The Kitchen review : soft light and wrought iron chandeliers

Atmosphere adds spice to The Kitchen
One of the wood-grilled specials at The Kitchen includes golden tilefish from Charleston, S.C., served with local greens.

By Liz Biro

That The Kitchen feels like a lodge while billing itself “farm-raised, fire-roasted fare” doesn’t necessarily seem inapt.

Candles and wrought iron chandeliers sprinkle soft light. A smoky roast aroma perfumes the dark-wood dining room.

Heavy chairs scratch rustic tunes against wood and vintagey, black-and-white tile floors. Conversations harmonize into a low, happy hum.

On chilly nights, the scene begs turtlenecks and heavy sweaters, with cozy garb fitting abundant plates and dark stout or spicy red wine while being as suited to a lodge as they are to a farmhouse.

A full bar, furnished with hulking stools and extra padding, supplies spirits. Another granite, earth-tone bar provides the show. It overlooks a wide-open kitchen where cooks soft-shoe their stations.

The grill guy flames Flintstonian, three-bone pork ribs, tender and brushed with cumin-edged barbecue sauce. Salad bunches baby arugula, mild watercress, blue cheese and black-eyed peas under thick-cut, fried green tomatoes in underwhelming vinaigrette.

Rotisserie chicken is among house specialties, but brisket outshines the bird. A quarter-chicken’s white and dark meat are both dry chews one evening. A different night, pulled chicken is overcooked atop flatbread pizza with fresh mozzarella and tangy barbecue sauce.

Brisket, however, yields to light pressure from a fork. Sharp blue cheese slaw tames its smoky flavor and shouldn’t-eat-this-but-can’t-stop fattiness.

Just-right sharpness spices fluffy spoonfuls of root vegetable soup. Perfectly seared scallops rest in a shallow, silky, sweet corn chowder pool marred by doughy little browned dumplings.


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