30 Prince Street – 274-0025 – New York City
PRESS RELEASE: A Fresh Look at The Kitchen Club
When Marja Samsom created The Kitchen Club in the early 1980s, she committed herself to a cuisine that combined elements of the cooking she learned growing up in Holland and the cooking of Japan she had learned to love as an adult. Little did she know that by the early 1990s, “fusion” cuisine, the blend of Eastern and Western kitchen techniques and philosophies, would become the latest trend. The Kitchen Club quickly became popular with the performance arts community of the East Village and Eastern SoHo, a world Samsom has been active in for many years.
In late 1990 it became clear that the space on East 11th Street was too small to support the growing clientele of the restaurant. The Kitchen Club and its staff picked up and moved to its current location on the southeast corner of Prince and Mott Streets. Large windows on two sides and a high ceiling help create an expansive, light filled space, while floor to ceiling draperies and subdued lighting lend an air of intimacy. An eclectic mix of photographs, drawings, mirrors, and knickknacks from Europe, America, and Japan are liberally scattered throughout the room, giving The Kitchen Club a look that’s been described by patrons as both cute and quirky. The service kitchen is located in the dining room, letting diners in on the preparation of their meals, and the staff in on the experience of the diners.
Joining Samsom in the kitchen is chef Dan Perlman. Perlman brings with him a strong culinary background that includes training in French cuisine at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School, Japanese cooking at the Takada school, and natural foods from the Natural Gourmet Cookery School. He as cooked at The Side Door restaurant in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and most recently at Mondrian and Can here in New York City.
Also joining the kitchen staff since the move is Victor Chabla, a native of Ecuador, as prep cook. Chabla began training under Samsom last year and is quickly becoming a competent cook in his own right.
The Kitchen Club’s menu maintains its balance of Eastern and Western cuisine, with dishes ranging from grilled seasonal fish to a vegetarian mushroom medley sauteed with white wine, soy and cream, to New York shell steak marinated in red wine and miso. Appetizers include The Kitchen Club’s ever popular mushroom dumplings with their filling of seasonal mushrooms, water-chestnuts, garlic and scallions; a selection of Japanese seafood and vegetable delicacies; and oak-smoked salmon imported from Europe. Specials are available every night and reflect the daily whims of the kitchen staff.
The international wine list covers a nice balance of red, white, and sparkling wines, ranging from lighter to more full bodied wines, and changes regularly to fit the current menu. The selection is put together by consensus of the kitchen and The Kitchen Club’s competent floor staff. Most wines are available by bottle or glass. Sake and beer are also available.
The Kitchen Club recently began opening for lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends. The lunch is beginning to draw area business people who are looking for an alternative to a slice of pizza or a hero sandwich. The festive atmosphere at brunch is quickly building a reputation and bringing in patrons from throughout SoHo and the East and West Villages.
This is definitely the place to come to for an intimate dinner with friends, or to book for a larger party (the new space can accommodate up to 35 people comfortably). The atmosphere is casual and anything from jeans and t-shirt to formal wear is appropriate. Prices are moderate with appetizers running $5 to $10, entrees $12 to $16; desserts $5 to $8; and wines $12 to $30. Lunch and brunch can be enjoyed for a typical bill of only $10 to $15 a person. Look for The Kitchen Club’s upcoming Sunday night addition of a $20 three course prix fixe dinner. No credit cards.
Since the staff shops daily for produce, fish, and meat, reservations are recommended and appreciated.
Who remembers why the owner asked me to write a press release for the place while I was working there – I think I might have been the only one with a computer….