New York restaurateur Charlie Palmer, best known for his upscale Aureole restaurants in New York and Las Vegas, has opened the second in a line of causal restaurants where the focus is on simplified dining choices, with wine pricing that's hard to beat.
At Kitchen 82, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the menu is based on a three-course prix fixe format for $25, and a selection of wines priced at either $25 or $35 a bottle. Kitchen 82 follows the successful opening of Kitchen 22 in New York's Flatiron area last fall.
"[It's] the kind of place you can go with friends, family or even impress a date without spending a lot of money," Palmer said in explaining his goal in creating Kitchens 22 and 82.
At Kitchen 82, diners choose between five appetizers, five entrées and five desserts, and while the approach may be formulaic, the menu itself is imaginative. Chef de Cuisine Scott Romano's kitchen turns out dishes that smack of Palmer's signature New American style. Appetizers include black pepper crusted tuna with wasabi cream, as well as beef carpaccio with eggplant caviar. Entrées include seared salmon, roasted chicken and hanger steak.
Kitchen 82's dining room shares Kitchen 22's high-design ski lodge aesthetic (the numerals refer to their cross streets). And like its downtown cousin, Kitchen 82 doesn't accept reservations, but the straightforward nature of the menu means quick turnover, and the attractive bar is a fine place to wait for a table.
Four reds and four whites are offered by the glass, but it makes sense to order from the small but well-chosen by-the-bottle list. Wine Director Scott Brenner maintains that "it's all about fun. There are plenty of good, interesting wines at the value end of the price scale." The $25 group includes the Tahbilk Marsanne Victioria 1999 (85 points) and Raffault Chinon Les Picasses 1998, while $10 more can net you the Domaine Ferrier Ribienne White Grenache 2000 or Pellegrini Vineyards North Fork of Long Island Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (82 points). These accessible wines match well with Kitchen 82's raison d'être -- straightforward pleasure without the fuss.
461 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY 10024
Telephone: (212) 875-1619
Open: Dinner, Monday to Saturday; bar opens at 4:30 p.m.