I tried Knife + Fork with three fellow 'hounds last night and was very disappointed. (you can read my dining companion's review here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... ) I am close to cementing into law what has previously been only an informal theorem: any new restaurant broken by Daily Candy is destined for mediocrity.
Onto the chow:
The chef's tasting menu is composed completely of items from the regular menu, so with four people and a reasonably-sized set of options we decided that it made more sense to choose our dishes ourselves.
First came an amuse of cucumber soup (foam) that was refreshing and complex due to the addition of "day long" tomato.
We started with the warm goat cheese -- sadly this was the most successful dish of the evening. There is no magical technique or winning flavor combination at the root of this appetizer, just creamy goat cheese that has been mellowed in flavor and and softened through heat. We also tried the cured salmon, which was not noticeably cured and was accompanied by a wasabi that lacked any of wasabi's usual kick. While it was not unpleasant, this dish was more akin to unadorned salmon sashimi than anything, and it set a precedent for blandness that recurred throughout our meal. Our third appetizer, the seared scallops, was neither flawed nor memorable and we rounded out our appetizers with the quail, which was distractingly overwhelmed with lemon.
Our main dishes were variations on the themes of blandness and odd seasoning choices: Seared Chilean sea bass was the best of the lot, improved by the ubiquitous truffle oil. The slow-cooked pork belly remained curiously flavorless despite the presence of garlic. The crispy salmon had been incinerated beyond flavor and was joined on the plate by tasteless potato of unknown preparation. The loin of lamb wrapped in pink peppercorns was tasty and well prepared, but came in a portion that was truly tiny.
We skipped dessert in favor of an unimaginative cheese plate.
I very much wanted to like Knife + Fork -- the menu sounded delicious, it is close to where I live in a cozy East Village space, the platings are very attractive and the chef is much lauded. Unfortunately the issues seemed to extend well beyond the challenges posed by the restaurant's newness and I will not be back.