The words “sophisticated” and “BBQ” are rarely thought of together. As a matter of fact, BBQ is probably considered only as “casual dining” but a place like Cherrywood Kitchen in glamorous Soho has taken it up to the “fine dining” level not only because of its location, but for its use of fresh seafood (mostly brought in ALIVE from Chinatown markets) and Wagyu beef and other artisanal meats.
Cherrywood Kitchen is a stone’s throw away the Soho Grand so it is bringing in a lot of out of town clientele from there as well as neighborhood folks and basically any foodie looking to follow former Nobu chef Chris Cheung in his new ventures. Nearly everything is roasted over cherrywood (thus, the name of the eatery) and servers are obviously foodies themselves—they know the nuance of every dish. Start off with their stunning fruit-filled Sangria (served in a large ten ounce portion) when you sit down but before you ponder the wondrous menu and the waiter brings you a wonderful complimentary hot loaf of Housemade Garlic Ciabatta with Whipped Blue Cheese that is light and flavorful. Most diners I have spoken to head straight for the Lobster Tacos ($14) as their starters. Amongst the foodie crowd, these are considered in the city’s Top 10 Lobster Tacos—and the restaurant has only been open three weeks. They are cram full of lobster meat with a slab of homemade Old Bay Mayo and a serving is three tacos about four inches in length and diameter. The shell is not a corn tortilla but rather a homemade wonton shell and fresh scallions just add the right subtle flavor.
|Housemade Garlic Ciabatta with Whipped Blue Cheese|
|Hot Cherrywood Smoked Ribs|
I can’t wait to go back to Cherrywood Kitchen. I am not sure if I am brave enough to try their already famous eel Stuffed Fresh Killed Chicken just because I have always been scared of eels—and the name sounds like name of a prop from a 1970s Alice Cooper concert—but foodies have been lining up for this particular dish at the restaurant. You can expect nightly outrageous surprises from Cheung and that he hand picks a lot of the items (especially the fish) and often carries them into the restaurant himself. That shows real dedication to his promise of not only being on the cutting edge of New York City BBQ, but of his devotion to being the freshest restaurant in Soho as well.
300 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Cuisine: BBQ Fusion
Photos: Anne Raso, except interior and micro greens courtesy of Cherrywood Kitchen