Somewhere between the seriousness of a great steakhouse and the familiarity of the coziest diner lies the aesthetic that shines from Kingside. Even though it has only been open since October of 2013, Kingside has the comfort of a well worn leather chair. Luxurious without being stuffy.
The creation of Chef Mark Murphy and Scott Gerber, Kingside, located in the Viceroy Central Park Hotel on West 57th Street, offers new American cuisine with French and Italian inspirations as well as a varied selection of well crafted cocktails in a beautifully lit space designed by Roman Williams.
Our server, Evan, guided us through the menu with recommendations from the normal selections and the special restaurant week menu.
The handcrafted cocktails are well executed, offering barrel aged versions of a Manhattan and a Negroni, house bottled Gin and Tonic, and a Smoked Old Fashioned. The French 75 is delicate and citrusy. The Without Fear, a concoction of Jameson Black Barrel whiskey, apricot liquer, honey simple syrup, lemon and soda, was refreshing and easy on the palate. The house bottled Spicy Paloma is borderline fiery, served from the bottle with a small chile pepper inside. It was a delightful summer drink.
The special Restaurant Week menu starter Watermelon Gazpacho, came out looking like a helping finely chopped of watermelon and tomato crudo with feta, but then they poured the broth into the dish at the table, assuring that the vegetables remained crisp. It was refreshing and special, with flavors that played, childlike, in my mouth.
Usually, snails seem as though they are just a vehicle for a butter sauce, but the Roasted Snails served to us this night were much more than that. They were the perfect texture, and the garlic butter sauce highlighted the flavor of the meat, rather than hiding it. The essence of the snail remained in the sauce, which I sopped up with the toast sticks that accompanied the dish.
Other small plate offerings include a selection of East Coast Oysters, Tuna Crudo, and Hand Cut Beef Tartare. The Hay Aged Pecorino toast, topped with truffle honey and ricotta tasted sinful and sexy. Even though these dishes are labeled as small plates, they are perfect for sharing.
Sharing at Kingside is encouraged. Among their large plate offerings is a 28 Day Dry-Aged Cowboy Ribeye or a Free Range Organic Roast Chicken, both specifically designed to be split between two people.
The pastas are all fresh, made either in house or locally. The Garganelli, served in jonah crab, lemon and chili, held its sauce really well, ensuring that each bite was full of flavor and crab meat. The Shellfish Brodo, a temporary menu item we are told will hopefully become a fixture, was the highlight of this meal. It was supremely spicy and the seafood was expertly prepared. Beautifully seared scallops and tender shrimp swim in a delicious broth that will bring a sweat to your brow. Making this a permanent menu item would be a very good idea.
If you aren’t a cocktail person, a very well curated selection of over 100 wines is available, offering something for any wine lovers tastes.
Desserts and coffee are available to end your meal, including a Coconut Cake with an orange creme and Caramel Pudding. Get to Kingside soon though, as they are offering a special Peach Pie that is out of this world. Two inches deep with bright fresh peaches and a beautifully executed crust, this is not to be missed.
Want to know more about Kingside? Go to www.kingsiderestaurant.com and read up on it! Kingside is open at 124 West 57th Street for breakfast, lunch, dinner, pre-theatre, and also offers a private dining room.