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The Kitchen Club

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The Kitchen Club

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Address: 30 Prince Street
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10012
Phone: (212) 274-0025
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Chef: Marja Samsom
Cuisine: Asian
2nd Cuisine: Eclectic
Area: NoLita
Entree Price: $20-25


Talk about being ahead of the curve! When Marja Samsom opened The Kitchen Club at the corner of Prince and Mott Streets nearly 15 years ago – the restaurant will celebrate that remarkable milestone on New Year’s Eve – it was perched in a no man’s land between Little Italy and NoHo. Now, of course, it’s prime real estate in trendy NoLiTa. But it’s more than being in the right place that has led this adorable – some might even say eccentric – spot to survive in a neighborhood where restaurants come and go with alarming alacrity. It’s the superior food and friendly service. It might also be Chibi, the cute-as-can-be dog who roams the restaurant (and whose moniker is the inspiration for Samson’s other eatery, Chibitini, on Clinton Street). Or perhaps the incredible bread that starts off the meal. But more likely, it’s the dumplings, Samson’s signature dish that arrives at practically every table. Delicate and flavorful, they’re a far cry from your corner Chinese takeout place. (They’re also twice the price.) Of the three variations we tried, the delectable duck and ginger dumplings took top honors, but the earthy mushroom dumplings or the more ethereal spinach and shrimp ones were also delicious. There are other starters, including a variety of enticing salads such as watercress-pear-gorgonzola, organic beets-apple-goat cheese, and the house’s unusual take on the Mediterranean nicoise, using tuna tataki and seaweed. Indeed, it’s the mix of French and Asian influences in many of the dishes that make the fare stand out. Is there anywhere else in the city where you can find a delicious grilled boneless chicken, marinated in a soy-based sauce and paired with a “Japanese” potato salad? Or find excellent venison napped in addictive raspberry-and-huckleberry sauce sharing a plate with a light-as-can-be sweet potato gratin and superb bok choy?? I think not. The only Asian influence in the house’s desserts are the little umbrellas (which you used to find in the cocktails at Chinese restaurant) that grace them. Chocolate mousse at another table looked creamy and dreamy, but I was drawn to the house’s specialty, the linzer torte. What arrived was a warm crumbly cake filled with raspberry jam and topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream – and it didn’t last long on the plate. Such a delicious finale was definitely a benefit of having membership – even for one night – in the Kitchen Club.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton