Blink and you’d miss the tiny sign on East 18th Street that marks the entrance to ABC Kitchen, especially when you’re walking towards a blaring, setting sun.

Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband walked straight past and, after crossing that great east/west dividing line (otherwise known as 5th Avenue), we knew we had to backtrack. Luckily, the girls we asked for help told us to follow them – they were off to dinner there as well.

ABC Kitchen is the casual, yet very glam-looking outlet for NYC superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Jean-Georges, who hails from the Alsace region of France, has restaurants around the world but it’s NYC where he’s a celebrity. Greedy Girl had been tempted to try his eponymous fine-dining establishment in the Trump Tower but there’s so many choices here. When our friendly Maitre D at the NoMad, Nic, recommended ABC Kitchen (and walking distance from our NYC apartment) we immediately secured a booking.

Even with the sun blazing outside, the interior of ABC Kitchen (in the same building as the giant ABC homewares retail outlet) is dark and moody, offset with white furnishings, floors and extravagant light fittings. It’s very cool and absolutely buzzing with cashed-up Gen Ys out for a feed. Despite the, ahem, age disparity, Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband were quite comfortable and still managed to carry on a conversation despite the noisy environment.

Our delightful server, Jac, obviously enjoyed the food here. When gluttonous husband asked her the specialties of the house, she found it difficult not to mention virtually everything on the menu. We opted for two appetisers, a main course for Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband chose an appetiser-sized version of a special for a slightly lighter main. Almost two weeks into this sojourn, we were feeling a bit of food overload. Nonetheless …

Greedy Girl sat sipping her Cosmopolitan (for the second time, made with Tito’s vodka from Texas, must be the vodka du jour) and gluttonous husband had the Ithaca Flower Power IPA. First to arrive were salmon tartare and fried calamari. This was one of the most flavoursome salmon tartare dishes Greedy Girl has ever sampled. It burst in the mouth, with a profusion of lovely, fresh herbs, fennel, some pickled peppers and just the right amount of mustard. It was served with some little toasts which gluttonous husband thought were too stodgy but Greedy Girl loved their crispy counterpoint.

Salmon tartare

Salmon tartare

Gluttonous husband had the calamari dusted in pretzel crumbs with aioli and marinara sauce. The calamari was perfectly edible – a little firm but not chewy. All good but not exceptional. Greedy Girl thought she could discern the flavour of pretzels but maybe it was the power of positive thinking. The marinara sauce was quite spicy, while the aioli was flavoured with mustard, according to the menu, but didn’t have much of a hit.

Calamari dusted in pretzel crumbs

Calamari dusted in pretzel crumbs

On to mains. Gluttonous husband chose a special – soft shell crab with sweet chilli sauce. Again, this was a perfectly nice dish without being a rave. The leaves gave a good contrast. Greedy Girl wasn’t a fan of the sweet sauce and gluttonous husband didn’t think it had quite enough punch. The serving size (appetiser) was more than big enough, especially as Greedy Girl shared her main dish.

Soft shell crab with sweet chilli sauce

Soft shell crab with sweet chilli sauce

She had the akaushi cheeseburger with pickled jalapeno peppers and a herb mayo. Akaushi is a type of beef and it was very edible. The profusion of rocket leaves served with this as well as the peppers gave the burger a bit of a spicy hit. Delightful. The fries were pretty good too – infused with the liberal spears of rosemary in the serving dish. Yum.

akaushi cheeseburger

Akaushi cheeseburger

It was then on to dessert; we immediately took Jac’s advice and went for the dish pictured at the top of this blog. OMG. Described as a ‘sundae’ it was salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts, popcorn, chocolate fudge and a tiny quenelle of whipped cream on top. Even Greedy Girl ate the ice-cream – that’s how good this was as a combination.

ABC Kitchen is a great stop for some well-executed snacks and very much the ‘entry level’ to Jean- Georges’ cuisine. Greedy Girl would go back in a heartbeat for the dessert.

ABC Kitchen

35 E 18th Street, New York

ABC Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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