The 5 Things You Need To Know About Le Ka
This week's restaurant review is about Le Ka, the new spot downtown from chef Remi Lauvand. There are some things you can only find out by reading the whole review, but for a taste, see below.
Anne Fishbein Spice jars at Le Ka
Food: Lauvand has a long history cooking creative, upscale French and creative international food, and Le Ka follows that path but also skews slightly Asian. Frankly, a whole lot of ground is trying to be covered here. From the review: "You sense just looking at the menu that this may be a restaurant that's trying to do too much, trying to be too many things for too many people: cheese, charcuterie, pizza ("or flatbread, the way you wish to call them," according to the menu), small plates, large plates, $90 steak for two, raw oysters, sliders, pasta, Thai curry mussels, Spanish calamari, octopus with kimchi, uni with oxtail and congee."
Does it work?: Yes and no. Lauvand is a formidable chef, and some of the food here is astonishing. But some is lackluster or feels rushed, which is no wonder with a menu (and a dining room) this sprawling.
Looks: From the review: "There's the decor, the open kitchen, the glittering bar with neon yellow back-lit liquor bottles, the soaring ceilings, the filament light fixtures, the white-on-black tables and chairs. For all its ubiquity, it's a model that still works and somehow remains on this side of total cliché. It feels exciting and familiar all at once."
Service: In a word, verbose. You get a lot of spiel at Le Ka, and not always a lot of actual service to back it up. Expect waiters to say things like "mouthwatering" a lot, and deliver an opening speech that might take 10 minutes while their other tables wish someone would clear their plates or bring them more water.
Takeaway: 2 stars (good). There are quite a few dishes that are worth visiting Le Ka to sample, and it's a fun space full of swank energy. The cocktails and wine list are both pretty great. I wish Lauvand was able to focus more, and I really wish the waiter would chill out and leave his acting career at the door.
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