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ohn Tesar’s luxe new restaurant, Knife, has enough decorative shimmer to operate as performance art. It’s romantically glamorous and operates deftly with cutting-edge beauty as well as a nod to a bygone ambiance of upscale dining. Thus, it’s a blend of exacting, clean lines and floor-to-ceiling curtains the color of dark steel—not to mention an outré window display of beautifully lit stacks of meat that (unbelievably) are more reminiscent of artwork than a space built for cold storage. If restaurants were conferred musical analogues, Knife would be a combination of Kraftwerk and a Bach cello concerto. It’s stunning. And it also is a credit to Tesar’s wisdom that he gave his designers at BreckinridgeTaylor what they term “pretty much free rein” during the mere seven-day period they were given to create concept drawings. This proves that all parties involved are not just talented; they’re brilliant.

Located in the Palomar Hotel at the intersection of Mockingbird and Central, Tesar’s latest bit of genius is plugged into color and texture that is devised to make your senses fire on all cylinders. For example, a dark-and-blond wood design just inside the front door operates splendidly as a path into what can only be described as gastronomic nirvana. Breck, of BreckinridgeTaylor, notes, “The motif on the floor is one my favorite aspects of the design project— along with the curve of the table legs that matches the curve of the podium.” The floor design is a brilliantly redefined version of a chevron pattern punctuated by a jet-black runway carpet that leads to the hostesses’ podium—and that, too, is an exercise in brilliantly chosen veneers and seductive shapes. It’s positioned such that it becomes one of twin lodestars around which the rest of the restaurant circulates.

The other one, of course, is the kitchen, the space from whence sheer magic emerges in the form of a selection of charcuterie, crispy pig’s head, and Niman Ranch rib eyes that have been aged for nearly a year. The latter is sold by the inch and can be coupled with roasted okra, tomato and bacon or French onion soup that will make you feel as if you’ve gotten your Rive Gauche fix for the summer. Again, the designer effusively calls attention to the tile in the kitchen area. Breck notes, “I love the green. It really worked well with the overall look of the restaurant.” He’s right. It flickers with the light from the cooking area and shimmers with a lovely shade of dark celadon that is a cool antidote to the orange flare of the stoves.

However, be forewarned. Knife has a fluctuating menu that morphs with the season and Tesar’s ambitious wizardry. But fear not. It’s all good—actually, it’s all fastidiously, palate-drenchingly luscious. And, with the addition of Michael Martensen’s widely celebrated cocktails, the pre- and post-culinary delights will make your evening especially spectacular. In fact, his skills at concocting uniquely perfect “retro” beverages are nothing less than alchemical magic.

Outside, to the right of the front entrance and opposite the bar, there is a patio featuring a large stone fireplace. It’s a breezy space with comfy chairs and, of course, is far less formal than the restaurant proper; however, it still smacks of vacation-spa-chic overtones. It’s perfect for enjoying a Bloody Mary or, of course, dining al fresco—at least before the summer heat climbs past the 100-degree mark. Thus, Knife is far more posh than your local boíte, and the atmosphere is ferociously New York-ish. Not to mention: The service operates with military precision.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can invite friends or business associates to join you in Knife’s “space within a space” where you’ll be seated just beyond a heavy line of exquisite drapery and a broad, circular table punctuated with floral arrangements.

Moreover, thanks to BreckinridgeTaylor, there’s not an old fashioned pelmet in sight. How marvelous is that?-P

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