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“ABC Kitchen”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Flatiron Moderate Great

Fried calamari? I love it. There, I’ve said it. Look, it’s not something I am proud of, but I’m being honest. It’s one of my guilty pleasure foods—one you know you shouldn’t really eat, for health reasons first, but also because, well, it’s not exactly the most hip culinary choice. Perhaps a plate of delicately fried heirloom zucchini blossoms stuffed with homemade local ricotta from Salvatore’s, but fried calamari? Not so much. It’s one of those foods I used to eat at TGI Friday’s, along with potato skins and nachos. These are among the foods I loved as a teenager, a time where I wore Capezios, Guess jeans that zipped at the ankle, and legwarmers, and watched The Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights. But I love my fried calamari. I remember Jamie and I having dinner one night at a no-name neighborhood restaurant in the Village many years ago, and while perusing the menu, I said, “Well, the fried calamari sounds interesting,” hoping she’d humor me and agree to get some for us to share.  She smiled, “Oh, yes, that sounds very interesting, indeed.” We cleared our plate.

Now, I know I am in the minority. Who’s gonna order fried calamari at a fancy NYC restaurant? Moreover, what self-respecting chef is gonna serve it? Well, let me break it to you gently: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, that’s who (along with his immensely talented chef de cuisine, Dan Kluger). They’re serving their fried calamari at ABC Kitchen where it’s fantastic, dusted in a remarkably crunchy batter made from Greenmarket’s Martin’s homemade pretzels and served with a pulpy marinara sauce and a bold mustard aioli for aggressive dipping and finger licking. You will not be able to leave one last tentacle on your plate.

I’d go back for that dish alone, and brave the nightly ridicule, except that I’d probably have add the scallops to the order too—another miraculous dish, though quite a bit more elegant; an ascot as opposed to a red bandana. Plump fat scallops are shaved into gossamer petals and dressed with freshly grated horseradish and lemon, sparkling flavors that balance the scallops’ buttery mouth feel with just the right jolt of acidity and heat.

Indeed, the Appetizer and Market Table sections of the menu at ABC Kitchen, the newish restaurant in ABC Carpet & Home, offer a wealth of wo ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Flatiron :
+ Suenos   + Amuse-- Closed   + Dos Caminos   + Lucy-- Closed   + Gramercy Taver   + Veritas   + Fleur De Sel   + Bolo -- CLosed   + City Bakery   + Shake Shack   + Kalustyan's Cafe   + Devi   + BLT Fish   + Sugarcane   + BLT Prime   + Barca 18-- CLOSED   + Beppe   + Barbounia   + Boqueria   + Eleven Madison   + Lonesome Dove-- CLOSED   + Hill Country   + Olana   + Wildwood   + Primehouse   + Allegretti   + Bar Breton   + Aldea   + SD26 by Bao Ong   + ABC Kitchen   + Ciano   + The NoMad   

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