All The King’s Men Come to Kingswood
Kingswood embodies the now cliched notion of downtown ‘Village’ dining; it hits all the high points of recent trends: no discernable sign outside, Edison-style filament lights, rough tablecloth-less ‘farmer’s kitchen’ tables, dishcloth napkins, an over-the-top burger, and funky fancy cocktails. It is a downtown New Yorker’s heaven – seductive and casual with a comfortable vintage look, low lighting and hordes of pretty young things.
I have walked by Kingswood many times, without knowing much beyond that its always packed. The lack of a sign always left me wondering what it was- and, by chance, Opentable once again led me there, unexpectedly. And boy, am I glad it did. True to its Australian roots, Kingswood is so warm and welcoming – it is friendly, built for lively conversation over decadent food and drink.
Despite pegging itself as ‘Aussie,’ there are no distinctly Australian dishes on the menu; it all looked pretty middle-of-the-road Anglo-American to me. The surprisingly limited yet still diverse menu includes everything from oysters on a half shell to luxurious baked goat cheese to a hulking burger, fish & chips, goan fish curry (house specialty), and a spice crusted rack of lamb and lamb belly. My girlfriend Alex and I split the baked goat cheese after succombing to the siren call. Hidden in a bed of greenery, we finally found the goat cheese nuggets after hunting and foraging. Unfortunately disappointing, the well-portioned globs of cheese were surprisingly unflavorful, considering the myriad of goat cheese varieties available in the area (get a new local provider!). It definitely made me wish I’d gone for the seared tuna belly or char-grilled octopus.
On a better note though, the pork fritters were light and fun with a fair amount of tasty well-seasoned breading and a nice porky taste. I love the candied nuts. Alex went to town on the Bronte Burger, a mass of juicy tender beef, cheddar cheese, and sweet chili sauce. It’s everything you would want a burger to be: hearty, well-seasoned, completely beeftastic, and decadent. The massive side of fries were pure shoestring deliciousness with a generous dollop of truffle mayo.
Kingswood encapsulates the charm of dining the West Village; it’s cozy, comfortable, lively, and equipped with great music, an attractive wait staff, and a great bar scene. The square bar in the center of the room is great for grabbing cocktails with friends, and the surrounding restaurant is great for everything from a first date to a small birthday celebration to a long lingering dinner with your best friend.
Word of warning: plan in advance! More often than not, nabbing a reservation at this Aussie Haven requires some advance thought!