I’ve been curious of ABC Kitchen‘s food for a while. Despite the fact I’ve eaten Chef Kluger’s food from two different events. The dishes Kluger created for these events were memorable. It was soulful, bold flavored food despite one was a protein (roast pork) and the other was pasta.
I ended up meeting my lawyer friend G for lunch a few days ago before we get immersed into our hectic holiday schedule. The dining room is rustic yet pretty. Blonde wooden floors, low back chairs and a mix of white and wooden table tops give an air of casual sophistication. Despite the fact I arrived around 12 PM, the bar was bustling and about half the dining room was full.
After greeting each other, we perused through the menu and decided on the prix fixe (3 courses, $28) and share a bowl of pasta.
G’s shaved radish toast was minimalism at its best. The watermelon radish was fresh, crisp, and sweet and the fruity olive oil added some richness. The thickly sliced bread had enough heft to support the thick layer of radishes and provided some toasted, nutty flavor to the whole appetizer. My cauliflower soup, rye croutons, rupert cheese was phenomenal. Piping hot, creamy and hearty. It’s one of those dishes you want to have in chilly winter days. It’ll warm you up both on your palate and internally, as I bit on one of the paper-thin slices of spicy jalapeno peppers. The large cubes of toasted, buttery rye croutons added some lovely crunchy texture.
Along with the above appetizers, we shared the kasha and bowtie, veal meatballs ($16). This large bowl was very good. The tender bowtie pasta mixed with a warm, sweet, caramelized onion mixture with crunchy kasha. The veal meatballs were delicious. Soft and packed with tons of flavor. As a whole, it’s a sweet and savory dish that’s more complex than a simple bowl of bowtie pasta with meatballs.
Moving onto our mains, G’s ricotta and farm egg raviolo, pork ragu, chilies, mint and parmesan would make any pasta-phile happy. The tender (with a tiny bit of chew) palm-sized raviolo was sublime. The oozy egg yolk meets creamy ricotta created this hearty, rich sauce even though the pork ragu was lighter. It balances the dish out.
My braised cod, cabbage, chiles, seaweed was a light dish. It’s very good, as the cod was meaty and perfectly cooked. The cabbage and seaweed gave some sweetness.
For dessert, we were excited over the salted caramel ice cream, hot chocolate sauce and caramel peanut popcorn just because this was considered the restaurant’s signature dessert. I understand why it is, as the flavors worked together as a whole. The creamy salted caramel ice cream meets not-too-thick hot chocolate sauce with slightly crunchy caramel coated popcorn. The various temperatures, textures and balanced flavors create a beautiful ice cream sundae harmony.
The upside down cranberry cake was a bit more complex than stated on the menu. The cake itself had a subtle nutmeg and clove flavor. It’s perfectly moist without being a wet sponge that I encounter occasionally from upside down cakes. The cranberries were wonderfully tart. It’s a great late fall/winter dessert.
This prix fixe is a great lunch deal, especially with cooking this superb. The service was very good, as the servers were professional yet friendly.
After paying the check, we wandered around the gorgeous bohemian-luxurious ABC Home store, which is part of this restaurant.
For more photos of this meal, please click through the slideshow below or my Flickr photoset: