Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

jean-georges' abc kitchen

ABC Kitchen is located in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan. It's the vision of famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Per their website, the restaurant is focused on local, sustainable, organic, and seasonal produce. This is not a new food concept for San Franciscans, but in the NYC this makes headlines. The interior of ABC Kitchen mirrors it's food concepts - a medley of harvest tables, edison bulbs, french countryside motifs, and exposed raw materials.

We made reservations for a Friday lunch, meaning we were seated in a completely packed restaurant beside power lunchers, european tourist, and NYC socialites. I definitely recommend making reservations because even during lunch the wait was 45 mins unless you could score a table at the front bar. Service was pleasant as we were seated within 10 mins of arriving. The size of the restaurant is deceiving as our hostess escorted through the three rooms before finally seating us in the casual cafe area.

The seasonal menu constantly changes and on this day there were several vegetarian options. Sheila and I decide to order a separate starters and share the main course. We decided on the roasted beets with house-made yogurt; lentil soup with celery root, parmesan and herbs; and ricotta ravioli w/ tomato sauce.

The beets, both golden and red, surprising complemented the house-made greek yogurt. This was a light and refreshing dish which was a perfect start to our meal. The airy yogurt was slightly thick as greek yogurt should be, yet was not overly tart or sour. The size was a bit small, otherwise Sheila could have had this as her main course. We would order this again.

The lentil soup was vaguely reminiscent of a home-style curry we typically make at home called maag. The twists were heathy texture and the inclusion of celery root and parmesan, which add a depth of buttery flavor. However, I have to say that the parmesan added too much saltiness which ended up overpowering everything else. We'd pass on this next time, especially at $13.

The kitchen was kind enough to pre-split our ravioli which ensure that we had an equal ratio of pieces and sauces - a nice touch. A real fresh al dente pasta with an equally fresh and creamy ricotta filling. Perhaps it was rolled and filled to order? Highly unlikely but you could have fooled me. The tomato sauce was a fine balance of sweetness and tartness with a very subtle herb flavor. The best part of the dish was by far the ricotta. We'd recommend this one, despite it's $23 menu price.

Overall the concept for ABC Kitchen is authentic in a city where there are unlimited eatery options. The ambience, fresh produce flavors, and inventive vegetarian dishes makes it an intriguing dining experience. Sheila and I would return even though it ended up being an expensive lunch meal ($60), but what else would you expect from a Jean-Georges restaurant.

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