August 11, 2010 KO Prime
Located in the Nine Zero hotel, a Kimpton hotel, is KO Prime, a Ken Oringer venture (Oringer also owns Clio, Uni, La Verdad and Toro). Kimpton hotels are small boutique hotels, each with a different theme- the Nine Zero’s theme is design. The doorman/valet is friendly and greets me as I pull up. Walking in to the hotel it seems modern and a little trendy-something you might see in a magazine. I take the elevator up to the restaurant which is quite the contrast to the lobby. The main lobby is white, bright, and sleek-KO is on the darker, more mysterious side. The room is dimly lit, maybe more romantic, and on the ceiling are recessed murals. The large windows provide a great view to the bustling street below.
I notice when we sit that there are a lot of people from the hotel dining here. They were running a special where if you charge to your room, you get a percentage off your bill. We are here using a Living Social coupon that was pay $25 and get $50 worth of food. They also feature a $29.99 all you can eat Prime Rib special on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
We were served a little appetizer from the chef, a piece of smoked salmon on top of a crispy piece of toast-excellent!
The service here was excellent. We have a veteran server who takes care of all our needs. We order the calamari with shishito peppers and Yuzu aioli($12), the heirloom tomato salad with crispy manouri cheese, tomato basil vinaigrette, peach and apricot aioli ($10), and the market green salad with cabernet vinaigrette and feta cheese($11). The calamari was excellent, and still cooking when it came out served on a cast iron skillet-crunchy and light. The heirloom tomato salad was delicious-the tomatoes were ripe and firm and the cheese, a soft white cheese made from the whey of goat or sheep’s milk-creamier and less salty than a feta, was amazing. The plating of the heirloom salad was impressive, it was like a work of art. Tomatoes stacked on the upper right corner, alternating colors and in the diagonal corner, the cheese stacked on top of a sole slice of tomato.
As I mentioned before, service here is excellent, plates were cleared immediately and water glasses were refilled as frequently.
Entrees arrive in a timely fashion. We order the steak frites-flat iron with onion marmalade, and frites ($18), the short rib mac and cheese ($18) and the 12oz New York Strip with cippolini onions ($38). We also get sides of corn, poblano and chanterelle risotto ($8) and the spaetzle ($6). The mac and cheese comes out sizzling with a beautiful crust on top. The flavors are excellent. They should figure out how to get mac and cheese crunchy all the way through-it’s the best part. The inside is warm and gooey-although I have to admit, it was hard finding short rib in side. The strip steak was perfectly cooked, a cool pink in the center, served on a large white plate-simple, elegant. The steak frites, again, perfectly cooked and served with a mountain for frites (fries). Moving on to the sides, the risotto-amazing! Perfectly cooked, great texture and consistency-would have liked to have had more of a corn flavor which seemed to be masked by the strong poblano flavor. Spaetzle is a German dish, somewhere along the lines of a pasta-this dish tasted almost like a fried dough-and while the dish was good- we found it to be a bit salty.
Stuffed from all the food so far, we dig deep within ourselves to find that special place where there’s always room for dessert. Everything looks delicious. We get the chocolate marquis ($10) with buttered popcorn ice cream and a popcorn ball on top. I find that restaurants don’t have to try too hard with chocolate desserts, which doesn’t make sense because the majority of people get them. The cake was good but not crave-worthy. I struggled to find the buttered popcorn flavor in the ice cream but the popcorn ball on top was whimsy and fun. We also had the berry tart ($10) fresh berries with a boozy granita, served over a mascarpone filled tart. The crust was light and crispy with a wonderful buttery flavor. We found the mascarpone filling to be a bit too liquidy for our taste-there were a lot of things going on in this dessert-the granita, while good took away from the light-ness and freshness of the dessert. Finally, we ordered the creamsicle ice cream ($10) which came built in a three scoop tower formation-the flavor was excellent. It was served on top of a shortcake, also excellent-light and airy, with a side of berries and anisette foam.
Just when you thought you were done, think again. They completed the evening with three bite sized brownies-compliments of the house. Rich and fudgey-delicious. A fine meal all in all-although I think that a wheelchair to ease me out of my seat would have been a nice addition. As we left-the hostess and manager thanked us for coming and the when I got to the lobby, the car was right out front-the valet asked me how my evening was, which I thought was so friendly-a nice way to end the night.
KO Prime-in the Nine Zero Hotel
90 Tremont Street Boston MA 617.772.0202