I'm a little bit late on the bandwagon for this one, but ABC Kitchen is now one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ok maybe my ENTRY is late - I went for the first time back in the Spring). You see, I never know when JP gets out of work so I've started making reservations at restaurants several weeks in advance just in case he's free in the evening (or weekend for that matter). I'd canceled and rescheduled reservations numerous times already (Dell'Anima, Untitled at the Whitney) but this was one reservation I was not going to let go of, even if it meant going without him. Granted the restaurant has been getting a ton of buzz for a while now but I booked before it won the James Beard for Best New Restaurant earlier this year, and now it'll probably be even more difficult (I am still bitter about how I kept nagging him to go to Locanda Verde with me until one day early in their existence, NYTimes did a review and I still haven't gone there for dinner). On the plus side, ABC Kitchen has a fairly spacious bar area for walk-ins and some seating at the cafe in the back, where the same menu is served.
We went on a Sunday night. I went again the following Tuesday for lunch. That's how good it was. Since then, we've had brunch there twice. Their cocktails are bright and fresh. Their veggies are ridiculously delicious, especially the beets which I got twice, as well as the roasted carrot and avocado salad. For me the dinner was more memorable than the lunch but that's because the pasta I had at lunch (bowties with kasha and veal meatballs, below) didn't impress me much.
What did impress me was the other pasta we had - cavateppi with spring peas, guanciale and parmesan. I gave half of a half of a half sized portion (...you following that? we got the smaller portion, which they split into two, and I gave him half of mine) since he didn't want to touch the beets after having a tiny bite. But I didn't care, more for me!
This is just really good, simple market-based cooking done well, with very reasonable portions (perhaps one of a handful of times when I didn't feel like I was pregnant with a food baby after dinner). Oh, and their cream-filled doughnuts with a rich dark chocolate sauce aren't too bad either. More dinners and brunches here await!