Knife + Fork

KnifeKnife + Fork is a new addition to the East Village.  Small, intimate and chef owned.  I like that.  Perhaps it is the big restaurant backlash but this seems to be the trend.  Little Giant and Little Owl to name 2 others. 
I have had such a great experience at Little Giant and Little Owl that perhaps my expectations were too high at Knife + Fork but I was truly disappointed. 

I really like the bar and the vibe.  Maybe 30 seats in all.  Dark and comforting.  Good for any season.  The menu is small.  5 appetizers and 5 main courses.  There is also a nightly tasting menu.  Historically, I have never enjoyed tasting menus anywhere except for Per Se and French Laundry because that is all they do. 

Our first round was sent out by the chef to start us off.  Tiny cups of a warm tomato consomme.  Clear, simple and not intense.  Our appetizers were varied so lots of tasting was abound.  There were four of us.  I had warm goat cheese served on top of a round one inch tall slice of polenta served over Parmesan cream and some poached asparagus.  There were also some small tomatoes in between the polenta and the goat cheese.  Nice presentation but the tastes were just not there.  The polenta was so bland and large that it took away from the delicate taste of the goat cheese.  Someone else had the tuna.  Seared raw tuna served over a small salad.  The tuna pieces were way too big for an appetizer.  They took over the plate.  Again, the taste wasn’t that special.  One person had the foie gras, grilled with mushrooms.  This was actually rich and tasty but unfortunately the foie gras was cold in the middle.  The last appetizers sounded interesting but tasted very strange.  Lemon sauce served over oysters with a reduced red beet sauce.  The sauce was minor just a few dots sprayed around the plate  The oysters were hidden underneath the lemon sauce.  It was supposed to be cold but strangely enough was served on a warm plate.  We were a bit confused on that one.

Our main courses varied too.  Two of us had scallops.  5 grilled scallops with a citrus taste and sauce served next to a mashed fennel mixture which was really bland.  Someone else had the pork which was smoky and dense and one of the better main courses of the four of us.  The lamb was the other entree.  Lamb wrapped in pink peppercorns served over polenta and goat cheese.  Very peppery and again not that interesting.

For dessert we split 2 desserts of the four that were available.  Definitely not a splitting kind of dessert.  Each of the desserts were served in a tiny shot glass.  Didn’t really hit my sweet spot.

I also have to note that the restaurant was pretty empty and the service was less than attentive.  I sort of felt like I was at a bar and the last thing they were going to think about was serving me food or asking for my order.  Strange.  I will say the wines were excellent and well priced.

Such a total drag.  My high hopes for another tiny gem in the Village will have to wait.  We had a great time but I won’t return.  I have been back to Little Giant a few times and am returning to Little Owl again next week.  If you are looking for a intimate place with good food where the chef actually makes your meal, check those out but pass on Knife + Fork.