Friday, June 10, 2011

Let's Go Back to The Kitchen

I love The Kitchen restaurant in Englewood, New Jersey. Probably because it combines so many things I love: using a lot of seasonal ingredients, celebrating American cuisine, its cozy dining room with Americana images on the wall from the early 20th century.

In a nod to parties during the prohibition era, they pass five complimentary appetizers. Since I'm a vegetarian, ours were all vegetable-based: potato pancakes, mini artichokes, mushrooms on toast, and my favorite, a date in a puff pastry roll (so unexpected!) No secret drinking here: we brought along a Mumm California Brut Rose.

Sharing the spring salad: strawberries and rhubarb with arugula in a poppy seed dressing, $8.

Grilled meat? No way. Their vegetarian plate: grilled king oyster mushrooms over quinoa with peas and carrots, white asparagus and Swiss chard, $20. Mushrooms are nature's mock meat for me.

My sweetheart Steve eats meat (I'm in an inter-dietary relationship!) He had the chicken with honey waffles. Since I'm not posting photos of anything I wouldn't eat, you'll just have to project it! I did have a bite of the waffles which were delicious.

Two sides come with the entrees to share: roasted parsnip puree (REALLY good) and collard greens.

And you thought we were too full for dessert. We couldn't resist the hot fudge sundae with homemade hot fudge sauce and two fresh baked cookies. Pricey at $8, but worth it. This is no Smucker's hot fudge!


"Little is known with certainty about the sundae's birth: it originated in the late 1880s or early 1890s; one of the first published sundae recipes appeared in Modern Guide for Soda Dispensers in 1897; and sundaes were very popular by 1900. Many accounts of the sundae's invention have been published, but there is no definitive evidence about it. The best-known explanation for the sundae is that it was created to circumvent Blue Laws banning the sale of ice cream sodas on Sunday. Beginning in the colonial era, Blue Laws were promulgated to prohibit certain activities on the Sabbath." - Sundae Best: A History of Soda Fountains, Anne Cooper Funderburg

I love listening to Tuba Skinny, which plays a lot of music of the same era The Kitchen restaurant pays homage to, but it feels even more right on a hot sultry day or night. Since my heart's desire is a chef (don't be too envious, ladies. When I see him, he usually wants to order a pizza!), I'm partial to their cover of Bessie Smith's Kitchen Man, quite fitting for today's post.

Flashback to my last visit to The Kitchen.


  1. What a fun place!
    LOve the music group too...
    Portobellos are better than meat IMHO!!

  2. Hi Carol. It really is. I know a meal is really good when I still think of it long after I've had it (which I do with all my meals here). This place always inspires me to look up the origins of dishes. What a great culinary food history we have!

    Found Tuba Skinny (a New Orleans band) busking in Woodstock, NY. Love to support great art of all genres.

  3. Catherine the seasonal vegetarian dishes sound so delicious, thank you for sharing these. I also cook with mushrooms for the rich texture and flavor they give to certain meals. And rhubarb is a real favorite too. Great post!

  4. Thanks Jennifer! Food is a big passion of mine and I believe it is one of life's great pleasures. I always enjoy savoring a meal - at home or dining out.

    Mushrooms are great in all kinds of food - as a burger substitute, in Mexican fare (I still remember simple but delicious mushroom tacos in Mexico), grilled with roasted red peppers on a salad. So many possibilities. Love rhubarb too!