Where Seasonal Modern American Meets Italian

By Anne Raso

Step into Industry Kitchen and you will feel like you’re in an industrial space that has been giving a “warm” makeover that now resembles an art studio. Step outside and you will find the city’s most appealing clear, well-lit dining pods (yes, they are heated). There are stunning East River views and with its ideal location is a few blocks from the heart of the bustling South Street Seaport.

Having the Bianco Pizza at Industry Kitchen is a must, and you will be impressed by how fast it’s served and the super fresh farm to table arugula on top. The golden thin crust is as good as it gets and the hot, melty homemade ricotta is unforgettable. One Industry Kitchen pie is big enough to cover two people for lunch or dinner, but you don’t want to miss any of their entrée items including sliced New York Strip that is a large portion of over eight ounces and one of Lower Manhattan’s best meat bargains.

What might be the go-to dishes that the NYL staff tried and loved? The Pan Roasted Chicken Breast is topped with lemon-thyme natural chicken jus and goat cheese then sided with whipped polenta and wilted garlic spines. (This chicken dish is as juicy as it gets)! The Chopped Greek Salad is a bestseller, and it’s enough for five guests! It features romaine, cherry tomato, cucumber, pepper, Kalamata olive, pepperoncini, red onion, feta cheese, Greek vinaigrette and is topped with za’atar dusted lavash—it’s the perfect dish for those who want to be healthy but love vibrant flavors and filling foods as well.

In general, the Industry Kitchen entrees are all under $30 and most portions are sharable. By the way, there is a three course $60 prix-fixe menu until February 12th including Classic Meatballs, Avocado Toast, Winter Squash Pizza, Honeybee Pizza, Chocolate Mousse and more. It is said that an amazing four-course dinner is being set up for Valentine’s Day that includes their super popular Grilled Atlantic Salmon sided with roasted Brussels sprouts, beet purée, and orange-ginger sauce.

Executive Chef Jonathan Haffmans was born and raised in the Netherlands and honed his skills around the globe before coming to NYC. “Prior to pursuing a career as a chef in the U.S., I accrued over 25 years of culinary experience across the globe building my skills in Europe, Bermuda, Aruba, Washington, D.C. and more. Before Industry Kitchen, I was the head chef at Ocean House Restaurant in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and at my own restaurant Vers, which I opened in 2013. At Vers, I won best restaurant in the Cape Cod and Islands category by Boston Magazine in 2014.”

Not surprisingly, this affable chef has a pension for pizza and loves to create new and exciting takes on it—and the current menu includes one that is topped with smoked potatoes! He explains to NYL where he gets his pizza inspiration: “Besides food, my other passion is traveling. When I have time during the slower winter months, I travel and experience new culinary destinations where I learn about different flavors and techniques which become the source of my inspiration. My personal favorite is the Smoked Bacon Pizza as it reminds me of a loaded baked potato, which I love.”

The typical clientele for Industry Kitchen ranges from arty Brooklyn folks to mainstream celebs. He tells us, “Industry Kitchen is a melting pot of various folks across New York City; this is an aspect I’m incredibly proud of. We typically see patrons who work on Wall Street, city locals, and tourists. In proximity to the Financial District, Industry Kitchen provides an atmosphere by the East river that can be calming, allowing guests to relax during their busy day or after work. With floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for an indoor-outdoor feel and ample waterfront seating along the river, the space also provides an impressive backdrop for business lunch meetings and NYC tastemakers seeking a vibrant, Instagrammable moment. We have had many celebrities visit us including Lavern Cox, Taye Diggs, Matthew Lillard, to name a few. 

While the NYL staff tried everything from the Bianco Pizza to the New York Strip on their recent visit to Industry Kitchen, we just had to ask Chef Haffmans for his favorite dishes on the menu.

“The Ahi Tuna Nachos is one of our top-selling dishes, likely because it augments a classic comfort dish with a fun seafood flare. The plate comes with homemade wonton chips, a mix of napa cabbage, avocado, and wasabi aioli topped with sweet soy and jalapeno. Our flavorful Lobster Tacos are also a must-have, served in a shell made in-house and accompanied by mixed mango-apple salsa and fennel with chipotle aioli.”

He adds with a smile, “I am looking forward to when our 24K Gold Pizza is back on the menu this year. The sophistication of the flavors in the toppings--which include Stilton cheese, 24-karat gold leaves, Ossetra Caviar, truffles, and foie gras--excite me. The experience of this dish is so special that it must be ordered 48 hours in advance!”

All in all, Industry Kitchen is a real crowd pleaser, whether you are dining with out of towners for the first time, fussy foodie pals, or a loved one and you want an intimate night out with them. It’s also great if you want a quick bite for lunch or dinner as we can’t end this review without stating that all four dinner items that we ordered came out of the kitchen in six minutes or less!  

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