Perfect for: Fun dinner with a bunch of good friends
Price range: $$$ Exxy
My rating: 8.5/10
Food: 8.5/10 Service: 8/10 Ambience: 9/10
As one of Jean Georges' restaurants, ABC Kitchen is renowned for two things: 1) incredibly fresh good food, and 2) hard-to-get reservations. I love a bit of challenge, especially when it comes to restaurants, so here I was on a Monday night at 6pm, ready and eager to eat.
The thing about eating alone is that you can wander into whichever restaurant and get a spot immediately (in most situations), but you don't get to try your dining companion's food either. So I'm limited to order a couple of items from the menu and left lusting after 90% of the menu.
For my starter, I order the very popular roast carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus. This was a dish combining both cold and warm incredibly well, with the warm roast carrots combined with avocado and the salad of watercress, seeds and sour cream. The dressing was perfectly tart which brought out the sweetness from the avocado and carrots. All the ingredients tasted incredibly fresh, as promised.
roast carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus
And I order the ricotta cavatelli, fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and meyer lemon for my main course. The cavatelli is similar to gnocchi but is longer in form. It was served on a bed of broccoli rabe, which had a very similar taste to pesto, but made with broccoli rabe and the broccoli rabe stalks gave a similar texture to what the pine nuts would do in pesto. I probably would've preferred for this to have a little bit more bite, otherwise this dish was the perfect amount of richness and pasta-to-ingredients ratio.
ricotta cavatelli, fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and meyer lemon
My overall verdict on the food is that it was great but not exceptional - the two dishes that I tried were simple but had different layers of texture and flavour, and ingredients were very fresh as promised.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun and has a very casual yet up-market feel to it. I feel like it is much more of a place that you'd go to with a bunch of friends and get a number of dishes to share. The service was fine at the bar - I wouldn't say they were very attentive at all, but then that's what you get for eating at the bar.
Would I come back? Yes. But I'm not going to kick up a fuss if I don't. There are plenty of other places in New York that I'd go back to or want to try before I come back here.