Lunch. The creamy dreamy illicit escape. Finding the perfect spot is invigorating. Somewhere to eat a light meal but not a dull one, somewhere to be pampered just a little bit in the middle of a busy work day, to reconnect with an old friend and indulge. Somewhere to turn ho hum on its ear.
It’s been a few years now since JGV brought his own perspective on the market table concept to ABC Home Furnishing’s restaurant space and it’s still going strong. It’s bright and elegantly farm-y, accessorized by all things charming from the mother ship. (I do mean to go buy those coffee cups.) It’s the store/farm to table tandem concept.
Dinner has often seemed a bit uneven and overpriced to me. Partly because of the slim portion size. And the luxury competition in this category is epic. Lunch on the other hand, though higher end than most, somehow falls into the freewheeling afternoon delight arena.
At a time when defining words like local and organic have almost become white noise and farmhouse chic is as ubiquitous as art deco became in the eighties, ABC Kitchen delivers on the authenticity portion of the genre. It’s simple but lovely, designed to soothe. The food tastes of care and thought and even as you take your seat at the modern rustic table, you start to feel refreshed.
Lunching with my fabulous niece, we decided to share a few dishes and ABC does something that I am deeply restaurant grateful for – they split the plates for you before serving. No family squabbles, no feeling cheated. Consideration at its best.
First off they offer Sullivan Street Bakery sourdough bread. On mismatched vintage china. Perfect.
The pea soup with “melter skelter” cheese puff and herbs was up first. So inviting with vivid and bright flavors as well as that deep color. Loved the puff, swirling its bits into the green made it all sing on your tongue. Though I will say, both of us expected the soup to be served cold given the temperature of the day and the cool color. Shock and duh! A few taste buds met an untimely death that afternoon.
In any case, several glasses of the house rose that accompanied the meal took the sting out.
We were rewarded with cool on the palate by our longtime favorite – peekytoe crab toast with lemon aioli. A plate of sea brine, southern italy and a breeze.
And the very refreshing sugar snap pea salad with parmesan dressing and herbs…some snaps were whole and some shredded, an idea I’ve implemented at home several times since.
Man, do they have great fries here, so as long as we’re eating light and sharing…why not?
The taste level was upped an ante with a divine wood fired pizza. We had the mushroom, parmesan, oregano and farm egg version. How can you not love the oozy creamy yolk just wrapping itself around several varietals of mushrooms, all loamy and earthy with yolk bits teasing chewy bites of charred crust? If you don’t love yours, send it along to me.
So, in for a penny in for a pound. Go big or go home. A stitch in time…okay, too far but we went there. Fries and pizza didn’t stop us. The sundae arrived! Salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts & popcorn, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Snap, crackle, heavenly, pop. No need to say more.
All and all, delightful way to leave the heat and the vagaries of daily life. The ABC escape. An afternoon staycation.
35 East 18th Street
* Header photo by Angela Carbonnetti / http://www.angelacarbonetti.com