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Pete Wells Can’t Separate Loring Place and ABC Kitchen

The Times critic makes inevitable comparisons

Loring Place
Loring Place
Nick Solares

During a four-year tenure at ABC Kitchen, Dan Kluger gleaned a reputation for serving “health food,” with vegetable-topped pizzas and a lot of dishes that were essentially salads. When Kluger opened Loring Place near the end of 2016 — his first solo project — the chef honed in on a vegetable focus, making comparisons between the two restaurants inescapable, according to Pete Wells’ latest review.

Wells writes: “As much as I want to take Loring Place on its own terms, the menu makes comparisons with ABC Kitchen inevitable, and Loring Place comes off as slightly less interesting. It’s not just that a lot of it feels familiar now; some of it is also unfocused and busy.”

Still, the Times critic finds a lot to like. Here are some of his favorites:

But I have to admit I had a hard time keeping up my interest in the other pies at Loring Place once I’d eaten a square of what the menu calls “grandma-style pan pizza.” [...] The Loring Place grandma crust is thicker than in the archetypal versions, but flavorful, light and nongreasy. I hope Mr. Kluger has stocked up on pizza pans because he runs a serious risk of selling a grandma pie to every table in the restaurant.

Its only close rival on the menu is the cheeseburger, which comes with bacon made on site, a likably combative pickled-pepper aioli and a cast-iron pan of thick-cut fries that seem to get crunchier as they got cooler, a neat feature.

Wells also digs a list of cocktails that range from “very well-made classic cocktails as well as innovations that taste like classics in the making,” and a wine menu that boasts a lot of reasonably priced options. Wells is into the dessert menu, which also plays on nostalgia. “There’s a sly update on the Hostess CupCake, a tin of cookies, and a vanilla ice-cream sundae with pretzels, toffee and whatnot, modeled on the Dairy Queen Blizzard,” he writes. “O.K. It’s kind of like the sundae at ABC Kitchen. It’s still good.” Two stars.

Loring Place

21 West 8th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 388-1831 Visit Website

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