4118 Kitchen + Bar

4118 Kitchen and Bar fills a particular niche in the Highlands restaurant landscape. It’s carefully calibrated to foster conversation, from hushed intimacies to lively friend-to-friend-to-
friend debates. 

It fills the same space that in the UK would be occupied by the corner pub, a gathering spot where you and your love or you and your friends can unwind the day or rev up the night. 

What elevates 4118 far above its across-the-pond cousins is the inclusion of a terrific menu and complete bar overseen by a very clever bartender.

Tricia and a friend and I arrived mid-evening and were presented with a dazzling menu that allowed Chef Nic D’Angelo to demonstrate his almost-gymnastic abilities in the kitchen.

Think that’s hyperbole?  

Consider these choices on an ordinary night in an unremarkable month – Calamari and Shrimp; Chicken Fried Sweetbreads served with Bourbon Barrel Honey Mustard; Char-Grilled Spanish Octopus with Smoked Paprika Aioli, Fingerling Potatoes and Melted Leeks; Maine Lobster and Chips with Fried Caper Remoulade; and an incarnation of Bangers and Mash – Foie Gras Bratwurst, Smashed Parsnip, and Champagne Dijon Sauce – that’s an ocean removed from its humble pub cousin.

And that’s just the Small Plate Menu.

But maybe you’ve come for the conversation, and food is a secondary concern. 

Well, that’s what the Snack Menu is for. Consider the Hummus and Bread. Pretty basic, right?  But 4118 serves up Red Pepper Hummus with a Chickpea Fritter, an impossible-to-ignore Shirazi Salad, and Grilled Pita dusted with Za’atar Spice. The perfect complement to a passionate conversation – you’re talking at the same time you’re working in bites.

We also went with the Pretzel Basket – the Pretzels are baked to order and served with Bleu Fondue and House Bourbon Stout Mustard. This is also conducive to conversation, although the talk is almost certain to boomerang back to the pretzels. We shared the Fried Pickles, which came with an exquisite Tahini Yogurt Ranch; and a basket of Hand-Cut Fries, which came with a particularly tasty Stilton-Bleu Fondue and an irresistible Smoky House Ketchup.

But here’s the thing to understand about these reviews, the thing that makes me accept these assignments month after month, regardless of whatever professional crisis I’m working through, the reason I will keep doing my boss Marjorie’s laundry well into the latter half of the
21st century. 

Marjorie urges us to order everything we can stuff into our gullets and cram into a Doggie Bag. Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Main Dishes, and Desserts (always the glorious Desserts). She says that this gives Laurel’s readers a chance to explore a menu before they even make a reservation. That’s right, we’re eating at these amazing restaurants for you!

So, after we’d cluttered our table with Snacks and Small Plates, we loosened our belts and had our server Richard deliver a Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, which was just as surprising and satisfying as you’d expect; a Duckin Steak Burger – a slow roasted confit of Duck blended with Angus Beef, topped with Cheddar Cheese Bourbon Stout Mustard, Pickled Red Onion and served on a Brioche; and the “humble” Mountain Burger, a half-pound of Brasstown Beef topped with homemade Venison Chili.

If I had more talent, I’d compose an opera about these grand creations.

And, I’ve once again squandered my word count, which means I can’t even begin to describe the fully-stocked bar. 

So let me restate my central premise, 4118 Kitchen and Bar is a marvelous setting to indulge in two of America’s favorite pastimes – eating and talking, lots and lots of talking.

4118 is located at 64 Highlands Plaza. Their phone number is (828) 526-5002.