Kitchen Step in Downtown Van Vorst Section of Jersey City
The Friendly Crew at Kitchen Step
By Sally Deering
In the heart of the Downtown Van Vorst section of Jersey City, the Kitchen Step bistro offers Progressive American cuisine in an open and airy space that’s down to earth with natural wood tables, eco green banquettes and paintings of leaves and tree branches hanging from the dining room ceiling.
General Manager Kenneth Rosado and the staff at Kitchen Step go the distance when it comes to customer service, which is evident when the 60-seat eatery fills up during weekend brunch with customers clamoring for dishes like the Nutella Swirl Pancakes and Truffle Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon.
“We are a neighborhood restaurant,” Rosado says, as the crew prepares for a busy Friday night. “We had big shows to fill when we opened a year ago last February. This was where Thirty Acres used to be.”
Kitchen Step’s market-inspired progressive American menu designed by executive chef Ryan DePersio seems to be a well-thought-out offering of creative takes on classic American dishes.
The menu features Snacks like Marinated Olives & Candied Almonds; Zucchini Fries and Harissa Mayo; Honey- Sriracha BBQ Wings, Thai Peanut Chutney; and Truffle Maccheroni & Cheese ($5-$10).
Small Plates include the Artisanal Cheese Plate, Balthazar Multigrain, Fresh Fruit; Kale Caesar Salad; Crispy Fish Tacos; Octopus Ala Plancha; ½ doz. Oysters on the Half Shell; Wild Mushroom Soup; and Crispy Duck Confit ($12-$18).
Large Plates feature the Ricotta Gnocchi, Olive-Crusted Salmon, Shellfish Bouillabaisse, Striped Bass, Pomegranate Chili-Glazed Pork Chop, RD Burger; Buttermilk Baked Chicken Breast; Moroccan Braised Chicken; and a 10 oz. Angus New York Strip Steak ($17-$30).
Chef RD Burger
The Ricotta Gnocchi is a big hit with the regulars, Rosado says.
“The Ricotta Gnocchi are super light and fluffy,” Rosado says. “Customers have described them as pillows or clouds.”
The Pomegranate Chili-Glazed Pork Chop, a 14-ounce cut is served crispy with spaetzel and charred broccolini and its extremely popular, Rosado says. So is the Shellfish Bouillabaisse.
There are specials on the menu throughout the week and on weekends for Sunday Brunch which, Rosado says, is so popular he suggests making a reservation.
Moroccan Braised Chicken
“We’re trying to create a fun culture here at the restaurant,” Rosado says. “It’s a fine dining experience from beginning to end. Our customers are our guests and we want this to be a destination that people want to go to. We offer fine-dining etiquette in a casual setting.”
Kitchen Step’s unique name has historical significance. According to the restaurant’s website (www.kitchenstepjc.com): “We take our name from one of Jersey City’s most notable residents, Cornelius Van Vorst. In the days of the “courtly Cornelius,” his mansion enjoyed great local fame for its generous hospitality and its kitchen step, which used to attract so many people to the Van Vorst garden gate.”
It seems the tradition continues at Kitchen Step; a fine dining experience in a casual atmosphere with a side of hospitality.
If you go
500 Jersey Ave, JC
Tues-Thurs, 5-10 pm
Fri, 5-11 pm
Sat Brunch 11 am-3 pm; Dinner 5-11 pm
Sun Brunch 11 am-3 pm; Dinner 5-9 pm