200 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 633-8033

Klee has been on my go-to list for over a year. I think I was drawn by the purple awning. What can I say, I like purple. New York has plenty of places that survive on hip trendiness, pricey exclusivity, or cheap mass-appeal. But these restaurants don't often provide a feeling of warmth when you go. I think I can count on my fingers alone the number of restaurants in the area that I've been to that give off a relaxing, chill aura without serving a been-there-done-that menu. Klee is one.

The staff at Klee was friendly right from the beginning, though by the end, they were clearly rushing to close. The simple decor, the choice of light woods, and the ample lighting (relatively bright for a restaurant) made us feel very welcome. Speeds started complimenting the atmosphere long before we even ordered our meal. Klee, though almost full, was pretty quiet and reserved. No loud music, no loud customers, no groups of friends photographing each other. The one downside to the whole experience was the price, which was higher than what I expected after reading other online reviews.

I started my meal with a bowl of Chilled Cucumber Soup. The soup itself was good but unexpectedly tangy. I'm used to more subtle cucumber soups. The addition of corn and the large pieces of lobster floating within was a smart move to temper the sourness. In addition to enjoying the warm bread served with warm thyme butter, Speeds ordered a Bowl of House Marinated Olives to nosh on while we waited for the main courses.

Speeds' entree was the Large Sea Scallops charred and dusted with Hungarian paprika, served with herbed spatzel pasta, red pepper and a burnt onion chutney. She thought it was excellent, but not excellent enough to warrant paying $30. I'm not a scallop person. I am, however, a pork person, and my dinner, the Pork Belly, was fantastic. Barbecued black hog, under a barbecue sauce of balsam cherries and served with candied endive. The pork belly layers of meat and fat was tender almost to the point of rendering the knife irrelevant. This entree was worth every penny.

For dessert, we ordered coffees and debated the menu. I ended up with the White Carrot Cake with coffee-cookie ice cream and a marshmallow-like goop. While the ice cream was very very good, the cake was disappointing. It was a little dry, forcing it to rely too heavily on the ice cream accompaniment, but also I think that maybe carrot cake is one of those desserts that isn't meant to be turned into something haute. Carrot cakes should be big and thick and moist and covered in a cream cheese frosting. Speeds ordered the Strawberry Shortcake with strawberry sorbet. This was delicious, especially if you like your desserts buried i a mountain of fresh strawberries.

Two appetizers, two entrees, one side, two desserts, a coffee and a cappuccino, no wine, plus tax and tip came to a bit over $130.

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