The foodie circuit grapevine has been touting the new Italian restaurant called MC Kitchen, located in the Design District. The entrance, snuggled in between ‘hip’ furniture galleries of the District, has just a small yellow sign and a big glass door. Chic! Enter into the industrial hallway with a well-stocked long wooden bar part of MC Kitchen opening to a vast space housing only the best home accessories, a Missoni design store and other drool worthy boutiques. The décor of the restaurant is gorgeous, with rich wooden floors, pops of a perfect color yellow, a large open kitchen, white table linens and two long couches in a soft grey hue and a deep blue. (Authors note: I prefer the deep blue couch, it is much more comfortable than the grey one).
Adjacent to the dining room is a glassed in wine cellar, a private dining area and Mercato; Chef Dena Marino’s modern Italian quick mart and take out area displaying bowls of delicious Italian cold salads, desserts and a small menu with panino, pressatas and salads. This is a perfect addition created about 8 months ago for anyone wanting a quick pick-up lunch, although parking may be a problem.
The service is impeccable, our waiter Igor was a consistent presence throughout our entire meal. The homemade bread with hints of rosemary was perfectly cooked and the Tuscan olive oil was what all olive oils should smell and taste like. On different visits to MC Kitchen there had been a bit of inconsistent service but that seems to have worked itself out. The ‘Modern’ Italian Wedding soup was so delicate and utterly delicious with celery, carrots, onion, kale and the perfect blend of chicken and herbed meatballs. The quail with frisee, goat cheese, currants and bacon was also a nice light and easy dish. The grilled skirt steak piadena was heaven on the palate with caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms and perfectly cooked steak (it also came with a little instructional note attached to the knife on how to eat it). Very clever and different. The Ceasar Cardini with anchovies is a solid dish. However, the Lobster Cobb salad with bacon, blue cheese had a dressing that slightly overwhelmed the Lobster. The Cavatelli pasta was cooked perfectly with a sweet vine ripened basil sauce. Our server mentioned that we must try the Garganelli Bolognese at our next visit as it was his favorite.
The wine list is one of the most unique in the Design District, sectioned by colors and providing a wide variety of boutique and classic choices such as; Gaja (one of the author’s favorites), The Red Hook Winery by Robert Foley from Brooklyn and a wonderful Pinot Noir from Dr. Loosen & J. Christopher. The expansive craft beer menu is nirvana for those so inclined showcasing a strong presence of the Delaware based Dogfish Head Brewing Company.
Executive chef, Dena Marino, is there 6 days a week and is excited about the addition of the Mercato takeout. With strong ties to Aspen and Napa, this chefs little gem of an eatery is a welcome addition to the design district.