Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Kitchen in Englewood: It's the Cat's Meow

If I could build a time machine (and how I wish I could), it would definitely make an extended stop in the 1920's and 1930's.

That's why I was so excited to visit The Kitchen, a new restaurant in Englewood, New Jersey, that celebrates American food and 1930s.

Why this time, and this cuisine? From their site:

"The 1930's was a special era for America in terms of entertaining and dining out. Although in the depths of the Great Depression, new restaurants opened at a rapid rate and entertaining at home increased each year. With the repeal of Prohibition, cocktail parties with passed canap├ęs grew in popularity even with the middle class. Americans had not legally been able to import alcoholic beverages for over ten years. Bourbon, an American spirit, became very popular among Americans and the Mint Julep became the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby...America was developing an identity for food and beverage."

Images from the era adorn their walls.

I would love to be in this crowd for a night.

Don't you think gloves and chic hats should come back in style? I do.

I adored the centerpieces on each table: all pots of fresh herbs. Ours was one of my favorites: aromatic and woodsy rosemary.

It's BYOB here, which translates into a big savings on the bill if you imbibe.

To give you the feeling you are at a festive party, about five complimentary passed appetizers come to your table. My sweetheart had to eat two of each for the tuna tartare, beef brisquet, and shrimp. I got to enjoy the vegetarian options.

Sweet potato pancakes, with a tropical chutney.

Mushroom tarts, with a warm sherry glaze.

I was eyeing the baby greens salad with mandarin oranges, caramelized almonds and citrus dressing, but my sweetheart had a strong craving for...

A chopped salad, $6: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and bleu cheese dressing. Simple and comforting.

A roasted vegetable napoleon, served with with an oven dried tomato sauce, $18, and vegetable assortment, including candied sweet potatoes. All entrees are served with two market sides. Not pictured, it came with roasted baby potatoes with fresh herbs, and warm beets.

The dessert list was mouth-watering. Caramelized peppered pineapple and strawberry rhubarb crisp were strongly considered, but we went with the toasted sponge cake, from a recipe created in the 1930's, with berries, raspberry sauce and whipped cream, $7.

I left wanting to dig up magazines from the past in antique and vintage shops and get in the kitchen for some soul-nourishing food like this all the time.

Take a musical journey to the 1920's and 1930's with The Big Broadcast on WFUV each Sunday night. Listen online to the past two week's shows in their archives.

Coming up: let's go back even further. How about a few hundred years.

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