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Ken & Cook, 19 Kenmore Street in NoLIta - Chef Richard Diamante and GM Artan Gjoni come from Jean-Georges

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I had a pretty great time this past weekend in NYC. I got a chance to catch up with some friends for dinner on Friday night at Ken & Cook (official website here). The food is pretty straightforward and simply prepared almost like a fine steakhouse yet without the primary focus on the steak. We ordered a mixed charcuterie board, (deep breath) grilled squid, beet & avocado salad, beef tartare, veal pappardelle, mussels with chorizo, the black bass, salmon, wagyu flank, fried chicken, and the cote de boeuf. Like most places, the dishes were hit or miss but rather than going through each one, I'll just highlight the ones we liked best. The grilled squid came with a nice char on them which imparted a great smoky flavor. They placed a sunny side egg on to the tartare to make it pretty rich and decadent. The veal and sauce of the pappardelle were spot on but the highlight of the dish was the fresh home made pasta that was ribbon wide and paper thin. It absorbed a good amount of the flavors in the sauce without losing too much of its own. I found it ironic that my favorite dish of the night was the cote de boeuf which was just a simply done rib eye steak that came barely medium rare with garlic and shallots. The meat was flavorful, tender and we probably could have ate another.

We went there because one of the managers asked us to come and try it out and we probably would never normally would choose it if we were strictly looking for a good meal. The menu isn't something that would catch my eye and there are simply too many other choices in the city. However, I'm glad we went because the place is an absolute scene. I don't know if it's normally like this but it was fashion week and there were certainly a fair share of 'beautiful people' in this joint. It was packed and there was certainly a lot to take in. It certainly wasn't our typical choice but every once in a while, it's fun to go to a place like this. For the six of us, it was a fun environment to catch up in and while I can't wholeheartedly recommend the food, I can definitely recommend the experience if you're looking for that type of thing just to see what it's like.

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