Down to Earth
When trend passes into tradition
If Jean-Georges Vongerichten wanted to keep up with the sustainability trend, he should have opened ABC Kitchen years ago, when local farms and Greenmarket-gathered ingredients were just gaining traction.
But ABC opened last week, and the local farms and purveyors it touts are now recognized by any savvy diner. With Gramercy Tavern and Craft nearby, it's hard to imagine that the ABC team thinks of themselves as pioneers.
Perhaps, though, that is the point. The sustainable qualities of the restaurant seep into every aspect of its operation: the bar's coasters (squares of corrugated cardboard) that cushion cocktails like a semi-savory basil daiquiri ($11); the largely biodynamic-wine list; the eco-friendly cleaning supplies. This holistic integration eschews any notion of passing fad.
And chef Dan Kluger ensures that the food is just as enduring. The winter's menus have been filled with root vegetables and braises; his offerings, shot through with bright, clean flavors, serve as a paean to spring.
Highlights include a roasted carrot and avocado salad fragrant with cumin, turmeric and citrus ($12) and a whole-wheat pizza ($13) piled with spinach leaves, basil, dill and tart goat's-milk feta. And the perfectly flaky flesh of black sea bass ($25) is sheathed beneath a crisp, chile-rubbed skin.
Here's to a new tradition.
ABC Kitchen, 35 E. 18th St. (between Broadway and Park Ave. S.); 212-475-5829 or abckitchennyc.net
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