Thursday, September 11, 2014

Knife and Tine

I became a fan of Moto even before I went there.  I liked the idea of whimsy and science in their creations and I have tried to follow and support chefs that have come from there.  Nate Park, who started with Moto before going to Moto's sister restaurant, Ing, before joining some other teammates for Baume and Brix and now, working with the Perennial Virant team, Knife and Tine which is is in the old Sprout space.  My first impression, when I arrived there, was that they really didn't do much with the design of the place.  In reality, there really wasn't a lot that they could have done with the space because there isn't a lot of space to work with.  The entrance is through a stone hallway with windows looking into the enclosed patio located in the front with the door opening into the main dining room and bar.  The bar is pretty long and runs the length of the dining room and has a glass top and light wood front with dark wood trim.  The seats for the bar are brown high cushioned chairs with tan cushions.  This is also the general color scheme of the dining room.  The walls are light brown and about the same color as the chair cushions.  The banquette was a darker brown and the tables were all dark brown.  There is table seating in the dining room for about 24.  The front patio seats about as many people.  It has gray stone walls, black tables, and hanging lights, with a skylight and windows that look out onto the street and into the entry hall.  Despite the stone walls, the patio has a more open feel than the dining room and that's what I felt like when I came, so I sat at a table by one of the windows looking out onto the street.  Knife and Tine has a pretty good wine list (although not the book that some restaurants have) and their cocktail list is a bunch of classics.  I decided to start things off with a classic favorite of mine, The Last Word, which contains Gin, Green Chartreuse, Fresh Lime and Maraschino.  It was herbal, floral, tart from the lime, and had just a touch of bitter sweetness from the maraschino.  It was also very good and allowed me to make my food decisions while it was being made.
I looked over the menu and after some thought and questions, I made my decisions.  The menu at Knife and Tine is elevated comfort food and there were several things of interest to decide between.  Before my appetizer arrived though, I was brought a Bread Plate that was served with Whipped Horchata Butter.  The bread was crisp and the butter was creamy and slightly sweet with the cinnamon finish that you would expect from horchata.  It was simple, as bread and butter is, but the horchata really added to it.
For my appetizer, I went with Pappadew Peppers that were stuffed with Bacon Goat Cheese and served in a narrow bowl with Golden Raisins and Almonds.  Pappadews are sweet and slightly spicy and the goat cheese and bacon was a great pairing.  There were eight peppers in the dish that were about a single bite each and were all a taste explosion.  They were sweet, savory, creamy, and fresh with a slightly spicy finish.  The nuts and raisins complemented the peppers.  The dish tasted very good and was fun to eat.
My entree was the Horseshoe.  This is obviously not the u shaped metal implement that is nailed to the bottom of a horse's foot.  This is an open face sandwich invented at the Leland Hotel in Springfield, Illinois.  It originally consisted of two thick slices of toast topped with ham or a hamburger, cheese sauce, and french fries.  This Horseshoe consisted of Brioche filled with White Cheddar, topped with Braised Short Rib, Kale and a Russet Potato Nest.  While the original Horseshoe sounds good, this version elevated the quality of ingredients and still kept it feeling like comfort food and tasting very good.
While the food up to this point was good, dessert was over the top.  Called a Superbrownie, it was exactly that.  Served in an offset bowl, it consisted of a Blondie Brownie,  Hot Fudge, Caramel, Candied Walnuts, Housemade Whipped Cream, and a Brownie Crumble.  It was sweet, rich, and flavorful, with a variety of flavors of and textures.  It was a very good finish to a nice dinner.  I enjoyed my dinner here.  It was friendly and a good neighborhood restaurant that elvated comfort food while still keeping it friendly.       

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