City Pulse

By Kelly Hushin

One of my favorite SATC lines is inspired by a Krispy Kreme glazed donut. “I’m sorry, but this is worth being fat for,” gushes Miranda after sinking her teeth into the fat-filled glazed ring while on a date with fellow Weight Watchers classmate…directly following their “points” meeting. While you may or may not necessarily agree wholeheartedly with the statement, you can’t argue that her sentiment is correct: some desserts are just plain worth it. Never have I felt more strongly about this than I did after digging into the fabulously over-the-top Monkey Bread at new SoHo restaurant, David Burke Kitchen.

Burke is perhaps better known in the city for his flagship Upper East Side restaurant, David Burke Townhouse, which also serves up some delectable desserts and main courses, not to mention an extravagant prix fix weekend brunch menu. The downtown spot, which opened in February, answers much of the hype but provides a lower key, downtown vibe, naturally. Designed by Thomas Schlesser, David Burke Kitchen’s interior blends the cool, industrial vibe of Soho and its infamous lofts with a rustic country barn feel – topped off by a wooden roof in the dining room that resembles a barn’s inards or a beautiful yacht’s hull. DBK has two levels – the upper called the Treehouse Bar which provides a view of Grand Street below, and the lower the main dining room and another bar.

While I enjoyed some of the main dinner courses at Burke’s new digs inside the James Hotel in SoHo, I was absolutely, unabashedly, entirely blown away by the larger-than-life Monkey Bread. After trying what seemed like a bit of everything off the menu – snacks, jars, starters, mains and sides – it was almost unimaginable that I was actually going to attempt dessert. But the lovely blonde waitress with enviably cool glasses convinced us that this “bread,” which was more than enough for two, couldn’t be missed. When the sugar and butter soaked brioche topped with bananas and pecans arrived inside a large circular tin, surrounded by a carafe of caramel sauce, a bowl of vanilla ice cream and an urn of homemade whipped cream, I nearly fainted on the spot. And then I took a bite and I did faint. Ok, not really. But I might as well have. It’s that good.

Carving Station in the center of the dining room where prawns are pressed for a main dish’s pasta sauce

The dinner course was enjoyable too though I’d pass on the tomato, eggplant, ricotta jar and the pretzel crab cake next time. (The presentation was impressive but alas, looks aren’t everything.) David Burke Kitchen is worth visiting literally for the Monkey Bread alone. Now that the weather is improving (let’s not jinx it) and you’re strolling about more frequently, training for the half marathon, biking around Brooklyn or shopping yourself silly in SoHo, why not reward yourself with the best dessert in town?

David Burke Kitchen
23 Grand Street (at Sixth Avenue)
Soho, NYC 10013

Originally published April 2011
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