For well-heeled New Yorkers who want their food to be as beautiful as their surroundings, ABC Kitchen is the perfect place to convene for a stylish brunch. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant is furnished with elegant fixtures reminiscent of ABC Carpet & Home, the home furnishings retail store in which it shares its space, allowing you to enjoy dainty, delicious bites while seated on chic white seats and rustic oak tables. Not only will you eat in style, but you can eat without a conscience, as the restaurant is committed to “offering the freshest organic & local ingredients possible.”
Helping fund local farmers and artisans doesn’t come cheap, and a brunch with appetizers and an entree can reach $40 a person (not including alcohol), but think about the investment you’re making as a cutting edge purveyor of eco-chic!
Jean-Georges has always excelled at vegetable dishes, and this is no different at ABC Kitchen, where produce is king. On multiple trips, I’ve always looked forward to the roasted kabocha squash toast, my favorite dish on the menu. The squash is seasoned with sweetened onions and rests on top of a layer of light ricotta cheese spread on toast. Something about eating sweetened squash on crunchy toast is extremely satisfying and comforting, and these perfect bites set a pleasant tone for the rest of the meal.
You can also order crab toast with lemon aioli, which is refreshing but less memorable than its vegetable counterpart. The roasted beets with housemade yogurt is also a lovely option, as the earthiness of the beets is well complemented by the cool, whipped texture and taste of the yogurt. Another vegetable standout is the mushroom, parmesan, oregano and farm egg pizza. I suppose with the egg the pizza doesn’t totally qualify as a completely vegetable dish, but the rich, savory flavors of the mushroom, which are drawn out further with the parmesan, are what make the pizza memorable. It’s a little on the heavy side, so limit yourself to just a piece so that you can have room to enjoy the rest of the meal. The pretzel dusted calamari is a good option if meat is more of your thing. The cornmeal like texture of the ground pretzel lightly coating the calamari is a nice take on a typical crowd favorite.
A wide variety of main course options are available for brunch. You can have more traditional brunch fare such as eggs benedict and an omelette, or you can opt for something along the lines of burgers and fries if you’re in more of a lunch mood. The chicken salad is surprisingly substantial and solid, although the sum of the whole doesn’t quite exceed its parts. The same can be said for the cheeseburger–you know that only the highest quality ingredients have been included in preparation, but the taste stops short of excellent. The tuna burger, on the other hand, is something I would order again. Tuna meat tends to be seared and gamey in nature, but at ABC Kitchen the meat is ground, giving the patty a fattier and satisfying taste, and the thousand-island like dressing is the perfect accompaniment.
You’ll be pretty full when it comes time for dessert, but the salted caramel ice cream and a charmingly tiny cup of espresso is a great way to cap an experience that stuns both the gustatory and visual senses.