Kat & Theo

El Bulli alum Paras Shah's Flatiron gem buzzes with a quiet confidence

By Maria Yagoda

This atmospheric Flatiron restaurant and bar is the sort of chic neighborhood spot that will trick you into lingering two hours longer than you’d planned. No, it’s not the service—which is attentive and playful—but rather the fact that it’s nearly impossible to bring yourself to walk away from a menu that can only be described as immaculate. Occupying a space marked by extensive brickwork, tin ceilings, and reclaimed oak, this is one of Manhattan’s most consistent, delightful restaurants.

Kat & Theo buzzes along with quiet confidence under the direction of executive chef Paras Shah. Given his background, which includes roles at el Bulli, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Per Se, the chef’s smart interpretation of seasonal New American cuisine should come as no surprise. Shah’s beef tartar, perfectly mustardy and punctuated with egg yolk, makes for a vibrant start, as does the pure comfort mushroom tortellini, tossed in a creamy, sherry vinegar–tinged sauce that you're legally required to sop up with the house bread.

The kitchen approaches all preparations with the same degree of thoughtfulness. The small plate of scallops atop an herbaceous green apple broth, and the sweet-crispy miso Brussels sprouts, are ideal warm-ups for the entrées, which act as veritable main events, to be celebrated slowly and with great care. The arctic char's flesh is as silky as the skin is crispy, bathing in another revelatory broth of ramps (but of course) and pillowy gnocchi. The NY strip steak, perfectly cooked and doused in foie butter, is a master class in luxury.

By the time you finish your dessert—the maple and milk très leches, we hope, with brown butter and fennel pollen—you may notice you still have a substantial amount of wine left. Good thing you have nowhere more important to be.


Dinner: Mon–Thu 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Fri–Sat 5:30 PM–11 PM
Lunch: Mon–Fri noon–3 PM

price range

$28 (arctic char) to $36 (NY strip steak)