Lil’ Charlie’s is the new
small intimate nightclub set in the former XIX space. Brought to us by Artan Gjoni, Lil’ Charlie’s looks to be an exclusive and posh Little Italy nightspot. Despite the club just being opened, it looks like the operators have already found themselves in a bit of money troubles. According to Ruben Rivera (the former operator of XIX), Lil Charlie’s already owes him $17,000. Since Ruben has a large following and a lot of support within the nightlife community, let’s see how this lil’ debt will affect this new subterranean nightclub. [Photo via]
Now in the former Travertine/XIX space lies a new restaurant/club duo. The restaurant would be Ken & Cook and the club would be the soon to open Lil Charlie’s. Richard Diamonte of Jean George‘s Mercer Kitchen will be the head chef at this newly opened American restaurant. Though the block of Kenmare and Elizabeth may lack the amount of foot traffic that most clubs get (such as those in the Meatpacking), Ken & Cook is on a particularly pretty street in Nolita. The restaurant itself reminded me of a more dimly lit Pastis. The brick walls and simple wooden furniture give Ken & Cook a casual yet upscale vibe but the small size of the restaurant gives it an exclusive feel. Actually the restaurant would be in a great location, and has the right decor, for a Saturday brunch party. My only complaint with the design would be that the tables closest to the open windows are perhaps too close outside. Pan Handlers actually were able to come up to us during dinner and ask for money, but this could be solved by pulling the two closest tables back a few inches.
The menu contains your typical dishes that you would find at a restaurant that’s upstairs from a nightclub such as Wagyu burgers, steaks and a raw bar. To start I had the Mussels and then I ordered the Black Bass with Clams, Broccoli Rabe in a light Tomato Sauce. While the Mussels were something that one could virtually find in any restaurant in New York, the Black Bass was actually a pretty solid dish. The Bass was very moist, and the clams were a great and unusual addition to the dish. The sauce was slight and I really enjoyed the crispy skin of the bass against the delicacy of the fish itself. For dessert, while the Apple Tart tasted good we wish it would have been warmer when we received it.
Overall Ken & Cook is a solid option if you’re in the area and want decent food. The menu is pretty simple and doesn’t really contain much you can find elsewhere and it is a bit pricey for what it is but the ambiance is nice as is the service. I’d recommend Ken & Cook as a place to stop in for a glass of wine and to split an entree with a friend. I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to come here but if you’re in the area it’s not a bad choice.
So after dinner at Ken & Cook, which is housed in the former Travertine/XIX space, we were actually able to get a sneak peak at the new club Lil’ Charlies. The space downstairs is a bit more sleek than what XIX used to be but the best design feature is the chained ceiling. The space is still small, its capacity is only around 75 people, and the lounge will have a small cocktail menu and focus more on bottle service. After speaking to a rep over at Lil Charlie’s, they are planning to open in September, around Fashion Week, and if you’re wondering about the door policy don’t expect to be able to walk right in. The staff member we spoke to told us:
“We know the kind of people who we want to let inside”
In all honesty the space actually does look great and it has a different vibe than the former club XIX. Be sure to check back in for updates!