If you can get past that irritating name, a rather beguiling restaurant awaits on the ground floor of the fabulous Out NYC, a straight-friendly gay hotel that opened in March, just west of Times Square. KTCHN, we're told, is a nod to contemporary text messaging linguistics, where words are often degraded into inscrutable acronyms or harried vowel-free neologisms, like "lol wtf the rstrnt's called ktchn?!" But hey, what's in a name (pronounced "kitchen," obvs)—the food's vry tsty.

The menu, which the hotel aptly describes as "refined comfort food," is the creation of Executive Chef Dale Schnell, who was previously running the kitchen at the Setai Fifth Avenue. It's served in two distinct areas—a bright and mod cafe that looks onto 42nd Street through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and a more formal but still relaxed dining room behind the bar. Last night we were invited on a press tour of the hotel, which is wonderfully designed—like the Standard Miami, it's refurbished from an old motor lodge, and features several interior, open-air courtyards for guests to mingle. Some of the rooms have their own private courtyards, and you can also book a communal room with a group of friends (or strangers!) for $99 per person, per night.

After the tour, Schnell sent out a variety of selections from the appetizer menu. Highlights, of which there were many, included the highly addictive Sexy Fries, made with Salt & Vinegar, Smoked Paprika, and Garlic ($6); the Spicy Tempura Green Beans ($6); and the incredible West Coast Oysters, each one prepared with a Warm Leek Fondue, Basil Caviar, and Champagne Sauce ($14). We also highly recommend the fresh Baby Arugula Salad, with Pickled Watermelon, Feta, Watermelon Radish, and 20 year Sherry Vinegar ($11). An entree of Garganelli Pasta, made with Grilled Fennel, Braised Artichokes, Fava Beans, Niçoise Olives, Pecorino Romano ($18) was also perfectly seasoned and bountiful.

It's difficult to gauge the quality of a restaurant's food when the chef knows he's cooking for the media, but everything we tried last night was impeccably fresh and well-balanced, and the dining room is very comfortable, with superb acoustics that accommodate actual conversation. At one point a cheer and applause erupted from a huddle of employees by the entrance—the Health Department inspector had arrived almost simultaneously with the press, and given them an A. It's still too soon to hand out grades on Schnell's dinner menu, but he gets high marks from us so far.

508 West 42nd Street, (212) 868-2999 // Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

KTCHN Restaurant Dinner Menu