Brad Kilgore, a favorite amongst local chefs, seemed right at home in the intimate and modern space. The food is as intricate as it was at his former place, J & G Grill, but the atmosphere is much more relaxed and communal. This chef's personalized tasting menus, which can alter nightly, are the way to go. Kilgore has a strong perspective and a culinary story to tell that you can taste with each bite.
The meal last night began with a beet a l 'orange ($11) and as Kilgore stated, "If you close your eyes, it may have all of the components of a beet salad you are familiar with" but their version using local ingredients and a different presentation will alter your preconceived palate. Purple carrots are in the mix to play with you and a honey comb-miso and local cheese will hit all the notes and then some.
A can't-miss dish is the bread & beurre ($10) that takes what you think about bread and butter and elevates it. The housemade bread is crusted with sumac, dill and poppy seeds for a burst of flavors and textures. The recipe for the umami butter is a secret that Kilgore wouldn't spill, but he encouraged guests to continue spreading it on.
Beyond the wine pairings, was the beautiful combo of the bread dipped into the soft egg ($13). This dish was another favorite with truffle pearls on the bottom and a crisp gruyere chip in the middle. The cheese crisp was reminiscent of a French onion soup.
The last plate off the starter menu was the blue crab ($15) with crispy taro that was almost Popchip-like, aji chili, culantro and lemongrass. Kilgore mentioned that he was inspired by a trip to Peru and wanted to use some of the ingredients like the Peruvian aji. The result was strong flavors and an exciting combination of textures.
The entree for the evening was grouper cheeks ($23), which were served over a forbidden black rice with shoyu hollandaise and sea lettuces and cucumber to lighten it up. It was a rich and decadent main course.
The fudge ($10) closed out the meal with Peruvian cacao (another takeaway from his trip), parsnip crisps, coconut sorbet, thyme sprig and a special beer foam from his neighbors at J. Wakefield Brewing to show that this chef keeps it local.
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A single piece of candied nori that was basically like a frosted flake from the sea closed our palates and got us excited for what else Kilgore will bring to this new restaurant and how the dining experience in Wynwood and Miami will be altered because of it.
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