I didn’t take any pictures. I don’t have a copy of the menu, although it changes daily so would only be illustrative anyway. I can’t remember the name of our charming and knowledgeable server. I do know that I’ve been to Knife & Fork twice in the past couple of months, once for dinner and once for brunch, and that most every morsel that I’ve put into my mouth has been divine.
The Spruce Pine, NC restaurant is owned by Nate Allen, the chef, and his wife Wendy. I first heard of it a couple of years ago at the Asheville Food & Wine Festival where the finals of the WNC Chef Challenge, which Nate won, were being held. A month or so later, I read about the chef and his restaurant in Cooking Light magazine when he was given their Small-town Chef Award for 2011. I’d been wanting to visit the restaurant and try his very inventive, farm-to-table food since.
Chef Nate clearly shares my fascination with charcuterie. At Sunday’s brunch, I couldn’t help but order his confit chicken neck with asparagus, poached egg and grainy mustard. Everything about the dish was done well — the confit was meltingly tender and finished so that there were plenty of crispy bits. The split stalks of asparagus were cooked perfectly, bright green and tender, sauced with the yolk of the poached egg. With a slice of grilled bread and some grainy mustard, I was one happy diner.
On both visits, I’ve ordered the excellent house made charcuterie which comes with three varieties, a little salad and some grilled bread with spicy honey mustard. I can’t decide which was my favorite — the grilled rabbit liver or the pork terrine. Both the pork rillettes and the rabbit rillettes were also heavenly.
The restaurant’s wine list has a carefully chosen selection of reasonably-priced bottles as well as a nice selection of wines by the glass. You can’t order alcohol before noon on Sunday in Spruce Pine, but the charcuterie platter arrived just in time for a glass of a nice red blend of Paso Robles varietals, Troublemaker Blend 6.
I am looking forward to visiting this place often. Hopefully my next trip — during which I’ll order a number of new dishes, take lots of pictures and try another glass of wine or two so that I can write my official review — will be soon!