This summer’s opening of Ken and Cook, a project from Jean Georges alumnus Artan Gjoni and Chef Richard Diamonte, brought Nolita its newest neighborhood destination for the perfect date night.
Ken and Cook features an exposed brick and white tiled dining room, dimly lit with leather banquettes for a sexy ambiance without trying too hard. Count on a high-energy vibe of well-dressed chatty diners and an all-around great music mix to eliminate any chance of an awkward silence with Mr. Right Now. Grab a table near the street-facing French doors during the warmer months for al fresco dining, Nolita-style.
The hospitable and friendly staff is knowledgeable, veering away from what you might expect at the newest trendier-than-thou downtown hot spot. Chef Diamonte has created a Contemporary American menu, along with raw bar offerings, with seasonal clams, oysters, shrimp and lobster.
If tequila only reminds you of Spring Break in Acapulco, get educated with their featured Margarita on the rocks. This strong cocktail isn’t overly sweet and has a nice bite to its finish with each sip.
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To welcome in the fall, the Heirloom Tomato Salad sings with an end-of-summer sweetness. Ripe red, green and yellow tomatoes are lightly dressed with mini croutons, flecks of goat cheese, red onions and fresh basil.
A standout for this cooler season is a chopped Butternut Squash and Fig salad, with a pungent soft cheese and glazed figs in balsamic. This dish is full of creamy, sweet flavors, making it more than your typical light or boring salad plate.
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Seafood lovers who always opt for the octopus salad, shouldn’t miss the Squid Salad with yogurt, mint and chili. The meat is cooked until tender - just right to avoid any rubbery or tough bites.
The launch menu's seafood courses have been creatively twisted for autumn, such as their Monkfish plate, now offered with a spiced carrot puree, making this light summer-friendly fare a cozy fall dish.
Don’t pass up on dessert, as the Beignets, fried crispy with a soft core and sprinkled with sugar, are a go-to for a shareable dish with your date or best girlfriends. Served with a raspberry glaze, enjoy these hot, fluffy donuts with or without the sweet jam for a surprisingly light end to the meal.
Ken and Cook has also launched a boozy brunch for $30, including unlimited cocktails with your entree of choice. Make a reservation in advance to get tipsy with your crew all weekend long at Ken and Cook for girls' night out, to impress your date or to enjoy a leisurely, intoxicating brunch.
Ken and Cook. 9 Kenmare St.