Ken & Cook Brunch

From the second I stepped foot inside the doorway, I could do nothing but swoon over the design of Ken & Cook. This little restaurant, which opened less than a month ago in New York, can be described as nothing better than charming with an edge.

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It’s a small, quaint, open-air bistro, like something you would find in a seaside town in Southern France or even Greece. The small, circular wooden tables and chairs spread from inside out on to the front patio, shaded by a striped awning that is traditional in the best way possible. There’s a chalk board heralding the latest specials on the sidewalk and a seafood counter by the doorway, where oysters and shellfish sit on ice, tempting seafood lovers upon entry.

However, the space has a masculine, upgraded and modern feel. The bar—long elegant and sleek (yet with traditional wooden bar stools) is stunning. There are well-lit and well-organized shelves stalking all the way up to the ceiling filled with bottles of liquor back-lit by orange-tinged lights. It’s a really handsome bar, perfect for a couple who wants a sexy cocktail hour. It certainly is Instagram worthy.

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After I traipsed around the restaurant admiring the space (we arrived five minutes after Ken & Cook opened for brunch), we sat at a wooden table at the edge of the open-air restaurant. Even the windows are an exercise in bistro meets masculinity: the garage style enormous windows are adorned with traditional white lace curtains.

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Ken & Cook pays attention to detail, with tiny details being oh-so-slightly-European. There are old fashioned, functioning phone booths by the bathroom. When you order coffee, it is a full coffee service, with the mugs arriving on a silver tray, with small carafes of cream and sugar cubes in silver serving dishes.

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The menu is printed on the paper placemat, which, again, is very much in the vein of a European bistro.

The napkins, too, are reminiscent of a seaside bistro, in that they are more like cloth dish towels than napkins. Unfortunately, they left lint all over our laps (all three of us), which is never a good thing.

The busboy shows up along side you with a bread basket, filled with portion-size loaves of fresh French bread, placing them on your bread plate for you.

The drinks, however, were nothin’ but American. The mimosas were served in wine glasses, which the Bitches never argue with. And the Bloody Mary was a sight to be seen: enormous, with huge pieces of celery sticking out of the top, along with olives and a lemon.

As for the menu, it was a fine selection of sweet dishes (pancakes, waffles, yogurt and French toast) as well as savory. You can also order from the raw bar, and select sides of bacon, sausage, potatoes and the like. There are plenty of beers on tap. Best of all, each brunch entree is served with a complimentary brunch cocktail: mimosa, bellini, Bloddy Mary or Sangria. While I ordered a mimosa, I am always thrilled by diversity, and  the fact that Ken & Cook offers up Bellinis as well as sangria is a thoughtful, much-appreciated detail.

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Dani selected the biscuits and gravy, described simply as “sausage, egg, biscuits” on the menu. She said the gravy was amazing, and just kept repeating that her entree was quite good, and her eggs were poached perfectly, a feat that is often hard to do. The dish was served with home fries, some of the best I’ve ever had.

Lindsey selected the omelet, which contained goat cheese, asparagus and parsley. It was enormous, and served with a side salad. All in all, it was a fine omelet and a nice salad, not much more to be said for that.

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My dish, I’d venture, was the best dish on the table: the smoked salmon. It was an enormous plate of smoked salmon served with toast points, capers, and onions, as well as a side salad. The best part was the whole roasted tomato, that came deliciously hot and filled with bread crumbs. Sometimes, I’m weird with tomatoes (it’s the texture), but I devoured this one in full.

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The French toast was unique, and could have been grotesque or delicious, based solely on the menu description. However, thankfully, it was delicious. Enormous slices of delicious fluffy sliced sesame bread, perfectly battered in egg and cooked so that it’s crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. However, rather than syrup, this sesame French toast was topped with orange marmalade, pine nuts and ricotta.

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Truthfully, when I read the menu all I could think was nuts with orange jelly? what the hell? But after one bite, the whole orange marmalade, pine nuts, ricotta and syrup thing somehow worked in the most delightfully surprising of fashions.

The Bitches say: A+ for a great vibe, beautifully designed space, attentive service and delicious, well-crafted cuisine at fair prices with a complimentary cocktail!

Ken & Cook
19 Kenmare Street
Nolita
New York, New York
(212)  966-3058

Ken & Cook on Urbanspoon

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