Dine Like It’s 1929
Kitchen 919 presents innovative creations in a Speakeasy atmosphere.
Executive Chef Carol Scott is happy to explain the name Kitchen 919: “Whenever you have family or friends in your home, the gathering place is always the kitchen. The Kitchen brings people together. The zip code is 37919, hence the 919.”
In the space that once housed the Orangery, ornate French rococo has given way to Roaring 20s Art Deco. You can imagine Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley trading witty barbs and sipping custom cocktails in the Temperance Bar, with its hammered-tin ceiling and photos from the era. Al Capone could hide away in the 919 Speakeasy, complete with a red light to warn of newcomers, or in this case, to summon a bartender.
Jay Gatsby might beckon guests up the familiar staircase to the reimagined ballroom with custom Italian seating, reclaimed wood flooring, original mirrors, and crystal sconces. Space previously used for storage has been turned into a suite of rooms for private dining and weddings—the Bride’s Room, Groom’s Room, and a gathering place with private bar and cigar porch.
In the dining area, Vogue-esque illustrations of flappers set off black-and-gold patterned wallpaper to the beat of jumping and jiving Jazz Age music. F. Scott and Zelda might nestle on padded banquettes that line the walls, as in the old Stork Club.
Our waiter, Stephanie, knowledgeably described each appetizer, entrée, side, and dessert, and orchestrated when they arrived.
Timing and spacing of each course is part of Chef Carol’s precise practice of Timeless Cuisine, developed especially for Kitchen 919. She honed her skills at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, and in cheffing stops at Edison Park Steakhouse, the Orangery, Bravo!, Roy’s in Vegas, and BlueSlip Winery. “We draw on Italian, Asian, French, and classic dishes and bring them into 2018,” she says.
Your meal should start with the outstanding Charcuterie Board ($21) featuring Benton’s county ham, Sweet Italian Capicola, Spanish Chorizo, house-made duck sausage, three different pickled vegetables, the chef’s favorite pickled mustard seeds, red eye gravy aioli, toasted walnuts, and warm Dutch crusty rolls.
The small plates offer a variety of innovative taste surprises. The Roasted Quail in the Root Vegetable Garden ($12) mixes carrot puree, candied celery root, butter-braised parsnips, turmeric-roasted cauliflower, sautéed beet greens, carrot dirt, and pickled mustard seeds. Beets and Cream ($11) features salt-roasted golden beets, beet fluid gel, Cruze Farm buttermilk and goat cheese mousse, set off with an innovative red beet sponge cake. It is paired with arugula and the house champagne vinaigrette. Don’t miss the to-die-for Caramelized Brussels Sprouts ($11) with Benton’s bacon, oven-roasted apples, lemon yogurt, and hazelnut brittle.
The 919 Temperance bar menu features Pork Belly Cotton Candy ($10) which is house-made bourbon-bacon cotton candy wrapped around pork belly. (You had us at pork belly, bourbon, and bacon.) A refreshing twist on the standard gastropub deviled egg is the Green Eggs and Ham ($10) tops wasabi tobiko, avocado hollandaise, and Benton’s bacon with a deviled duck egg.
The Roasted Sweet Potato Bisque ($8) sets the sweet potato off to advantage with “oven-roasted” apples, ginger, garlic, and coconut milk.
A 14-oz. Cowgirl Ribeye Oscar ($46) arrives with buttery king crab legs, (not the more typical canned crabment), asparagus puree, béarnaise sauce, and a truffled Yukon potato mash. Giant Tortelloni with a caramelized Butternut Squash filling ($19) is presented with delicate sautéed spinach, and a brown butter sage and maple pecan sauce. Misoyaki Glazed Butterfish ($31), also known as sable fish or black cod, is marinated in misoyaki and finished with the chef’s favorite sizzling soy vinaigrette, served with steamed rice and butter-braised baby bok choy.
A tempting dessert menu includes, at $7 each, Pumpkin Beer Shortcake, Apple Pie Cheesecake, Limoncello Tart, Caramel Crème Brulee, and Chocolate Mousse Bomb, of hazelnut pound cake, white chocolate banache, scrumptious amarena cherries with a dark chocolate mirror glaze finished with a hazelnut chocolate bark. Classic cuisine with just enough whimsy—look for Chef Carol’s signature Picasso swirl.
In the realm of fine dining, Kitchen 919 is pricey, but a good value for the care, preparation, and top-line products that go into each innovative dish.