Ken & Cook is located on the border of Nolita and the Lower East Side just steps away from Bowery. It has a gorgeous facade that makes the restaurant very attractive and ideal for patio dining or outdoor brunch. With the lounge downstairs Lil’ Charlies, it has that trendy, European feeling but is still small enough not to feel clubby or too sceney like DL down the street. Dining outside makes it an incredibly intimate and peaceful experience and the inside has white tiles and liquor bottles lining the back bar which is why it’s been called to resemble Schiller’s Liquor Bar.
The menu is full of raw bar appetizers, seafood plateau’s, charcuterie and cheeses. Whatever you do, start with the Tuna Tartar. You may not be one of those tuna tartar obsessor who has to order it at every Japanese or Asian inspired restaurant or really any restaurant for that matter, but the tuna tartar at Ken & Cook stands out more to me than any other one I’ve had recently. The layer of wasabi gives it a spicy, flavorful yet sweet taste. The portion is actually huge compared to most and the circular shape is extremely unique. It was a perfect size appetizer and could even be your meal if you are that into it. It was a very refreshing approach to this dish that is so common and I highly recommend it.Photo Credit: Anna Malskaya
The Kale Salad is made with thick cut leaves and has a rough texture. I really liked the pomegranate sweetness and added crunch. We got the mini meatball special prepared with feta cheese, tomatoes and a fried egg in honor of the San Gennaro festival. I loved these little guys and they should definitely think about making them a permanent offering. Sadly, the Red Snapper with Lobster Consomme was not a hit. It was very thin, not flaky and too fishy – which is never really an issue for me. However, the fried chicken, surprisingly was out of this world. I usually only order fried chicken at places that are known for this dish like in Harlem or at Bob White, Blue Ribbon, etc. but thank goodness we stumbled upon this baby. The white meat was extremely tender, flaky, crispy and everything you could ask for and more. The crunch and carefully cut pieces made it perfect for dunking in their honey mustard and ketchup. My head almost exploded at the first bite of the biscuit which is drizzled in honey and butter, and yes, we ordered a second round of this damn biscuit because it straight up dominates. No need to save room for dessert, save room for an extra biscuit.
Overall, I loved my American/Southern/Italian mish-mosh of a meal at Ken & Cook. The setting is lovely and the staff is happy to be there and you can tell they really love the food as well. It’s an easy downtown spot to drink, hang and eat at and shouldn’t be too much trouble to get a reservation at for dinner and has a popular boozy brunch.