. As far as the interior goes, it's not my cup of tea The space is trying to stay minimal but cluttered with hanging pieces of wood and random graphics on the walls. I don't get it. It's like a bad graphic designer is trying to realize their dream of being an interior designer. Luckily the room stays dimly lit for dinner so it's less irritating. The place was packed with a very random crowd, they didn't even seem to be foodies nor people that would frequent that neighbourhood.
The food however was interesting and very good overall. The prix fixe is well-priced at $55, for an appetiser, a main and a dessert. Their drinks and alocohol is way over-priced which is how they get you. We tried the tempura frog legs and the venision tartare as starters, then the braised short ribs over polenta and the trout as mains. All was tasty. The frog legs where tasted and fried, can't go wrong ;) but my raw venison was actually really interesting with hints of curry and a lovely cracker to scoop up the morsels of dark red meat. Although I do have to say I'm not a fan of the smeared food presentation. All the sauces on the food and desserts where smeared on the plate. In my opinion brown sauce smeared never looks appetizing. There was also a little starter thing before the appertisers, pictured here but I can't remember what it was now...not really a good sign. I remember there was a cheesy homemade bun that was delicious!
This all being said, I do really like the concept as a whole. A theme, a story, a soundtrack and most importantly a unique menu. The idea of collaborating with an interior designer and a chef for each iteration of the restaurant is a lovely idea. The beauty in this is who you chose to collaborate with and now I'm really curious to see what happens next.
What Happens When
25 Cleveland Place
New York, NY