Chalk Point Kitchen - an eclectic farmers barn in NYC
To identify the restaurant from the outside, just look around for a chalkboard! You will then walk into what is best described as an eclectic farmers barn, complete with vintage objects and farming knickknacks on the walls, that is buzzing with energy. A few that come to mind include antique wheelbarrow wheels, a pitchfork, and old mirrors. And lets not forget the large collection of Polaroid photos on the wall next to the hostess desk, mostly of happy diners at the restaurant. But moving on to the Handy Bar downstairs, the highlight would have to be the massive Connect Four board, where my brother and I had a quick game as we were waiting to be seated at the restaurant.
The extensive list of “Vegetables to Share” on the menu go with farmer theme as most of them are wholesome vegetables, perhaps ones that you would typically enjoy as sides with a traditional all American Turkey dinner. But there are also quite a few new age and Chinese style dishes thrown into the mix, not very fitting for a farmer's barn, but going well with its eclectic vibe. The problem, however, is that a lot of these “vegetables” aren’t entirely vegetarian. For instance, the Korean Kimchi Tofu Hotpot looked promising but we were advised that it wasn’t vegetarian due to its fish sauce; the Upstate Farm Brussels Sprouts contained bacon; and the Sautéed Russian Kale included chorizo. Nonetheless, after a short discussion with our well-versed waitress, we went through the “Snacks,” “Small Plates for the Table,” and “Vegetables to Share” and were able to order a pretty decent selection of small dishes and vegetables for the four of us to share.
As some of my readers might be aware, one of my pet peeves is having way too many dishes on the table at a time. I can understand the thought process behind serving all the snacks and small plates at the same time, followed by all the rest, but the same doesn’t really apply when you’re ordering multiple dishes to share. We would have appreciated things to be more spaced out with perhaps 2-3 dishes on the table at time, but instead we felt like the table was constantly overflowing with food, not really giving us the opportunity to fully appreciate the individual qualities of each dish.
Here’s a run down of the food:
Snacks & Small Plates:
Fresh Chickpea Falafel: the falafels were decent, but I didn't love the hummus on the side, but then again I am a tough audience having grown up with authentic hummus in Dubai.
Creamy Handmade Burrata: our waitress specifically recommended this dish to us, and quality of the cheese was great, but the fenugreek and cucumber on the side didn't really add much dimension to the burrata.
Organic Shaved Kale Salad: a relatively standard kale salad, with a few apples and dried cherries thrown in.
Seasonal Citrus Quinoa: the quinoa was served warm with sesame, scallions, pea shoots, ruby red grapefruit and had a vibrant citrus flavour. It was nice to have a warm quinoa dish for a change.
Roasted Butternut Squash: this beautifully presented dish was definitely the favourite on the table. The light sweetness of the butternut squash was brought out by the aged balsamic, and it was balanced with a dash of ricotta and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Union Square Cauliflower Steak: another great dish, for which we had a general consensus on the table. The large “steak” consisted of half a head of seared cauliflower coated with spiced tahini, topped with toasted sesame seeds, pickled Thai chilies, and grapes, which definitely added another dimension to an otherwise boring vegetable.
Grilled Jumbo Asparagus: the texture of these chunky asparagus shoots was just right and the fried shallots added a nice crispy element. The white miso was quite mild.
Roasted Heirloom Carrots: just your average roasted carrots, served with a dash of feta and lemon. Apparently there was some black truffle sauce in there, but I think it may have been left off ours as we didn't really taste it.
(Above pictures from @chalkpointnyc via Instagram)
Freddy’s Succatash: this compilation of Pennsylvania Dutch mushrooms, local corn, back dirt carrots and English peas was tossed with a delicious lemon truffle vinaigrette (featured image).
Coconut Panna Cotta – we ordered just the coconut panna cotta for the table as no one was particularly in the mood for dessert, but I was curious to see how well this dairy free dessert would live up to its description. I mean, who could resist a Tahitian Vanilla Coconut Panna Cotta with Meyer lemon, blackberries and toasted coconut? To my disappointment, it didn’t, and the four of us left it unfinished.
Overall, each individual dish would have probably been great as a side dish for a meat-lover that wanted to add a few vegetables to the mix, but when put together as a meal, a vegetarian who probably ate one two many vegetables and sides all night, isn’t exactly going to come running back for dinner with enthusiasm. Personally, I would only come back with meat loving friends, or to try their much hyped brunch, which by looks of their menu, sounds much better than dinner! More than likely though, I would come back for drinks at the Handy Bar, where I’d sip on their fabulous Kale Martini and play a few rounds of Connect Four.
P.S. I plan to experiment with the Kale Martini very soon, so stay tuned for the recipe!
Unless captioned above, all images were obtained from the restaurant via email.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: ✔
Pros: The restaurant has a fun, eclectic vibe and is always buzzing. Innovative cocktails.
Cons: A couple of delicious veggie dishes of note, but overall not a wholesome enough meal when with more than 2 vegetarians.
Price: $$$$ (500+ AED)
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