First Bite: Knead Urban Diner

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The music was mostly new-wavey '80s oldies, but the locally sourced cooking was wholly of-the-moment last night at the not-quite-opened Knead.

Looks like they've pushed back the official opening until July 13, but I had the chance to dine there last evening, and I'm excited for its debut. I like this slow roll-out -- even if working out the kinks in "public" is a risky move -- and I appreciate their willingness and dedication to getting it right. Plus I love the relaxed diner look and the tongue-in-cheek and knee-in-the-groin (as per slapsticky graphic "Get Knead" t-shirts worn by the staff last night) sense of humor of this place, which has the great pedigree of La Tavola's former chef/owners.

And I sure enjoyed my Mex-Italian Beef "Osso Bucco" Tamale (front) -- served open faced in a jammy, red-wine tomato sauce spiked with ancho chile and topped with popping bright, citrusy gremolata; loved the complex crunch and unusual marriage of flavors of the Minted Cucumber & Beet Salad (left) -- with toasted walnuts, blue cheese, garbanzo beans and (undetected) candied onions in a sherry vinaigrette; and delicately soft, homemade Ricotta Gnocchi (front right) -- in an "Ohio-enese" (i.e. not Bolognese) sauce made with fresh-ground Ohio pork and beef, tomatoes and crushed chiles

Not pictured because of darkness is the smoky (house-smoked bacon) and explosively vibrant (racy tomato sauce, roasted jalapenos) "That's the Old Peppa" pizza,

Another giant plus is Knead's huge beer list which focuses on suds brewed in Ohio and its neighboring states.