Thursday, December 15, 2016

WP Kitchen + Bar

WP Kitchen + Bar in Greensboro has done quite an exceptional job re-branding this past year. I had dined here a few times since it opened in 2012, but it was never on my frequent-visit list. After a recent meal where I was able to sample several offerings on their menu, I rank this restaurant among the best in the Triad. The service and management is professional, the menu is adventurous yet the flavors and price points are accessible, and the restaurant sources local ingredients like Goat Lady Dairy cheese and Giacomo's Italian Market salami. I was thrilled to meet Wolf's brother Klaus, who makes regular visits to all of the Puck-owned restaurants. It's clear that this team cares deeply about their brand and their customers. They want to feed people delicious food, and they execute that very well. I encourage you to read on, but only if you don't have lunch or dinner plans and can make reservations at WP Kitchen + Bar today, because after these descriptions, you're going to want to run there.
With my buddies "The Man Who Ate The Town," Tim Beeman and triadfoodies' Kristi Maier!
Pull up a seat at the bar, where craft cocktails are the specialty (unless you prefer the Wolfgang Puck Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, of course!) A Pomegranate Bellini is a festive take on the traditional champagne drink, while the Eggnog Martini is really too easy to drink. It's less heavy than the holiday favorite, with just the right amount of sweetness and booze. The Cherry Sour is also a highlight, with brandy cherries, Amaretto, Campari and Bourbon. You can't go wrong with any of these.
Eggnog Martinis coming right up!

Cheersing with Chef Nikki Miller-Ka aka NikSnacks!

Appetizers are quite tasty and easy to fill up on, my favorite being the house-cut Truffled Potato Chips with blue cheese fondue, blue cheese crumbles, chives and truffle oil. Just stop. I can't imagine a more delectable flavor combination, and each chip has the perfect amount of truffle oil and cheese. It's a huge pet peeve when truffle flavor is promised and it doesn't deliver. These definitely deliver, and then some. Sorry Hams, but these are the best chips in Greensboro.

Calamari fans will delight over the thin, crisp batter and tender squid, but the kicker here is the tangy pepperoncini scattered over the dish. The acidity is a nice addition, as are the housemade spicy marinara and pesto aioli. Squash Soup is a beautiful light orange hue, thanks to the kabocha pumpkin and acorn squash. It's a bit sweet, but the texture is nice and velvety, and the cardamom cream gives it an intriguing spice.
Clockwise: Fennel Sausage Bolognese, Flat Iron Steak with garlic herb butter, Truffled Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Fondue, Kale Salad
Puck knows how to make a pie. You know they mean business when they let their dough proof for 5-7 days. The pizza oven is gorgeous and heats to 750 degrees. There is beauty in simplicity in the Margherita Pizza. San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozz and basil - this is a classic combination for a reason. I loved the Giacomo's Pepperoni Pizza, a much spicier and more flavorful take on your standard pepperoni pie. They use oven-dried tomatoes, too! The Goat Cheese Pizza uses Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese (the best!) with fresh pesto, roasted tomatoes and basil. Their crust has a great chew, and I appreciate the tang of the tomato sauce. While the pizza is indeed special, I think they were wise to re-brand as "WP Kitchen + Bar" to emphasize all the other fabulous offerings on their menu, too.
Executive Chef Matt Culpepper giving a pizza tutorial!
If you don't think kale salads can be sexy, you haven't had WP's version, with gorgeous green goddess dressing. It's luscious, light and packed full of fresh flavors like basil, parsley and lemon. Kale is tossed with a citrus vinaigrette and sprinkled with fried quinoa for a nice crunch. This would make a great meal alongside the Fennel Sausage Bolognese. I was worried about the fennel flavor overpowering the dish, but it wasn't offensive at all. Housemade herbed ricotta is dolloped on top, and while the pasta was a bit too al dente for my taste, the flavor of the sauce was outstanding, as if it had been cooking all day long.

Are you salivating yet? Ready to move onto entrees? NC Mountain Trout is grilled and topped with lemon butter, making it extra decadent. The fish is perfect. It's flaky, substantial, and served alongside fabulous roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts. I'm not a Salmon fan, but I actually really enjoyed the pan-seared salmon, because it wasn't overwhelmingly fishy, and it was topped with a tangy olive tapenade. A fresh, citrusy, shaved fennel salad is paired with it.
Klaus Puck serving 1808's Tina Firesheets
Cooking a good chicken is a testament to an excellent chef. While we all know that Puck is one of the greats, his Springer Mountain Farms Chicken is moist, bursting with flavor and drizzled with an umami-forward bourbon chicken jus. If you think chicken is boring and done too often, come try this. It will change your mind. It's served with crispy potatoes that are boiled, smashed, fried and finally tossed with garlic and red pepper flakes. They are killer!! The grilled Flat Iron Steak is cooked medium rare, has a nice salty crust and made even more luxurious with a pat of garlic herb butter to top it all off. Housemade steak sauce gives any bottled variety a run for its money (and would sell quite well if they bottled it!) Frites are thin and crispy, with strong garlic flavor - quite addictive.

Other noteworthy sides include the Truffled Mac & Cheese - the truffle flavor is in the breadcrumbs! - and Roasted Cauliflower, tossed with brown butter and pepperoncini. An order of each would provide a solid and satisfying meal, and were two of my favorites from the evening.
Truffled Mac & Cheese

Be sure and save room for dessert. Coffee fans will love the Espresso Semifreddo (semi-frozen, like ice cream) with a chocolate "straw" tuile, while Cinnamon Sugar Donuts are any-age friendly. The star dessert is the Salted Caramel Pudding with creme fraiche whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles. It's like they took a batch of salted caramel and added a rich custard to it - the flavors are absolutely perfect and I would eat a gallon of this. You can even order warm Chocolate Chip Cookies, studded with still-melty chocolate chips!
Cinnamon Sugar Donut, Espresso Semifreddo and Salted Caramel Pudding
Are you calling WP Kitchen + Bar for reservations right now? They have themed dinners each month, too, that are hosted on their heated patio. I am so excited to return and enjoy my favorites (it will be incredibly hard to pick just a few!) If you haven't been in a while, take it from me - this spot is absolutely fantastic. Head over when you need a break from shopping at Friendly! You will not leave disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Was glad to sit with you during this event! Much fun and deliciousness!
    "The Man Who Ate the Town"

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