NYCReview

How much you like a restaurant obviously depends heavily on the food. Atmosphere is important as well—but sometimes what matters most is who you’re eating with. And at King, that’s especially the case.

On one visit to King, we came with someone we’re going to call a Kind-of-Fancy friend. This friend knows a lot about lighting fixtures, she can parse a wine list and pronounce Aglianico, and she doesn’t mind dropping $90 on a Tuesday night.

Then we came back with another friend. He also knows how to order wine without word vomiting on himself—but to happily drop $90 at a restaurant, he needs an obvious F*ck Yes Factor. This friend walked out of our dinner at King saying he probably didn’t need to come back.

We get it. King is across the street from Charlie Bird, and with its location and daily-changing, hyper-seasonal menu, you expect it to feel just as cool as its neighbor. It doesn’t. King is much more formal: There are white tablecloths, the playlist is barely audible, the menu is short, the crowd swings mature, and the steak is called “onglet.” None of these things are bad, but they do get in the way of the F*ck Yes Factor.

It is, however, definitely there—you just have to look a little closer. Once you accept that King isn’t quite what you expected, you settle in. You get ordering help from a highly charming, not-at-all pretentious server and drink a cocktail that tastes like a gummy bear but somehow isn’t too sweet. You order the onglet, and it turns out to be one of the best steaks you’ve had in a while. And everything else you eat (like Malfatti pasta stuffed with butter and sage) is delicious too.

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So will you like King? If you’re with a Kind-of-Fancy friend or some Kind-of-Fancy parents, we’re pretty sure you will. Alternatively, take a page from the guy who sat next to us at a two-top solo. Sometimes you just need to experience a place by yourself.

The menu at King changes daily, but here are some dishes we’ve enjoyed this restaurant.

Food Rundown

Cracker Crisps

Every meal at King begins with a fancy, complimentary bread basket. The bread is thin and crispy, so we refer to it as “cracker crisps.” (The restaurant does not.)

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Malfatti

Big dough pillows stuffed with cheese and sage. Our only complaint is that you only get four with each order.

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Chargrilled Onglet

As far as we’ve seen, this is one item that stays on the menu, and there’s a reason why: it’s excellent. Several large pieces of steak arrive on top of some sort of vegetable bed (we’ve had this with chickpeas, as well as spinach and speck). There’s enough here that you could share it—but you probably won’t want to.

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Roasted Halibut

If you’re the kind of person who gets excited about a “nice piece of fish,” you’ll be happy at King. The halibut we tried came with beans and greens, and it was about as exceptional as simply-executed fish can be.

Rosemary Potatoes

You can always split an entree and get a couple sides. (We haven’t met a vegetable we didn’t love here.) These potatoes came swimming in oil and rosemary, which is our preferred way of eating pretty much anything.

Chocolate & Walnut Tart

Nuts + chocolate = good times. But we didn't need to tell you that. This is a solid and not-too-sweet way to end your meal here.

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