Knife & Tine recently opened in the former Sprout space in Lincoln Park. The kitchen, helmed by Chef Nate Park, formerly of iNG, Moto, and Baume & Brix, focuses on contemporary American cuisine, and does it well. The dining room has the same look and feel of Sprout, complete with the open and airy front enclosed patio room, and even some of the same furniture. One thing that was missing, however, was the crowds. Though, given how thoroughly we enjoyed our meal, it hopefully will not be long before Knife & Tine starts to pack ’em in.
We started with a bottle of wine selected from a carefully crafted and reasonably priced wine list. After perusing the menu, we ordered a few starters, including some delicious shishito peppers, served with crushed pepitas and a delicious gorgonzola maple fondue. These tasty peppers were great on their own, but the maple fondue made them even better.
We also ordered the special deviled eggs of the evening, which were a coffee, cinnamon and brown sugar flavor. I am not a coffee drinker, so I was not thrilled with the thought of my eggs tasting and smelling like a coffee bean, but this inventive creation actually worked and offered more of a sweet and cinnamon taste than a coffee one. These eggs were pretty much a conglomeration of breakfast in a bite, with the combination of savory coffee and eggs and the sweet brown sugar and cinnamon. I appreciated the creativity behind this dish.
I also tried the refreshing and bright bitter greens salad, featuring beets, grapefruit, goat cheese, and watermelon radish. This beautifully presented and seasonal dish was quite tasty and a perfect palette cleanser between the appetizers and my entree. Other winning starters included the charred red pepper bisque, served with a grilled cheese made on Wonder bread, as well as the ranch potstickers, which were filled with colcannon – a mixture of mashed potatoes and cauliflower, along with baby vegetables, and a buttermilk dressing.
For my entree, I enjoyed the escloar – butterfish served atop black rice and beans, with citrus, cilantro and coconut. The fish was nicely cooked, but could have used a little bit more flavor. I did appreciate, however, that the dish was not heavily salted as many fish dishes are.
One of the most popular dishes at Knife & Tine thus far is the Cup-O-Ramen – black cod with crispy ramen noodles and vegetables in a tasty broth. Other standouts included the horseshoe – braised short ribs served with a russet nest, white cheddar, and brioche, as well as the crispy duck thigh, served with Japanese yams, biscuit, baby kale, and a carrot hot sauce. According to my husband, both of these dishes were “awesome.”
Desserts, too, were delicious. My favorite was the super brownie – a blondie brownie with super fudge brownie sauce and a brownie cream, along with candied walnuts. Served in a super cool spaceship-looking dish, this brownie was, in fact, super on all levels.
Finally, we also enjoyed one of Knife & Tine’s homemade pies. On the night we visited, there were no less than five different options. To offset the richness of the brownie, we settled on the yuzu pie in a graham cracker crust. Reminiscent of a key lime pie, it was tart, refreshing, and delicious.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Knife & Tine. While the menu is still being developed both for dinner and for brunch, we noticed no kinks that needed to be worked out. Our server was friendly and attentive and knowledgeable about the menu, and the ambiance was relaxed and comfortable. I do hope that people take notice of the quality of the food that Knife & Tine is producing. I know that I will be back, and I hope to see you there, too.
1417 W Fullerton Avenue, Chicago