Kensington Quarters chops it up

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KENSINGTON QUARTERS DINING ROOM Photo: Ryan Scott

Butcher shop and now full-service restaurant Kensington Quarters is bringing locally sourced and sustainable seasonal fare to the area, but has more tricks up its culinary sleeve than just meat.

 

Kensington Quarters definitely knows what it’s doing in the meat department but its vegetable and bread game is tight too. In fact, the eatery has a bright future as a bakery if the owner ever wants to take things in that direction. The house-baked sourdough and focaccia featured in a few of the dishes are good enough on their own to be sold by the loaf. Alas, Kensington Quarters is in the business of meat (but seriously, take the hint and get to the baking).

Kensington Quarters has a lovely small-plates menu that draws the attention away from its meat selection and highlights a diverse selection of produce and pasta. The beet salad ($12) was fresh and summery with almonds, goat and feta cheese and caramelized honey. The spicy carrots ($13) were rustic and tender, with a smoky roasted flavor. The Cherry Grove-baked cheese ($13) was the perfect vehicle for the thick-toasted focaccia bread with creamy and decadent warm brie, topped with pine-nut pesto and garlic confit. One of the specials on the night we visited was the fennel ravioli ($16) in a lobster bullion, which was elegant and subtly interesting with delicate flavors.

Its small plates are works of art but Kensington Quarters really turns on the charm with its quality selections of meat. The charcuterie menu selection is solid, especially the shaved lamb leg ($12), which was quite tasty, chilled with charred garlic and radishes.

There are a lot of choice cuts on the large-plates menu, like steaks, pork chops, swordfish and chicken, but we had to see what the buzz was about for one of the house favorites, the KQ Burger ($18), which, hands down, is one of the best burgers in town. It’s pretty much flawless: an almost obscenely thick, juicy slab of a burger on a house-made brioche bun. The meat is perfectly seasoned and the burger gets the job done with just cheddar and a garlic chili aioli to hold it together.

Kensington Quarters is a relatively new kid on the chopping block that is the Philly restaurant scene, but with its range of skills and quality products coming out of the kitchen, people are going to be flocking north in droves to feast on this meaty fare.