@ HK Lounge – 523 9th Avenue

Little about the Port Authority area has ever been described as savory. Thankfully, this corner eatery proves a shining exception to that rule. Decorated like a neo-industrial coffee shop—garage door, white banquettes, gleaming silver chairs, TV screens inset above the bar—HK looks like an outpost from Chelsea, but with a more relaxed, accommodating ambience that’s reflected in its cuisine. The menu tilts toward bistro fare, with Mediterranean touches. The occasional American classic makes an appearance, too. The approach is effectively populist, with every dish a familiar favorite: garlic-laden escargots, spicy merguez, roasted fennel soup, hefty burgers. The low-key Hell’s Kitchen residents and pre-theatergoers who’ve discovered the friendly spot don’t seem put off by any lack of novelty in the culinary choices. On the contrary, the careful preparation and generous portions more than compensate. A simple roast chicken dinner seasoned with rosemary and accompanied by homemade whipped potatoes and braised spnach needs no embellishment to satisfy. Good taste and restraint? It’s enough to give Hell—or at least Port Authority—a good name.

For more information please visit http://www.hkhellskitchen.com/feedback.swf