A little over a month ago, I received an email from a certain David Gonzalez of Ken & Cook (@kenandcook) inviting me check out their restaurant! This sort of recognition has never happened to me, so I was very apprehensive at first. I looked up the restaurant, only to find that it’s in New York. Well, that’s AMAZING!!
This email is what spawned the entire NYC food trip last month. Of course, we couldn’t make it to all the places we wanted to hit up when we went last year so this invitation was the perfect excuse for a part two. :)
Besides food coming out of the kitchen, ken & cook also has a raw bar, serving up fresh clams, oysters, shrimp, and lobster. If you want to go all the way, get the Kenmare Plateau for $99!
Love the classic brasserie feel of Ken & Cook. Clean, but welcoming! Artan, the managing partner/foh manager welcomed us with open arms. :D
There’s a row of tables on the other side of the bar. This place was packed! I think these two diners were laughing at being photographed. Thanks for being such great sports strangers! :D Much appreciated.
We arrived a few minutes earlier for our reservation. Without a table open yet, we were invited to enjoy a drink barside while we waited. This place was so live I love it!
The main bartender is such a cheery guy! If I enjoyed my alcohol more, I’d love to eat at the bar sometime. :D Should you feel down, he’d be able to make you feel cheery again. At least, that’s the vibe I got from him haha.
Not too sure when you’d need either of these condiments but the jars look neat! I love my grainy mustard!
The menu’s a one-pager. Smart! It’s Italian-style in that there’s cheese, charcuterie, a 1st (antipasti/apps), 2nd (pastas) and 3rd (mains/meat/fish) course. Then there are also sides that you can order too.
Bread. This was a bit of a rough start because it was hard. :( Uhoh. The olive oil was good stuff but it was so challenging just to tear the bread.
On the left is Andrew’s white sangria. It’s not on the menu. When we were at the bar earlier, he noticed someone at the bar sipping on it so he asked the bartender to make one up for him as well. On the right, Darian’s Harpoon IPA. See, I wasn’t kidding when I said that he had beer with EVERYTHING!
CHARCUTERIE (5 each)
We went for it. The whole shebang (all 5 varieties) which is rather pricey. I really enjoyed just about everything on the board, especially the culatello (from the leg)! Melt in your mouth good. The dried raisins went really well with the chorizo (w/ paprika). I prefer the charcuterie at Black Hoof.
Artan came around and questioned the ladies why we weren’t drinking. naha Next thing you know, he said that he’ll take care of us and comes back with a Day Break Boy (I think that’s what it was…there’s bourbon in there!) and a cucumber martini. We enjoyed both but I’m weaksauce so I traded my bourbon cocktail for Andrew’s sangria. Thanks! :D
TARTAR (16) – beef, egg, toast
I’m by no means a connoisseur when it comes to tartare. All I know is that if it tastes good, good textures, nice flavours, then I’m happy! This looks promising. I’m guessing the beef is lighter because it’s fattier than what I’m used to?
Step one: cut the egg, allow the yolk to ooze out. It’s screaming “EAT ME” right now! I really enjoyed the tartare. All the textures and flavours were balanced.
Cheers to a great food trip! We were having an awesome time so far. Time for more food ;D
More beer for Darian!
I’ll first start off by commenting on the pasta, which had the perfect texture and bite to it. I really like the presentation, what with the clams all lined up. Good flavours overall but I wouldn’t have minded more clam juice in the sauce. Gimme that brininess! Oh yeah! ;)
PAPPARDELLE (23) – veal, radicchio, tomato
This was a solid dish for me. I think pappardelle may be my favourite pasta because the ribbons soak up whatever sauce or broth it’s in. The veal was tender, it flavoured the tomato sauce so nicely. Compared to the linguine, this has more depth to it.
BLACK BASS (28) – broccoli rabe, clams, tomato
I’ve yet to have fish at a restaurant that I’ll dream about when I sleep that evening. Then this black bass came along. Albeit a pricey dish, cost aside, this was a great piece of fish.
The skin was crispy, it was moist, I couldn’t get enough of that broth and the rabe which was surprisingly buttery! This broth definitely had a good amount of clam juice in it, awesome.
BURGER (18) – wagyu, onion jam, gruyere
I remember reading about Ken & Cook’s wagyu burger somewhere before so I insisted we order it. Around 9:30/10 o’clock, the lights dimmed so much to the point where flash was necessary. I don’t like flash, so we made a makeshift light source using the flashlight on my phone and diffusing it with a napkin. Ghetto right? Meh, lighting on the fly!
There was a mention of brisket in there. This was a great burger!! Brioche bun, my fave. And the onion jam, you can’t go wrong with that (it was glorious). I didn’t perceive a big difference with the use of wagyu beef but it was definitely a very moist and beefy burger. Just under medium rare, nice.
By the time we finished up the fries that came with the burger, we were positively stuffed! Besides us and perhaps another table, it looked as though the only other people left were those at the bar. But it ain’t over yet!
Blame it on our server, for being so on top of things, such as reading my unconscious desires and bringing over dessert menus for us to peruse. As soon as he gave them to us, I knew it was over. Now we HAD to try something.
DESSERTPEACH (9) – bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar
Andrew and Vickie really wanted to get this. It was a great choice because they loved it! Not that delicate nor intricate, but it’s homey and soothing. I, on the other hand, thought it was just alright. Were those peaches canned or fresh? I couldn’t quite tell…which worried me.
BEIGNET (9) – ricotta, lemon, glaze
Now this dessert caught my eye. So smart…we’re all full and I decide to order probably the heaviest dessert on the menu. The beignets were so light and airy (thanks to the ricotta?). Love the lemon in there to brighten it up. On the side is a little cup of blueberry lavender sauce. Great combination! I’d get this again in a heartbeat!
After checking out the now opened lounge/club downstairs, li'l charlie's, Artan breaks out a bottle of Clase Azul tequila! Can you tell he’s excited? We all had a shot together. Here’s to more good times in new york! :D (smoothest tequila I’ve ever had; so well balanced!)
End of the night. We chatted for a bit with Chef Diamonte. He’s a cool guy, very laid back and approachable!
The only signage outside. Very minimal.
P.S. We dared to go to papaya king after that ginormous meal. All that food and itising impaired our judgment. Good thing they JUST closed as we arrived.
So instead, we walked back to our apartment. There's a TD nearby! Did not know they
expanded to the states... Toronto pride! :D
Verdict: I think this goes without say that my friends and I had an amazing meal here. That includes service, food, and atmosphere! The food is a bit on the pricey side. Would I come back again? Let’s just say that you shouldn’t be surprised if I make a stop here next time I’m in NYC.
Check ‘em out! http://www.kenandcook.com/index.html
4.5 out of 5 NOMsnomnomnomnomnoh