In the Night Kitchen

"Which is why, if you sit in the front room of the Night Kitchen at any wrong hour --which are, almost invariably, the right hours--and watch the door, you can see nearly every person who comes inside doing the same tiny dance. They will hang up outside the door for an instant--a stutter-step, as though the ballistic course of their progress through the night has been altered by strange gravities--and touch the door lightly. They will pause, cutting their eyes at the OPEN sign burning and the bodies behind the windows, then walk carefully across the threshold, dip a shoulder. and look around suspiciously as though they can't quite believe the door has opened for them.

Because Night Kitchen is still relatively new (it opened with the new year, just ten months ago, give or take), some still ask whether the place is actually open, actually serving food. But almost all of them, upon first washing up on these rare shores, have a look on their faces like Maurice Sendak's Mickey upon falling naked into his own Night Kitchen. They're wondering, for lack of a more elegant phrase, just what this place's deal is."

From this week's review of The Night Kitchen

The Night Kitchen is an unusual place. Its hours--6pm 'til 9am, open straight through the darkest hours--put it in odd company with diners, coffeehouses, greasy spoons and bars with long last calls.

And while it is part of all of these things (it serves breakfasts, has a bar and serves good coffee at all hours), it is none of them entire. It is, in fact, just a restaurant turned on its head--a place for good food at wrong hours, at times of the night when a plate of steak frites or fried cheese curds might be the rarest thing in the world.

Under normal circumstances and at normal addresses, eating after midnight in almost any major American city means a compromise. To sit at a greasy table, look out the window across the shattered blacktop, and see a truckstop prostitute fighting with a pigeon caught in her weave, then turn back with a sigh to his plate of fried eggs and toast is not extraordinary. That's just a motherfucking Tuesday. We have agreed to take what we can get in the odd hours and to complain only about the most egregious of peculiarities.

But at The Night Kitchen, things are different. Better. Both less and more strange. And you can read all about it tomorrow, in the paper or on the Voracious blog.

See you there...

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