There was a time when very little legal recreation existed west of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. With the clean-up of the Times Square area Off-Broadway venues were popping up along with restaurants and apartment buildings. Hell’s Kitchen aka Midtown West became trendy. Add The Out Hotel, an “Urban Resort” and you’re now between 10th and 11th Avenue, just a block away from the Hudson River.
I entered the lobby of the hotel at 510 W. 42nd to view a most artistic lobby.
I am told that the exhibit, which extends down a long hall, changes every three weeks. It was as if I were at an art gallery. Ktchn is the name of the restaurant located in the hotel. That was my destination.
Kitcn has two restaurant areas. One is the more low light “romantic dining” room toward the back. The other is a totally relaxed modern white furniture-glass tabletop atmosphere whose huge windows look upon the street. You get to view not only the foot traffic but the police cars of the abutting precinct. Located here is the bar as well where you can see two huge glass containers. One is filled with a red sangria, the other with a white or rose one; fruit depending upon the wine.
Arriving early I meet Chiara Quinones at the host stand, not knowing that she is the Catering and Events Planner. She seats me as I wait for a friend to join in the evening’s plans. It wasn’t until the end of the meal when I got who she was wondering why she was taking my orders but never serving them as well as discovering that the restaurant has “food runners”.
Tap water is filtered. I chose that while checking out the drink menu. I’m not much of a drinker. It’s the concoctions that sound tasty. This particular one had lychee and pineapple…and vodka.
Once my friend popped in, we ordered some “beginnings” of Crostini and Bruschetta. Pick three for $8. We selected: avocado with shrimp salad; duck confit with blueberry chutney; and olive tapenade with goat cheese. Each delighted by taste buds.
Appetizers were next. Crispy Calamari Salad came with warm roasted potatoes, arugula-frisee salad, and piquillo peppers. Although the calamari was crispy, the texture was a bit rubbery. Lobster Risotto Cubes. What a nice idea. Served with a lobster aioli. I love raw oysters and asked where they came from. “Cape Cod” I am told. Hmmm…Wellfleet? Dennis Oyster Farm? Large and meaty. For my taste, I even preferred them to Blue Point.
Sweet Pea Risotto with Diver Sea Scallops. Risotto cooked properly (Gordon Ramsey would approve) and savory. A bit pricey though for having only 3 scallops.
Herb and Pretzel Crusted Pork Loin was served with a parsnip puree, kale and hazelnut foam. Problem was that perhaps the pork was cooked too long. I had trouble cutting it with a steak knife. Otherwise the rest was fine. Wanted to get a taste of their cheddar mac and cheese. Good choice of cheese and a gruyere cheese crust atop.
I couldn’t skip dessert when I viewed a warm chocolate cake served with gelato. Dark chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center. Gelato tasted as if it were made on the premises, which is good. Oh, yeah...that's Chiara.
In the meantime, there were two guys sitting behind me singing as if no one was around. Although not “loud”, I thought it odd to be doing this at a restaurant. Were they rehearsing, trying out a new song? I alerted them to the volume as I was not sure they realized. As it turned out it was Lance Horne.
42West is a nightclub that abuts the hotel, although I am told is not part of the hotel itself and having the address of 514 W. 42nd. I had received an email about an event here. It said, “July 28-Broadway the Hardway. This concert has EVERYTHING. Tony Winner Lean Hall’s The Deafening, Courtney Act, Lance Horne, Aerialists, Tony Vincent, Constantine Maroulis, Andrew Andrew, Billy Magnussen’s Reserved for Rondee, and Rock N Roll Debauchery featuring Cast Members from Rock of Ages, Kinky Boots and a Night With Janis.
Scheduled for 8 p.m. First half hour was rehearsing of a piano player and drummer along with a half hour of ear-splitting dj music. I mean, this is a ROOM! Piano was in the middle of the floor and there was a stage. Also, material hanging down in a few places. Reserved for the aerialists. The show started at 9. Entertainment was great! Excellent talent! Didn’t realize that it would be all rock-n-roll sounding and at least loud enough to have been held at an outdoor concert! I wasn’t even sitting in the front and my hearing was being abused. I had to leave when one of the vocalists sang with volume so high that the bones in my head were hurting. I hope to return for a different experience. Drinks and a small menu coming from KTCHN.