Steak is a crazy business...
Steak is a crazy business…

Let’s talk about meat.


Why have a 240-day-white-mold-aged Niman Ranch steak on the menu that costs $100 per inch and tastes of “popcorn, truffle and blue cheese?”

“Because I’m John Tesar; I wanna be different.”

Yep. Sounds about right.

The first thing you see to your right when you walk into Knife is Chef Tesar’s specially-designed box for ageing steaks like that fella. Not every steakhouse has that type of ability, but not every chef has these kind of balls, either.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend $100 at Knife. Though if you do, Tesar suggests you share the experience of eating a steak like that. As a shared “slab” with breads, sauces and other accoutrements for “grazing.” I tend to agree. Because after all, what’s love without someone with which to share it?

But seriously, there’s also a much more realistically-priced $28 steak, and all cuts are Texas-raised, which is yet another quality even the most Texas-y of steakhouses can’t always guarantee. Tesar works with farms like 44 Farms and Heartbrand to get his meats the way he likes ’em.

photo 5
Chef Tesar and cocktail waitress attire

At a preview event for media last week, we saw a lot of the space that formerly held Central 214 in the process of becoming Knife. We heard a lot from Chef Tesar, who tends to wear his inner monologue on the outside, so there’s always something to glean from letting him bend your ear a bit. He was eager to show off everything about Knife, from the cocktail waitress dresses designed by Abi Ferrin, to the leather banquettes that will line the edge of the dining room. Oh, and he wanted us to taste that 240-day aged steak. It was worth the wait.

According to Tesar, Knife’s menu will be very “retro” in that crudités will be served at every table to start, there will be classic and familiar items like French onion soup – to help balance out the creativity in cuts and methods of preparation, no doubt. There will be a charcuterie program, as well as desserts created by master Pastry Chef and James Beard award semifinalist David Collier. Oh, and Michael Martensen behind the bar. Dream team, much?

Tesar encourages folks to “come in any price range for any reason,” and an extensive menu of food like sausages, brats, pizza, and raw items will be served until 1:00 a.m., for the late night experience (spinning DJ included). There will be a fire pit outside and a fireplace inside, both designed for experiences. The word “experience” came up a lot, actually. It seems a hotel is the perfect place for dining to be something more than just eating food.

Big picture thinking isn’t new for John Tesar, and he’s doing a bit of catapulting right now. Knife inside the Hotel Palomar isn’t his only project coming up. Two other restaurant-inside-hotel projects are happening for Tesar; one in North Carolina and one in Memphis. Which begs the question, will barbecue in any form will pay a visit?

Time will tell.

Knife opens May 15, 2014. Have yours at the ready.

Knife at Hotel Palomar  |  5300 E. Mockingbird Lane  |


Note: the media event I attended was free of charge, and the food and drinks pictured were offered as complimentary tastes to attendees.

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