Dinner at Ken and Cook – A Good Neighborhood Restaurant

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.

Exterior at night
Looking out from the bar Banquette seating
View of the bar
Exterior (at night), looking out on Kenmare from the bar, and part of the interior, the bar

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.

Tomato salad
Lychee martini and Tomato salad

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.

Drinks: Lychee martini and Sancerre "Reserve Vieilles Vignes" Gerard 2011 Squid salad with yogurt, mint, chili
Lychee martini and glass of Sancerre to pair with the squid 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.

Oyster Rockefeller
Oyster Rockefeller

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.

Seared black bass
Seared black bass

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.

Wagyu flank steak with pesto, asparagus, almond
Wagyu flank steak

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).

Dessert with coffee
Dessert with coffee

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

Website: http://www.kenandcook.com
19 Kenmare Street (near Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (212) 966-3058


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.