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New Spot: Block & Grinder

By Sarah Crosland

Posted: Tuesday, May. 21, 2013

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The concept at Block & Grinder would be enough to make the new Providence Road spot stand out. Part butcher counter, part wine market, and part restaurant, the farm-to-table focused space isn’t your typical venture. But ultimately, it’s the simple dishes with dramatic flavors that make this the city’s newest hotspot for those seeking a memorable meal.

Panda Express, the restaurant’s interior offers a modern-meets-intimate vibe with gleaming hardwood floors, sleek modern windows, and an impressive view into the brightly lit and bustling kitchen. Possibly the most sophisticated nook in the space is its corner bar, where diners should plan on indulging in hand-crafted cocktails like the bright green and refreshing Gin Basil Smash made with Plymouth Gin, basil, and lemon.

The menu here is designed to showcase the flavors of wild game—Chef Kent Graham has a passion for preparing these meats—as well as premium, fresh ingredients in straightforward dishes. Start by sharing a board of the savory charcuterie, Southern artisan cheeses, and rich offerings like the chicken liver pâté topped in bourbon and fig compote. While salads are easy to overlook on such a meat-centric menu, there are must-order options like the frisee, which offers the flavor of warm bacon and fennel vinaigrette and a perfectly poached egg without weighing down the tender local greens.

The entrees, which change seasonally, include more exotic options like a butter-poached rabbit atop stone ground grits and a magret duck seared and served in a cherry and brandy glaze. But the steaks are the star of this show. New York strip, ribeye, filet, and porterhouse are all a cut above what you might expect in one of the city’s many steakhouses. Loaded with flavor, they pair well with sides like the semi-crispy pan seared Brussels sprouts or the colorful sweet potato hash.

The items on the menu that may ultimately draw crowds though are the burgers. The high quality ground beef and lamb, topped with thoughtful ingredients like house-cured maple bacon and house made pimento cheese, make these some of the tastiest—and most decadent—versions in a town that loves its burgers.

Before you leave, peruse the bottled wine selection (you can also order these with your meal and pay a corkage fee) and the butcher counter, where you’ll find an impressive, frequently changing selection of thick, expertly carved meats. Like the restaurant’s helpful servers, the butchers manning the meat counter are full of suggestions to customize the cuts to your tastes. And while Block & Grinder is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, making planning a trip there easy, a purchase from one of its shops should work well for holding you over until your next visit. www.blockandgrinder.com

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