Kirschen-Clark's Painterly New Food at Café Cluny
First cutting his eye teeth at Jimmy's No. 43, playing a pair of hot plates like a DJ, chef Philip Kirschen-Clark bounced around trying to find a new place that was a good fit. Most recently, he developed a menu at Vandaag representing the adapted cooking of Holland and Denmark, incorporating his usual local and seasonal sensibilities. It closed, according to a recent interview with Kirschen-Clark in Grub Street, because there weren't enough customers. Now, he's installed at Café Cluny, a clubby and not-cheap boite in the West Village with a strong neighborhood constituency. His mission: keep the good stuff on the menu the locals love (like the tuna burger and pastas), but add his own French, vegetable-y, and color-intensive touches. At a recent lunch there, a friend and I found some of his new dishes amazing - great tasting and beautiful to look at, too, while employing some startling juxtapositions. Here are four.