All Interior Photos By Gail, All Food Photos By Anne Raso
Hudson Square, a downtown neighborhood distinguished by its proximity to the Holland Tunnel’s entrance, probably isn’t an area that gets a lot of random foot traffic. In fact, if you never heard it referenced in a conversation about the location of a cool new eatery, you would likely be in good company. Things are different now though, thanks to the recently launched Cherrywood Kitchen, a gorgeous new restaurant serving a mix of American Bistro and BBQ fare. If this Soho-adjacent, not-quite-Tribeca address on west Spring Street was ever in need of a destination dining establishment, Cherrywood Kitchen has all the bases covered.
Opened in late March by restaurateurs Konstantin Ziring and Vladimir Kuznetsov, Cherrywood Kitchen distinguishes itself as soon as you enter the space thanks to its beautifully finished “cherrywood red” tables and paneling accented by glass-shaded brass light fixtures and chandeliers. A faux library wall along a cat walk at the rear of the dining area adds comfort and character to the room, and a thick frosted glass partition shields the lively bar from the intimate feel of the dining spaces. It cannot be overstated: we love this room!
Heading Cherrywood’s kitchen is Chef Chris Cheung, whose impressive resume includes tenures at both Jean Georges and Nobu, and here, Cheung continues to approach everything he does with a ‘fresh is best’ attitude. All seafood is brought in live from downtown fish markets and even a signature poultry dish boasts its “Fresh Killed” chicken. Service is also noteworthy, before any food even arrives at your table. Our enthusiastic and deeply food-passionate server, Adam, took us on a culinary journey as he described the highlights of the menu, including each dish’s ingredients and preparations. His lively explanations filled us with eager anticipation and he continued to take good care of us through to the end of our meal.
Cherrywood Kitchen’s varied but not overwhelming menu is divided into dishes labeled snacks ($5–14), small plates ($11–14), large plates ($21–46), sides ($5–8) and desserts ($8–11). They have a custom designed cherrywood smoker on site, which is put to good use infusing a light and flavorful smokiness into everything from meats to signature cocktails. We started with an ample and refreshing glass of the Cherrywood Sangria ($12) with Peach Liqueur added to the traditional mix of Red Wine and Seasonal Fruit. Delicious!
Cherrywood’s bread service has to be the best we’ve encountered, as a complimentary loaf of Housemade Garlic Ciabatta bread, served with a lighter than air buttery Whipped Blue Cheese spread arrives at your table to enjoy as you await your appetizers. If fresh baked bread is your weakness, be advised that this bread is decadently delicious and the whipped blue cheese spread is absolutely divine.
To start, we were instantly tempted by the trio of Little Lobster Tacos ($14), lightly dressed with an Old Bay-seasoned lemony Hollandaise and sprinkled with scallions. While your taste buds may tell you that you’re taking a crunchy bite into an authentic crispy corn tortilla shell, the tasty mini-taco shells are actually made from deep fried wonton wrappers! The lobster in these tacos is so fresh, tender and flavorful; we could have made a meal from them alone. Adam did tell us that Cherrywood has several specially priced taco dishes (not on the regular menu) for patrons seated at the bar only, so that is worth keeping in mind!
We also tried the Micro Greens ($12), dressed with a mildly sweet Pear Vinaigrette, and featuring artisanal Goat’s milk Feta cheese. This fresh salad is served over toasted large croutons (which are still tender, not too crunchy) and includes lots of tender bull hair beet and radish sprouts.
As a nod to the classic steakhouse meal, Cherrywood Kitchen offers a Wagyu Ribeye ($46) that is out of control. This meat is so perfectly marbleized that to have it cooked beyond a medium temperature should be illegal. Accompaniments on this excellent dish include Cherrywood’s own invention, the Potato Crusted Spinach (spinach inside a potato bird’s nest crust to emulate the classic steak house sides of hash browns and creamed spinach) and a baby Gem lettuce wedge salad with housemaid blue cheese dressing. There is not one morsel of deliciousness out of place on this highly recommended plate!
Under the banner of Slow Cooked Specialties of the House, we tried the Hot Cherrywood Smoked Ribs with Sweet Chili Glaze ($29) served with crisp Apple Celery Slaw. The photo above makes it appear as if the side of slaw is quite small, but the truth is that the massive slabs of ribs simply dwarf the slaw by comparison. Marinated in pineapple juice (for tenderness), cilantro and garlic, the ultra tender rib meet simply falls off the bone with minimal prodding of a fork. There is a lot of food on this plate, but we couldn’t help thinking that the spice of the chili sauce, and the almost equal heat of the slaw, would have been perfectly complimented by a side of rice, of which you have two choices: Bone Marrow Clay Pot Rice or Saffron Clay Pot Rice ($8 each). We’re sure that each is equally delicious.
For dessert, we had to try the nostalgia-inducing Crunch and Munch Crumble Pie with Seasonal Fruit ($10). This individual, baked-to-order dessert is made with a different fruit each day, depending on what strikes Chef Cheung’s fancy. On this night, the pie was brimming with fresh apples that were just the right mix of tart and sweet. Crunch and Munch, the namesake caramelized popcorn and peanut treat, is pulverized to crumbs and sprinkled on top before baking, which melts the caramel slightly to add a light crunch on top of the sweet fruit. A swirl of light, creamy Apple Foam was added as a garnish but you could probably ask if they have vanilla ice cream if you are a straight up ala mode fan.
We also shared the Valrhona Chocolate, Caramelized Banana and Sesame Fritters ($11) – an architectural triumph of dessert presentations which, sadly, did not make it onto the camera roll. The chocolate is whipped into a mousse and accompanied by a dark chocolate cookie crumble, flanked by sliced bruleed bananas and topped with two spherical, sesame-studded fritters reminiscent of the pleasantly chewy, Japanese Mochi rice dessert sometimes served in Asian restaurants. Very interesting!
We must admit that we are in the early stages of a serious love affair with Cherrywood Kitchen. High Fives All Around On This One.
Cherrywood Kitchen is located at 300 Spring Street, just West of Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013. Phone (646)559-2328 for reservations and visit their website at Cherrywood Kitchen Dot Com for menus and more information.