High expectations are a tricky thing. Finding out that Kutsher's, a place I spent childhood vacations and two summers at camp, had opened a restaurant in NYC that featured foods I crave and often critique, is a good example of this situation.
That being said, this is a love story, because I loved everything about our experience at KT.
We started the meal with a round of bug juice - how can you pass up the upscale, alcoholized version of the summer camp classic? Great drink, even greater that they mix up the fruit juice ingredients day to day, keeping with tradition.
On to the food. First, the amazing matzoh ball soup. The best I've ever had in a restaurant. The soup was flavorful, the veggies and noodles al dente (but not crunchy carrots, that's a no-no) and the matzoh balls were literally perfect in consistency and nearly perfect in flavor. If I could carry around a jug of that soup and eat it daily for lunch, life would be complete. Next we tried the pastrami and chopped liver on the 'charcuterie plate'. Both were fantastic, the pastrami felt like it was Montreal inspired, hand cut thick slabs that were accompanied by great rye bread and some very on the money sour pickles. We also tried the crispy artichokes, which were very good, and the gefilte fish with beet/horseradish tartare, which was unremarkable.
For the main event we shared (there were 4 of us, calm down) the prime skirt steak and the roast chicken for 2. Both were excellent. The rest of the crew loved the chicken above all, and that was great, because it left more steak for me. Both were tender, tasty (neither one undersalted) and complimented on the plate by a knish and a mushroom stuffing, respectively.
We finished with the unique rainbow cookie ice cream sundae and 4 spoons. A fitting end to a great meal.
Overall this is a must try - the space is cool, and roomy for NYC, the service was spot on and the food hits the mark. They took a chance trying to find the right balance between old and new, tradition and ambition, Catskills and Tribeca. For me, it paid off big time. Well done.
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY
Mitch Wexler is an advertising exec, part-time sous chef and full-time foodie based in Hoboken, NJ.