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ABC Kitchen, near Union Square - 2011 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant

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I was hoping to try the brunch menu at ABC Kitchen, but got confused about the time/date info on the website. Despite arriving just a few minutes after the noon opening time, we were told all of their tables were 'committed'. Fortunately, there was space at the rear bar, which was bright and relatively quiet and looks into the ABC Home store. The $28 3-course prix fixe was a steal, given the quality of the ingredients and the care and attention that were apparent in each dish.

We shared each course, so I sampled the following 6 dishes:

  • Cauliflower soup - topped with rye croutons and a few red chili slices. Very good flavor, though it could have stood to be thinned a bit.
  • Roasted beets with homemade yogurt - a beautiful dish made with pretty, colorful beets. A neighbor at the bar commented that she thought it was strawberries and cream - which it did look like. The taste was all fresh beet and thick tangy yogurt - lovely and refreshing.
  • Braised hake with cabbage, chilies, and seaweed - this was one of the most perfectly prepared fish dishes I've had in a long time. The savoy cabbage and seaweed paired nicely with the meatiness of the hake.
  • Duck yolk and ricotta raviolo on ...* ragu - An impressive presentation - a single saucer-sized raviolo with a runny duck yolk topping the ricotta filling. (*damned if I can remember what the meat was, but it was delicious)
  • Cranberry upside down cake - moist and tangy, with poached cranberries and orange creme fraiche on the side. A gorgeous fall/winter dessert.
  • Sundae - salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and popcorn, chocolate sauce....what more can I say. Decadence in a bowl.

Service was good, attentive but not too formal. Just fine for the bar. Kudos to the young man who handled a complainer unhappy with not getting a table "they should know who people are..."

Definitely near the top of my list of best meals of 2011.

(I still want to go back for the buttermilk pancakes with berries and lemon curd at brunch. :P)

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Several years ago, opening Chef de Cuisine Dan Kluger struck out on his own - I'm not sure how long he's had his own website, but you can track his career progress here at DanKluger.com.

Kluger was replaced as Chef de Cuisine by Karen Shu in Jun, 2014, and since then, it seems like ABC Kitchen has ghosted us in terms of who's running the kitchen. This happens so often with well-funded, corporate restaurants: It's almost as if they don't want you to know who's quarterbacking the kitchen, because they don't want it to be a news item every time there's a turnover (get it?)

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