A few nights ago, I had a solid dinner at Ken and Cook. Co-owner and chef Richard Diamonte was at the kitchen that humid evening.
Ken and Cook’s ambiance is what I would call an American brassiere type of restaurant. Pressed tin walls, white painted brick walls, touches of brass, and leather banquette booths on one side of the restaurant. The bar is found toward the back of the restaurant. Familiar and not too trendy. This also reflects on the menu. The menu reads familiar but it’s different enough that it’s not overly ambitious or cerebral that would alienate this neighborhood.
I started with their delicious lychee martini ($14) made of vodka, elderflower liqueur, and fresh lychee. Refreshing and sweet like I was craving in my drink then it was delicious. I started with a seasonal tomato salad ($14)*. The various tomatoes (cherry and what seems like beefsteak) were sweet and juicy but it was a touch too salty from the aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled within the salad.
The squid salad ($15) was very good. Tender bites of squid with touches of heat from the finely sliced chili peppers and creamy, cooling, refreshing mint and yogurt.
The Oyster Rockefeller ($17) was my favorite dish of the evening. Blue Point oysters perfectly baked in a creamy, not too heavy creamed spinach flavored with Pernod and crisp breadcrumb. It was excellently paired with the glass of Sancerre ($15), as the wine’s crispness and delicate sweetness emphasized the dish’s flavors enormously.
The black sea bass ($28) was seared, set in tomato broth, broccoli rabe, and topped with a duo of littleneck clams stuffed with chili-speckled diced tomatoes. The flavors were delicious and had great depth.
The Wagyu flank steak ($26) was tender and flavorful cut of beef. I liked the light preparation of the flank steak with a bright pesto, sweet cherry tomatoes, and asparagus with a few flakes of toasted almond. It was even better with the delicately balanced Briseo Reserva Pinot Noir 2008 ($15).
To end the meal, I had a verrine of mixed berries and mascarpone. According to my waiter, this is a very new dessert that debuted this week. It’s a very simple, seasonal, and tasty dessert. The best part for me was the honey crusted pistachios that topped this dessert. It’s sweet but it’s sublime with the berries and added a crunchy texture to this dessert.
To view more of my photos of this meal, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):
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*Note: Most of the dishes are tasting portions as I’ve had multi-courses from their dinner menu. Prices mentioned are for their normal, larger sized dishes.
Ken and Cook
19 Kenmare Street (near Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (212) 966-3058