Plenty of room for monkey business

Plenty of room for monkey business

When it comes to David Burke’s image in Manhattan, he is decidedly an uptown chef. Both davidburke kitchen and Fishtail are fine-dining, Upper East Side establishments — and for argument’s sake it would be better to forget that Hawaiian Tropic Zone ever existed.

Enter David Burke Kitchen — Chef David Burke’s first foray into downtown dining with his latest farmhouse-inspired restaurant. Located inside SoHo’s new boutique hotel, The James, David Burke Kitchen is a refreshing restaurant that manages to be sophisticated and modern while still retaining its casual youthfulness and comfortable feel.

It’s no surprise that David Burke chose The James, as he already houses his Primehouse steakhouse within the hotel’s original Chicago location. What is surprising is that before now, David Burke had yet to access New York City’s downtown market, as his often kitschy cuisine is perfect for a hip crowd always on the lookout for the next “must-have” dish.

Aside from the inclusion of David Burke’s famed Pretzel-Crusted Crab Cake, the American menu at David Burke Kitchen creatively combines farm-fresh ingredients with straightforward, classic preparations. But like Burke’s renowned Cheesecake Lollipops, diners are reminded of Burke’s insatiable knack for creating decadent desserts.

Like the insane Can O’ Cake at Fishtail, David Burke Kitchen delivers another over-the-top dessert with the monstrous Monkey Bread (US$16). Meant to share, the bourgeoning bits of brioche and banana are glued together with hot caramel and served in a custom David Burke Kitchen tin. The dessert, which can easily feed four, is dished tableside with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Don’t be scared by it’s daunting size, as this steaming confection is also a dish best served cold. Just pop the lid on top and your leftover monkey bread is ready to become the perfect morning meal. With coffee, of course.