Kitchenette: A Tribeca Diner with Mama’s Kitchen Style
Kitchenette is just like your mother’s 1950s American kitchen, on steroids. Pink polkadots and yellow curlycues adorn the walls otherwise in need of a coat of fresh paint; trays upon trays of homemade goodies from sloppily frosted cupcakes to animal-shaped cookies to layer cakes, mini meringues, and pies are stacked at the front door for all passersby to ogle; a kitchen of short-order cooks bustles, churning out comfort food staples from waffles and pancakes to mac n’ cheese, burgers, and cold chicken cutlet sandwiches. The brainchild of two women who formed a cooking and catering partnership 16 years ago, Kitchenette is what a New York diner would look like if crossed with pastry shop and infused with a woman’s touch.
The narrow railroad space has a few refurbished-doors-cum-tables in the window, an impressive pastry array by the door, a few shabby stools for solo diners at the coffee machine and cash register, and a back room near the kitchen with tables for groups. Everything is more than a bit run-down, but in a charming sort of way. The polkadots are a bit faded; the tables a bit chipped, a little off-kilter. This isn’t a spot for foodies and fanatics or for those seeking the newest spot and chasing trends; this is the closest New York is going to get to a small-town diner, just off the highway. It’s nostalgic and comfortable, cozy and cute.
The grub is straight-forward American comfort food, served on large plates in big portions. What’s refreshing though about Kitchenette is that the food is just really good; it’s not too greasy, though greasy enough to please the hungover; the ingredients are fresh, showcasing everything from fluffy artisan bread to crisp vegetables and bright juicy fruits; the omelettes are fluffy, the biscuits buttery, the grilled cheese utterly oozing cheese, the burgers fat and flavorful. With a shockingly extensive menu and breakfast until 4:30pm, there’s surely something here for everyone, and it all comes at a refreshingly un-New York prices.
Kitchenette is a charming diner-style eatery in a distinctly diner-free neighborhood, and perhaps, this is what makes it so popular. Sure, it’s a little shabby, but who cares when such great comfort food comes so cheap? (Imagine: an entire filling meal for just around $10? Excellent.)
Perfect For: budgeters, those seeking greasy spoons, all-day breakfast, sweet teeth, group lunches, mother/daughter luncheons, lone diners