Vernick Coffee Bar — as they're calling the restaurant opening to the public Thursday, Oct. 18, at the new Comcast Technology Center — is a slight misnomer.
It's a coffee bar, all right, with a full line of coffees, teas, and light food amid a mod spaceship design in a soaring hall on the skyscraper's second floor. You walk in off 18th Street just below Arch and take the escalator.
Just off the cafe is something more: a civilized, full-service 36-seat dining room, designed by Foster & Partners, overlooking the indoor tree canopies in the building's lobby. (If you can't snag a dinner reservation at Vernick Food & Drink — probably the toughest booking in the city — you may have a chance at getting a table here.)
Greg Vernick and his management team from Vernick oversee the operation. It's an affiliation with the Four Seasons Hotel, opening next year on the 19th Street side of the building, which fronts Arch Street.
Vernick himself has Vernick Fish, another restaurant, taking shape on the ground floor, more or less below the coffee bar, while chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has a Jean-Georges restaurant destined for the 59th floor and a lounge called Sky High for the 60th floor, both as part of the Four Seasons Hotel.
As for Vernick Coffee Bar: The dining room is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the counter — whose communal seating area spills into Comcast's lobby — stays open an hour later.
Morning menu items at the counter include sourdough biscuit with grapefruit marmalade; strawberry passion fruit kouign amann; ham quiche; and a take on a "corner store" egg and cheese sandwich. For lunch and late-day at the counter, you can find such foods as semolina olive oil cake; soft pretzels; ham and butter baguette; smoked beet Reuben; tandoori turkey sandwich; and harissa grain bowl.
On the sitdown side, breakfast includes eggs in purgatory ($10); ginger yogurt parfait with tropical fruit and spiced granola ($10); smoked salmon and buckwheat crepe mille-feuille ($14); and stone-ground oatmeal souffle with fresh berries and maple creme ($12).
Lunch (11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) includes spicy miso soup ($8); shaved porchetta sandwich ($12); wild mushroom and avocado grain bowl with Green Goddess dressing ($15); and olive-oil-poached salmon belly over fregola salad, cucumber and basil ($24).
Caffe Umbria roasters handles the coffees, including single-origin coffees available for pour-over, tableside presentation in the café. Rishi organic teas include the colorful butterfly pea flower matcha.