And it’s pretty awesome.
Yesterday, YS associate editor Brandy Simmons and I checked out the newest addition to The Kitchen’s fast-growing family of chic, farm-to-table eateries. The Kitchen [Next Door] is just that: a casual, teeming, less expensive neighbor to the Pearl Street mainstay. It has the same fresh, lively vibe; owners Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk—as well as Musk’s wife, Jen, who designed the space—set out to create a style that blends industrial with modern Parisian cafe. That means resourced lights and doors, dark beetle-kill wood floors and pretty bistro tables. Both wine and beer are on tap (the only bottles you see here are for decoration), and a long, inviting bar made of reclaimed Douglas fir calls to you for pre-dinner drinks or a late-night snack.
The menu has a nice simplicity: sides and starters, soups, sandwiches and salads. Everything on it is around or under $9.
The food here has a certain freshness and honesty to it. Nothing overdone, nothing hiding, nothing flamboyant. We started with the kale chips, which were light and fun, nicely seasoned and full of crunch. I then preceded to gorge myself on a hearty pulled pork sandwich with a bright salsa verde of basil and mint. It was accompanied by cumin carrots, which were cooked well, served cold and totally earthy. Brandy, a vegetarian, opted for the garlic smashers and a simple arugula salad, lightly bathed in olive oil and lemon juice.
They also serve a roast lamb sandwich and a beet burger as well as a variety of salads.
As any good meal does, this one ended with dessert. The chocolate mousse was well balanced and airy with just a touch of sweetness. And one of my favorite things: a pair of homemade cookies sandwiching a scoop of vanila ice cream, served in a little paper package.
They are calling The Kitchen [Next Door] a pub, which doesn’t initially translate (How many pubs serve kale chips and beet burgers and decorate with resourced industrial lighting?). But the longer you hang out, the cozier you get with nearby tables, and the longer you nibble, the more you realize that this is a gathering place for the public, for families, for co-workers and for friends.