By Barry Bassis
With all the new theaters that have opened on 42nd Street west of 9th Avenue and the surrounding area, we’re always on the lookout for new places to dine or have a drink before or after a show. Our prayers were answered when KTCHN opened last year.
There may be some letters missing in the name but nothing is lacking in the ambiance or delicious dining under executive chef Dale Schnell. There is a bustling bar in the front room and then a more spacious dining room in the back. The tables are spaced well apart, so you can carry on an intimate conversation without the nearby diners listening in.
The cuisine is labeled New American but has a Mediterranean bent, both from Southern Europe and northern Africa. The dishes are tasty and are artfully presented. Just look at the Duck Breast with broccoli rabe, cranberry bean ragout, and nicoise olive and the East Coast Oysters with leek fondue and basil caviar in warm champagne sauce.
We began our feast with the luscious Crispy Maine Lobster Risotto Cubes and the addictive Sexy Fries (which were a bit spicy and could be ordered as a side dish). Another unique starter suggested by our knowledgeable waiter Jefferson was Braised Cherry Wood Smoked Bacon with crisp artichokes, golden polenta and blue cheese vinaigrette. For main courses, KTCHN has all the bases covered.
Sea food lovers will enjoy the combination of flavors in the Black Sea Bass with gnocchi noir, green beans, crispy bacon, and poached squid in sorrel sauce. For meat eaters, there is a classic Grilled Filet Mignon (served medium rare as ordered) with wild mushroom ravioli and baby spinach in pinot noir sauce. Vegetarians have such delectable options as Moroccan couscous with golden raisins, harissa and root vegetables. We left room for dessert: Fresh Donuts (for two) with chocolate, salted caramel & raspberry sauce, which brought back memories of beignets at the Café du Monde in New Orleans. KTCHN is open for brunch, dinner, and late night snacks. Keep your eye open for special events, such as evenings with live music or a DJ. The show and prix fixe dinner on Valentine’s Day seems to have been a hit. KTCHN is worth a trip even if you don’t have theater tickets.
508 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036