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King

PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

How much you like a restaurant is (obviously) about the food. It’s also about the vibes. But often what matters most? Who you’re eating with. And at King, that’s especially the case.

On one visit to King, we came with what we're going to call a Kind-Of-Fancy friend. She knows a lot about lighting fixtures, she’ll choose the not-cheapest glass of wine before anyone else at the table figures out how to pronounce Aglianico, and she doesn't mind dropping $90 on a Tuesday night, especially if it's at a new spot.

Then we came back with another friend. He also knows how to order wine without word vomiting on himself. But for him to happily drop $90 at a restaurant, it needs to have some 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, its young owners, and its 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 are bad things, but they do get in the way of the f*ck-yes factor.

But it's definitely there - you just have to look a little more closely. Once you accept that King isn’t what you expected, you settle in. You get ordering help from a highly charming, not-at-all pretentious server. You 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, and an actually-memorable piece of fish) is delicious too.

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

Food Rundown

Cracker Crisps

This is most certainly not the real name for these, but they kick off every meal at King. Fancy bread basket. With less bread.

Malfatti

Big dough pillows stuffed with cheese and sage. Our only complaint is that there are only four of them. Consider getting a plate for yourself.

Chargrilled Onglet

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

Roasted Halibut

If you're the kind of person who gets excited about a "nice piece of fish," you will find that at King. This one, which comes with beans and greens, is about as excellent as simply-executed fish comes.

Rosemary Potatoes

If you’re trying to save a little money, consider splitting an entree and getting a couple sides - we haven’t met a vegetable we didn’t love here. These came swimming in oil and rosemary, our preferred way of eating pretty much anything.

Treacle Tarte

We wouldn't have ordered this if Kind-Of-Fancy friend hadn't reminded us that they eat Treacle Tarte in Harry Potter. It’s spicy and nutty and sweet and tastes like what you want to eat after a day on the Quiddich fields.

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, but it’s not going to blow your mind.

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