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CLOSED: Dinner at Kenmare

  • Cuisine: New American 
  • Atmosphere: modern art-deco, sophisticated elegance 
  • Attire: business casual, dress-to-impress
  • Ideal for: see and be seen, trendsters, eye-candy observationists 
  • Price: moderate/all menu items under $30
  • Phone: 212-274-9898
  • Reservations: via phone or www.opentable.com
  • Location: 98 Kenmare St. (btwn Mulberry & Centre Streets)
  • Directionswww.hopstop.com/?city=newyork

Kenmare*All photos from my meal can be found on Flickr

Anjie and I arrived at the restaurant within minutes of one another.  As we approached the hostess stand to announce ourselves, I couldn't help but gawk at the perfectly-coiffed crowd and the model-esque staff who was serving them.  *Tip: don't go to Kenmare if you're having a "fat day."  Trust me, it will just make you feel worse!*  Anjie and I were escorted to our cozy two-top by a breathtaking blonde hostess. 

Having studied Kenmare's menu prior to my arrival, I took those brief moments of silence (while Anjie was perusing the menu) to observe the restaurant's space, which felt like a cross between an old-fashioned Parisian bistro and a modern-day American brasserie: including the bar, all of the tabletops were made flaunted a thick slab of polished marble; chairs, and other wooden accents, displayed warm chocolate tones; although the interior lighting was dimmed, plenty of natural light made its way inside through the large front windows; the acoustics, while not perfect, were worthy of conducting conversations without having to shout.

Before we even had a chance to debrief each other on the latest and greatest, I caught Anjie off-guard when I blurted, "Girl, please tell me you eat beef, pork and veal!"  At a whopping $5 a pop, we each ordered one slider, which would serve as our appetizer.  After we placed our entree orders, Anjie and I sat impatiently as we awaited the arrival of our highly-anticipated starter.

Just when I thought I could not take the suspense for a minute longer, Anjie and I were each presented with a small plate crowned by a single slider.  Sandwiched between a moist, freshly-baked cheese bun (not sure what kind of cheese - assagio, perhaps?) was a perfectly round, golf ball-sized meatball encased with melted mozzarella and a light sprinkle of minced basil leaves.  I think the reason that this particular slider is so popular is, unlike a traditional burger, meatballs are typically prepared with a higher abundance of seasonings and composed with meats from at least two different animal sources (beef, pork).  This, in turn, creates more flavor and moisture.  Plus, bathing in marinara sauce prior to "slider construction" also works in its overall favor.

Kenmare's infamous meatball-sliderWe didn't have to wait much longer for our entrees to arrive post slider-wolf-down.  For my main, I chose the Sea Scallops, which were accompanied by a spinach-strawberry salad with a sweet balsamic bernoisette, and a patato rosti (a thin and crunchy potato pancake, of sorts).  With the impending spring weather, I found the greens to be quite delightful and refreshing.  Texturally, the firm strawberry slices magically offset the dense spinach leaves beautifully, while the balsamic dressing accentuated the sweetness of the fruit.  The scallops, while plump and sizeable, were grilled as opposed to seared/sauteed, which I would have preferred.  Aside from their lack of moisture, I found their preparation void of the buttery exterior crust that I was craving (courtesy of searing/sauteeing in butter).  While I did not take a photo of the French fries that we ordered as a side, I will say that they were frighteningly addictive.  A shallow bowl was piled high with homemade frites which were topped with minced green onions and un-melted curds of sharp white cheddar cheese.  Rich and flavorful giblet gravy served as an accompaniment.  

Kenmare: sea scallops, spinach-strawberry salad, patato rosti and balsamic bernoisetteIn conclusion, I enjoyed both my overall experience and meal at Kenmare.  While I wouldn't run back to the restaurant for the Sea Scallop entree, I can hardly wait to get my hands on another meatball-slider. 

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