Industry Kitchen—with its sweeping views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges—opened its doors in May on the lip of the East River in the South Street Seaport.
Serving “modern American food with French and Italian influences,” executive chef Marco Arnold says he enjoys cooking in the open kitchen, which affords him the same vistas as diners through the floor-to-ceiling windows that remain open during the warm weather months.
“The only better spot is in Florence,” he notes.
Patrons also can watch the chef and his staff whip up dishes and bake them in the two custom-made, wood-burning ovens. “We’re cooking at 800 degrees in a dome, so all the flavors are contained. We have no fryers,” says owner Abraham Merchant.
“With an open kitchen, everyone is looking at how we do things,” he continues. “We keep our presentation simple.”
While the sleekly designed 5,000-square-foot eatery is sprawling, with 150 seats inside and the same number outside, the menu is fairly compact.
One of the more unusual offerings is the chocolate pizza ($9). The dessert was concocted to please the younger set, but Mr. Arnold says it also is a favorite among the more mature patrons.
A rectangle of pizza dough, he explains, is brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and placed in an oven. After a minute or so, the dough is removed and flecked with white chocolate. After the chocolate melts, Mr. Arnold says he drizzles the dough with chocolate ganache and dusts it wish powdered sugar.
The chef also was most excited about his new confection: Passion-fruit panna cotta ($9). “It’s a very refreshing cold dessert that reminds you of summer,” he says.
Something most diners wouldn’t typically order in the summer is chicken dumpling soup with vegetables ($8), but Mr. Arnold says it is popular. Other appetizers include burrata with grilled asparagus ($14), and blistered shishito peppers with sea salt and olive oil ($9).
A variety of salads—mixed, kale, Greek, Caesar, arugula and grilled tomato—ranging in price from $9 to $13, are offered, as are about a half dozen types of savory pizzas. Margherita ($14) may be the most popular among patrons, but Mr. Merchant favors the Bianca pizza, with mozzarella, aged pecorino and olive oil ($14).
The vegetable gratin, composed of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, Parmesan and basil pistou, ($18) is packed with flavor, as is the perfectly grilled cedar plank Atlantic salmon ($22). The roasted chicken over lemon ($19) comes with white barbecue sauce, made with homemade mayonnaise instead of ketchup.
Mr. Merchant, who lives in lower Manhattan and, with Merchants Hospitality Properties, operates more than a dozen restaurants in Manhattan including SouthWestNY, the Black Hound and Merchant River House, is particularly pleased to be part of the revitalization of the South Street Seaport, which was devastated by superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“It’s going to be a great neighborhood,” Mr. Merchant says, adding that he wants Industry Kitchen “to be a very comfortable experience for the locals to come in and feel like they’re sitting at a marina in California.”
Industry Kitchen, 70 South St. at Maiden Lane; 212-487-9600; open daily from 12 p.m. until 11 p.m., offering the same menu for lunch and dinner, in addition to brunch on Saturday and Sunday; DOH rating: A