Gregarious chef and restless restaurateur David Burke is a big fun guy with a lot on his plate. Besides overseeing his local restaurants Townhouse, David Burke at Bloomingdales, and Fishtail, the famously whimsical chef (think Cheesecake Lollipop Tree) also operates eateries in Chicago, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Recently he opened up the Stadium Grill inside the massive Bowlmor Times Square. (Nachos in a can, anyone?) He doesn't have Hawaiian Tropic Zone to worry about any more, but now he's added the David Burke Kitchen to his portfolio. Step inside!

Located inside the stylin' James New York hotel in Soho, the restaurant was designed by award-winning designer Thomas Schlesser (DBGB, Bar Boulud). At the entrance, you're confronted with two choices: a staircase leads up to the glass-enclosed Treehouse Bar, where you can unwind in a banquette or at the bar, knocking back handcrafted cocktails with an array of pizzas, flatbreads, spreads and pâtés as well as homemade sweet and savory "pop tarts," courtesy of a "toast bar." No cooties allowed.

Or drop the kids off in the Treehouse Bar and retire to the 130-seat, subterranean space, which is split between a bar and dining room. Schlesser's style here is sleek yet rustic: denim banquettes, a barn roof, a blackened steel bar top under a skylight. The wine cave is enclosed in glass, the kitchen is open, and the carving station is in full view in the center of the dining room, where your meat and your whole-roasted fishes and your pressed prawns ($32) are plated. Current items on the fluctuating menu include Pretzel Crab Cake with tomato orange, green peppercorn, and white beer ($16); Hanger Steak & Oxtail with smoked barley and creamy spinach ($34); Ants on a Log with bone marrow, snails, parsley, and garlic ($16); and a Wild Mushroom Mac 'N' Cheese with duck ham, bacon, and egg ($22).

David Burke Kitchen is located at The James New York (23 Grand Street), (212) 201-9119. They're serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily until 1 a.m., and the Treehouse Bar is also open withe a late night menu until 1 a.m. Here's the current dinner menu for your perusal:

02.03.11 DBK Dinner Menu