Vegetable Forward’ Chef Gets His Own Patch at Loring Place

ABC Kitchen signified a small turning point in the appetites of New Yorkers when it opened seven years ago. We had snuffled through much of the previous decade in search of pork shoulders, lamb belly, rib-eyes and marrow bones, and if we didn’t exactly wake up on the first day of 2010 doubled over with regret, some of us were starting to wonder why the bed smelled like bacon.

Then that spring we got ABC Kitchen, with Dan Kluger in the kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten whispering in his ear and a new way of filling our stomachs on the menu.

Mr. Kluger wasn’t cooking health food, not with that mayo-spritzed cheeseburger. But a sizable chunk of the nearly 50 dishes were salads or saladlike constructions. Vegetables were everywhere, including on top of the whole-wheat pizzas. The plates jangled with flavor, and very little of it came from animal fat. We might have called the food “vegetable forward” if that term had been invented.

When diners stood up at the end of the night, you could almost hear them sighing with relief that they’d had an entire meal in a hot downtown restaurant without eating lard.

The two chefs teamed up again for ABC Cocina, which opened a new front on the culture wars by mashing peas into guacamole, before Mr. Kluger left Mr. Vongerichten’s synchronized-swimming team to splash around in a pool of his own. After two years of preparation, he opened Loring Place in December in an expansive space on West Eighth Street, where the shoe stores used to be.

There’s a long and busy bar to the right of the entrance where the drinks list offers you very well-made classic cocktails as well as innovations that taste like classics in the making. On the left are two dining areas: one that sits on a platform in the window, and another, bigger one off the kitchen. Designed by Cycle Projects, the rooms are full of handsome expanses of white brick and stained walnut.

ABC Kitchen signified a small turning point in the appetites of New Yorkers when it opened seven years ago. We had snuffled through much of the previous decade in search of pork shoulders, lamb belly, rib-eyes and marrow bones, and if we didn’t exactly wake up on the first day of 2010 doubled over with regret, some of us were starting to wonder why the bed smelled like bacon.

Then that spring we got ABC Kitchen, with Dan Kluger in the kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten whispering in his ear and a new way of filling our stomachs on the menu.

Mr. Kluger wasn’t cooking health food, not with that mayo-spritzed cheeseburger. But a sizable chunk of the nearly 50 dishes were salads or saladlike constructions. Vegetables were everywhere, including on top of the whole-wheat pizzas. The plates jangled with flavor, and very little of it came from animal fat. We might have called the food “vegetable forward” if that term had been invented.

When diners stood up at the end of the night, you could almost hear them sighing with relief that they’d had an entire meal in a hot downtown restaurant without eating lard.

The two chefs teamed up again for ABC Cocina, which opened a new front on the culture wars by mashing peas into guacamole, before Mr. Kluger left Mr. Vongerichten’s synchronized-swimming team to splash around in a pool of his own. After two years of preparation, he opened Loring Place in December in an expansive space on West Eighth Street, where the shoe stores used to be.

There’s a long and busy bar to the right of the entrance where the drinks list offers you very well-made classic cocktails as well as innovations that taste like classics in the making. On the left are two dining areas: one that sits on a platform in the window, and another, bigger one off the kitchen. Designed by Cycle Projects, the rooms are full of handsome expanses of white brick and stained walnut.

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