There’s a war raging in the New York City restaurant scene. In one corner is the steakhouse, led these day by Angie Mar’s meat-centric Beatrice Inn, and in the other is the vegetable-forward crop. And the vegetable side seems to be winning.
This week The New York Times’ Pete Wells visits Loring Place, from Dan Kluger. Kluger is an alumnus of Jean-George Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, the decade-old vegetable pioneer, and the next door ABC Cocina, which follows a similar formula. It follows, then, that his first independent restaurant would follow in the footsteps of his alma maters.
As much as I want to take Loring Place on its own terms, the menu makes comparisons with ABC Kitchen inevitable, and Loring Place comes off as slightly less interesting. It’s not just that a lot of it feels familiar now; some of it is also unfocused and busy. The plates have more going on, but there’s not as much happening.
Wells finds a few standout dishes like the homemade whole-wheat spaghetti and the doughy grandma square pizzas.
The Loring Place grandma crust is thicker than in the archetypal versions, but flavorful, light and nongreasy. I hope Mr. Kluger has stocked up on pizza pans because he runs a serious risk of selling a grandma pie to every table in the restaurant.
Don’t let the salad-heavy menu lead you to think this is a health restaurant. The cheeseburger (because every restaurant these days is practically required to have one) refutes that soundly.
Perhaps Loring Place will help lead to a truce between vegetarians and carnivores — or at least give them something delicious to argue over.