2005_07_food_ear.jpgWe don't live in the bucolic New England countryside or the remote edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. No. We live in New York City - the home of never-ending construction rattling, cell phone ringing, sirens blaring, subway announcements blasting, profanity shouting and gossip buzzing.

No wonder it's "the city that doesn't sleep." We can't get any peace and quiet!

That's why Gothamist savors those rare times that it can find a truly quiet gourmet getaway in the heart of our clamoring town. But, easier said then done. To our dismay, hushed tones and low noise levels don't seem to be standard at a good portion of the city's restaurants. This is particularly disappointing when the food and service are up to par.

Such was the case when Gothamist paid call on the recently opened Kitchen & Cocktails on the Lower East Side. The menu was fun and affordable. Our waitress was amiable. The cocktails came with whimsical plastic animal toys. And yet, it is hard to imagine a return trip. Our entire party was hoarse after an hour and a half meal endured in their thunderously loud dining room - a room where yelling wasn't just de rigueur, but de facto.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?