When a culinary icon (Jean-Georges Vongerichten) teams up with a design star (Paulette Cole of ABC Carpet & Home), fireworks are expected. But what's most delightful about the duo's new Manhattan farm-to-table restaurant, ABC Kitchen, is how low-key and charming it is. The setting both recycled and contemporary elements, the tableware mixes antiques with ceramics by local artisans, and even the outfits on the engaging young staff incorporate vintage pieces. Best of all, the seasonal menu provides fresh takes on old favorites and surprising new flavor combinations. Standouts include peekytoe-crab toast; a roast carrot and avocado salad; fresh ricotta ravioli; and a pizza with morels, Parmesan, and egg. Even the desserts—salted caramel ice cream sundae, chocolate layer cake with toasted-marshmallow icing—elevate beloved classics to inventive new heights. Farm-to-table cuisine only works if what ends up on the table is worth celebrating, and here that is eminently the case.
35 E. 18th St., near Broadway, New York City, 212-475-5829; .
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