Cuts Like a Knife

Knife & Tine opens in Lincoln Park

The DePaul area of Lincoln Park is better known for its college student-friendly fast-casual joints than fine dining, but Knife & Tine, a quaint New American restaurant nestled in a narrow storefront, is looking to change all that.

By effectively balancing upscale—yet unpretentious—cuisine with an inviting, neighborhood-y atmosphere, it manages to up the neighborhood's ante.

The space is broken into three dining areas: an airy atrium with rustic brick flooring and tall windows, a cozy dining room with pin-tucked booths and bar seating and a semi-private dining room that would be great for a large group.

Tower of Tomato

Appetizer offerings span from a daily preparation of deviled eggs ($9) to cheese-centric dishes like pimiento burrata ($13) and a Tower of Tomato ($11), chef Nate Park's (iNG, Moto, Baume & Brix) interpretation of a caprese salad. To make it, he layers oven-dried tomato, kumato and fried green tomatoes with mozzarella, then douses it all with tomatillo salsa and pairs with bright vinaigrette-dressed greens.

You'll see some Southern touches in the entrées, as in the cornmeal-crusted walleye ($21) drizzled with caper berry tartar sauce and placed atop a bed of wild rice and creamed corn. Sadly, the fish itself falls a bit flat; the lightly fried pieces were a touch too thin, throwing off the crust-to-fish ratio which left us wishing there was more flaky walleye to slide our forks through.

But there was a dish that easily allowed us to overlook those minor flaws: The perfectly prepared 16-ounce bone-in rib eye (market price) impresses with both its wow-factor and its execution. The colossal slab of meat is topped with herby compound butter and a crown of cornmeal-fried onion strings and comes with creamed baby spinach and a twice-baked, fully loaded potato. It's comfort food at its best.

Assuming there's room for something following the total rib eye annihilation, order one of the rotating house-made pies ($10 to $13), such as the Elvis pie with banana, peanut butter and bacon or just-like-Mom-made-it pecan pie.