It’s difficult to judge a restaurant after it’s only been open for a week, but we had the chance to dine at Kingside, chef Marc Murphy’s new restaurant located on Manhattan’s 57th Street in the brand-new luxury Viceroy Hotel, and see a lot of potential in it.
At the invitation of the restaurant, we dropped in during the first Saturday night of service and had the opportunity to sample some menu items. Before we get to the food, however, the room itself is worth noting. Designed by Roman and Williams (known for Lafayette), it seats 104, including a handful at an open kitchen counter, and looks like a sleek, sexy brasserie, with a 32-seat bar area up front, a handful of booths, and ample seating in the rear dining room, along with plenty of romantic nooks.
The pricey menu is a little tricky to navigate, as it contains both raw bar and charcuterie selections, small plates, large plates, and a "For Two" section. If you’re going all-out, I’d suggest ordering some raw bar and charcuterie before putting in your main order, which should probably include one or two small plates to share and an entrée-sized large plate. The poached wild white shrimp is a good option for those who aren’t fans of raw fish, but crudo, like Long Island fluke with lemon, aleppo pepper, and cucumber, are a light, flavorful way to start the meal. Small plates include nicely roasted broccoli rabe with fregola, shaved Gouda, chickpeas, and oregano vinaigrette, which was more of a side dish but comforting nonetheless. Toast topped with hay-aged Pecorino, ricotta, and truffle honey was elevated by thin shavings of white truffle. For more adventurous eaters, there’s also a crispy pork terrine, grilled octopus, roasted snails, and veal brain with capers, lemons, and brown butter.
Large plates include perfectly seared scallops with guanciale, heirloom beans, and herbs, and a butternut squash gnudi with hazelnuts and mascarpone that unfortunately was weighed down by the squash and lacked any trace of the lightness that we usually look for in gnudi. The burger, a thick patty topped with giardiniera relish, soppressata, and white Cheddar, appeared to be the most popular item coming out of the kitchen, and the "For Two" dishes, one of the most popular trends this year, include a 32-ounce cowboy rib-eye that looked stunning.
The high-ceilinged space, prime location, and star power of chef Murphy, who was on hand, will provide ample crowds for the foreseeable future. Like any new restaurant, there are some kinks to be ironed out, but service was quick and professional, and the food was both exciting and comforting.