Kitchen in the South End
Cozy. Cushioned leather chairs fill the small dining space, pushed under rustic wooden tables. Booths similar to those at Marliave also line the space. Wine bottles adorn the walls while the large front window allows natural light to pour into the subterranean space.
A small bar with big names houses the likes of Julia Child and a dated version of the Savoy cocktail book. One shelf is dedicated to records, which are actually played during dinner service, with the cover on display in front of the open kitchen.
“Garden”seating is available in a back room, which also functions as a private dining room for larger parties.
A patio sits outside for al fresco dining in front of the restaurant.
Classic cocktails dominate the menu, each listed with their year of origin. I started with a Martinez, appropriately stirred, and a drink which some debatable history states is the original martini. Jon started with the Abbey; although refreshing, the orange juice didn’t quite carry enough flavor to balance the drink. The oversized coupe glasses, with a thin, delicate rim, were a fun and welcome variation on the smaller, classic stemware.
Martinez; (left) Ransom’s Old Tom Gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, angostura bitter, lemon and Abbey; (right) Greylock gin, Lillet Blanc, orange juice, orange bitters ($12 each)
Jon decided to order a second cocktail to pair with his entree. The cinnamon bitters hint at fall spices, complimenting the herbs and vegetables in his chicken entree.
Scofflaw; Rittenhouse rye, dry vermouth, lemon, cinnamon bitters, angostura bitters, grenadine, orange ($12)
Appetizers range from $10-15, including a playful Frog Leg dish and more serious Steak Tartare. We settled first on the scallops. Served with two large sea scallops atop a bed of pork belly and creamy corn sauce, the scallops were perfectly cooked just translucent in the middle with crispy bacon.
Scallops; bacon wrapped, apple wood, pork belly, corn ($14)
We also went with the classic Billi Bi serving of mussels. Served with melt-in-your-mouth garlic and herbed bread, tender mussels were marred with a few granules of sand, while the rich, creamy sauce needed just one extra flavor to really complete the dish.
Billi Bi; mussels, saffron, cream, garlic bread ($14)
Jon is always quick to order a roast chicken dish, and I can’t say I blame him. It’s so easy to under-season and/or overcook chicken breast that it ends up being a pretty good “barometer” for a restaurant. Seasoned with herbs, the chicken breast was tender, juicy and nicely-cooked, served atop a light gravy filled with fall vegetables that still managed to work as a late summer dish.
Half Roasted Chicken; alfalfa & clover hay, potatoes, carrots, squash ($22)
I already had my eye on the Sole, and when I read it was inspired by Julia Child (and it happens to be her birthday month), I knew it was meant to be. Two thin pieces of sole were very lightly floured and delicately sauteed, leaving each flaky bite to slowly dissolve in your mouth. Small creamer potatoes were surprisingly hard, but their simple flavor and natural creaminess really grew on me; before I knew it, I had eaten almost every one! Simple summer squash rounded out this dish.
Sole; pan roasted, parsley, lemon, buttery potatoes, summer squash ($24)
Kitchen is a welcome addition amongst the already-successful South End dining scene. Yet it brings an air of downtown freshness that is simple and unassuming, classic in menu and style. Following in the footsteps of Marliave and Grotto, food here is very rich and not to be taken lightly. Despite a few minor bumps, I’d say our first trip to Kitchen was a success and I’m eager to try more menu items.
Kitchen is located at 560 Tremont St in the South End, a short walk from both Back Bay station (orange line) and Copley station (green line).
Check out our other posts for Scott Herrick’s restaurants:
- Three Things to Order at Marliave
- Three More Things to Order at Marliave
- Dinner at Grotto
- Weekend Eats in Beantown
Have you been to Kitchen? What were your thoughts?