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Chelsea for Foodies


Given Klee’s pleasant, neighborly scale, the food is better than you would expect, but given the prices, it’s probably not quite as good as it should be. The dishes I tended to like were the smaller ones, like the fresh, leafy salads (butter lettuce with dill dressing, blue cheese with romaine and roasted hazelnuts), good arctic-char tartare spritzed with lime, a nice mushroom soup with frizzled leeks, and the pork tonnato, made with a light tuna sauce and rumpled slices of Kurobuta pork. The larger items were more straightforward but more uneven. The swordfish steak ($26) was fine as swordfish goes, as were the wood-oven-roasted pork loin ($24) and the strips of charred Wagyu hanger steak ($27). On the other hand, my platter of Wiener schnitzel was overbreaded, and the chicken ($21) could have been roasted in the diner down the street. You won’t find a better selection of cheese at your local diner (there are tastings from five countries), however, or a more dense, chocolatey Sacher torte, and if you like this sort of thing, the lunchtime hot dog ($10) is made with Kobe beef.

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Address: 138 W. 25th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-633-1800
Hours: 5:30 to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Prices: Appetizers, $10 to $18; entrées, $26 to $36.
Ideal Meal: Venison or octopus, grass-fed beef, “Celery Root Abstract.”
Note: The sophisticated bar menu includes excellent brandade “fries” stacked like little logs and scattered with black-olive powder.
Scratchpad: The ambience deserves a single star at best, but the inventiveness of the cooking combined with the varied wine cellar bump everything up at least one notch.

Klee Brasserie
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Address: 200 Ninth Ave., nr. 22nd St.; 212-633-8033
Hours: Lunch noon to 3 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Dinner 5:30 to 11 p.m. daily.
Prices: Appetizers, $8 to $14; entrées, $21 to $27.
Ideal Meal: Kurobuta-pork tonnato, swordfish, Sacher torte.
Note: Try the Holunder Margarita, made with Corzo tequila and elderflowers.
Scratchpad: This sophisticated though pricey neighborhood joint is worth a single star, but if you’re not in the area, don’t go out of your way.



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