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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ABC K-i-t-c-h-e-n, Part 2

My place setting at ABC Kitchen
I just returned home from a lengthy and lovely dinner with my very dear friend (a.k.a. partner in crime), Cynthia. Being that we both were working until about nine, we decided to meet midway, at Union Square, at ten. I'd spent my minutes on the subway trying to think of a convenient place where Cynthia and I could meet for a pit stop. ABC Kitchen, being just a short walk from Union Square, seemed to be a sensible decision.

Arriving at ABC, I gave my name to the maître d' while I waited for Cynthia to arrive. I knew I had at good twenty minutes or so before Cynthia would arrive which left me with plenty of time to examine the menus. While I sipped iced coffee at the bar, I more or less narrowed down my decisions to: a bottle of Castellroig brut cava ($42) and my favorite ABC dish, chicken liver toast ($10, up from $9). At exactly 10:15 (the time I'd requested for a table), the hostess approached to let me know: "we're just resetting your table."

A few quick minutes later, I was escorted to a table in the main dining room. Shortly thereafter, Cynthia arrived and quickly scanned the menu selecting: pork belly appetizer with shaved (and pickled?) radishes and spinach and quinoa salad with shitake mushrooms and goat cheese. Our dishes, which we'd asked to be brought out all at once, came out faster than I had anticipated. What I'd worried was going to be too little food, ended up being quite a bit. As the final dishes were laid before us, another runner approached carrying a plate of brussels sprouts, (dressed in a wonderful dressing) "compliments of the chef."

Delighted, Cynthia and I dove right into dishing out portions for each other onto share plates. The first dish I sampled was Cynthia's pork belly appetizer. With three layers--crispy, meaty and fatty--it was truly a taste experience any meat lover would enjoy. Next, I moved onto my chicken liver toast, but didn't love it as much as I'd remembered. The pâté seemed less "moussy" and flavorful than the previous time. After having a few of the perfectly charred and wonderfully flavorful brussels sprouts, I moved onto sampling Cynthia's spinach and quinoa salad. I skipped forking up any quinoa (I'm not a huge fan of the stuff), but was pretty pleased with the taste of the 'meaty' shitake mushrooms. Throughout the meal, the highly affordable Catellroig cava was pas mal.

As minutes turned into hours... we still hadn't gotten through what seemed to be a bottomless bottle of cava, and had no room left for dessert. As we slowly made our way toward the front door, we managed to become fast friends with nearly the entire staff. One of our many servers that evening recommended coming back in a month, "when the green market really starts to pick up." Cynthia and I were both impressed with the service at ABC Kitchen (and it takes quite a bit to impress us) and will definitely return next month to sample the seasonal offerings.
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