Sunday, January 30, 2011

New York City - A 48 Hour Gastronomic Weekend (ABC Kitchen)

Woke up Saturday morning to find the sun illuminating that amazing Central Park view and the seventh deadly sin of gluttony calling my name (we've grown quite fond of each other lately). That little birthday treat that the Mandarin Oriental left in my hotel room was staring me down and guess who won? The inside was a sinfully soft and fluffy chocolate mousse, rich and decadent, with a dollop of lemon curd and raspberries at the bottom. If only every day started like this:

Then when the guilt set in (i.e., immediately), I took the elevator to the 36th floor and went for a swim in the heated pool. Having a pool in New York City (with a view of the Hudson!) is a total luxury that not many properties can boast and I could not help but take advantage on this 32 degree winter morning.
I finally made it out the door, even though the beauty of this Mandarin Oriental property in the winter is that you can take the elevator to the third floor, and without ever going outside, be indoors at the Shops at Columbus Circle Mall, which houses many stores, restaurants (including the famous Per Se) and a massive Whole Foods in the basement.

I took a long walk around lower 5th Avenue, Madison Square Park, the Flatiron District and Gramercy areas and eventually found myself inside the famous ABC Carpet and Home store, where I love to get inspiration from all of the fabrics, colors, rugs, lighting and home imports from around the globe. But my real motivation for entering the store was to experience the currently hotter than hot Jean Georges Vongerichten farm-to-table restaurant on the first floor called ABC Kitchen.

The theme of the restaurant is sustainability, locally and organically sourced products and recycled materials. A truly cozy dining room, you feel as if you are walking into a french country farmhouse. Light white-washed wood floors, venetian plaster walls, ceiling beams transported from an old barn, locally handmade porcelain dinnerware, tree branch installations, salvaged wood tables, and handmade bread baskets from Patagonia all add to this warm "shabby chic" atmosphere. Placemats and menus come from 100% recycled paper and coasters are squares of cardboard from shipping boxes. Literally everything used in this restaurant either had a previous life, or will have a new one.

While ABC Kitchen is receiving rave reviews for both lunch and dinner (my friend Leigh sat next to Gwenyth Paltrow here three nights ago) I went for the morning brunch served on Saturday and Sundays. I had one of their homemade sodas with lemon and thyme and we all shared the glazed donuts with jam. Equally appealing were the warm and light buttermilk pancakes with lemon curd. And the grand finale was the colossal sundae with salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and popcorn, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

ABC Kitchen also features a long bar and some high top tables in the bar area if you wish to go for a drink (cocktails, homemade sodas or a long list of blended super juices are on offer) or just a small bite, without ordering an entire meal. The restaurant is currently booking ten days out so plan in advance of your next visit. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I suggest ABC Kitchen to everyone. Jean-Georges did a wonderful job of creating the best menu using locally grown and sold products. The hippy inside of me couldn't be happier. The food is fantastic. I tried about half the menu and only stopped so I had a reason to return the next day. Also, I had the pleasure to sit next to Gwyneth Paltrow, which I was happy to see her there supporting the farm-to-table approach of ABC Kitchen.