On Wednesday night, we went to one of the most anticipated restaurants on our list. ABC Kitchen was recommended to us months before we headed to New York. Along with the recommendation, I read about it in both Esquire and Saveur magazines. Esquire magazine gave it restaurant of the year in 2010 and Saveur magazine named it in one of the top restaurants & chef in the nation. When I decided to write this blog, it was mainly going to be about burgers, so after researching the menu, I wanted to give their burger a try.
The restaurant had an amazing atmosphere. You could see the slogan of local, organic, and home all throughout the space: whitewashed hardwood floors, white brick walls, driftwood sculptures, and a series of eclectic lights hanging from the ceiling. We sat down at a table for two, and we couldn’t keep our heads from turning to side to side. Different chandeliers hung in different parts of the restaurant which only added to the home-like feel. The bread plates on each table were each a different design of china that looked like something you might find in your grandmothers cabinet. The waitresses were dressed in jeans, button-up vintage shirts, and simple tennis shoe (Converse, for example). Fresh bread was brought to our table with good olive oil, and for an appetizer we ordered the crab toast with lemon aioli. This restaurant isn’t into impressing you with overly complicated ingredients. For example, our crab toast consisted of crabmeat atop homemade toasted bread with a light lemon aioli. A few lemon wedges came on the side for the extra squeeze if you wanted. Put all these ingredients together, and that’s what it tasted like: simple, yet incredibly fresh and delicious.
As an entrée, my wife ordered the fried organic chicken, which was served with creamy mashed potatoes and the best brown gravy I’ve ever had. After talking to our waitress, I found out that white wine and smoked chilies were the distinct flavors coming through on the gravy. The fried chicken was in a brine for twenty-four hours, lightly deep-fried, and then topped with lemon zest. The lemon zest and gravy coming together was a beautiful thing. The chicken was served on top of a ginger bok choy, which was their answer for collard greens.
My burger was made with akaushi meat. Akaushi is a Japanese Wagyu breed of cattle. It is richly marbled with fat, and even though the meat-to-fat ratio is the same as most burgers (80:20), the high percentage of monounsaturated fat intensifies the flavor. Even by looking at the meat itself, you can see the difference just by the texture. The burger was served with an herbed mayo which consisted of arugula, basil, and chives. Pickled jalapenos, which actually had a very subtle taste, were laid on top of the homemade mayo. The cheese was a Bloomsday; it had a nutty, medium sharp flavor and was micro-planed on top of the burger. To end all of the flavors, there was a little arugula beneath the meat. When you think you taste jalapenos, you taste the sharp yet delicate cheese, and when you think you taste cheese, the fresh herbed mayo surprises you at the end making this burger full of surprises. To end it all, a side of hand-cut fries that were fried with parsley, garlic, and rosemary came in a small dish.
All right, I’m done. I can’t say enough good things. If you know you’re going to New York, find a way to go here. Be sure to make reservations though.