It’s around 7 p.m. A hostess escorts a couple through the dining room at Restaurant Kinsley. Beams of lazy sunlight stream through enormous windows. Banana plants and other leafy greenery serve as both decorations and dividers between velvet, rust-colored booths. Servers meander the room, occasionally stopping at the pick-up window, where a pair of arms slides a plate out to them from the chest-high kitchen counter. The chatter rises up to the vaulted ceilings, where it mixes with the honey-soaked guitars of “Sweet Jane,” dripping from the speakers.
It is a Tuesday, and there is not a seat to be had at Restaurant Kinsley.
A server offers her take, explaining that not many restaurants in Kingston are open on Tuesdays, but adds that the dining room has been packed since they opened about a month ago. Located in the lobby of a former bank at the intersection of Wall Street and John Street, Restaurant Kinsley is part of Hotel Kinsley, a boutique hotel from Charles Blaichman and Taavo Somer. The new venue from Blaichman, a developer based in Woodstock, and Somer, an architect and New York City restaurateur, will eventually comprise four different locations throughout Uptown Kingston with a total of 43 rooms. In the pipeline are three other hotel properties, a wood-fired pizzeria called Lola, as well as Fare and Main, a gourmet grocery shop.
“I think that hotels spark the imagination about travel and escape,” says Somer. “As a hotel restaurant that feeling of escape or romance is extended to both our hotel guests that are visiting the area as well as the community around us.”
Zak Pelaccio and Kevin Pomplun of Fish & Game renown consulted in the development of the menu at Restaurant Kinsley, but the kitchen operates under the careful eye of Executive Chef Gabriel Ross, who comes to Kinsley after working in venerable New York City institutions like 5 Ninth and Savoy. At first pass, Restaurant Kinsley’s menu seems reliable, if not all that inventive. But the top notch execution on dishes that don’t necessarily pop off the page — pappardelle, green curry, roasted chicken — reinvigorate the very idea of each dish by delivering a TKO to diners’ taste buds. The strip steak, topped with chicories and poached figs, served with a side of béarnaise, keeps pace with the best steakhouses in the area, and leaves the memory of rubber-shoe filets sputtering under the broiler.
A seven-person bar makes for an intimate pre-dinner drink, while on Saturdays and Sundays guests can order off a slightly more metropolitan brunch menu composed of items like whipped avocado on a bagel, smoked salmon, and buttermilk pancakes.
Open Tues–Thurs, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.; Fri–Sat, 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; Sat–Sun, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
301 Wall St, Kingston, 845.768.3621