Currently, 4118 Kitchen + Bar is open for curbside delivery Tuesday – Saturday 11:30 am – 7:00 pm. Call 828-526-5002 to order. We’ll let you know when that changes.
So Tricia and I were at the crumbling edge of a long day at the far end of a long work week. It was a cold, wet evening and the week had rendered us like a couple who’d been held underwater for a long time.
Every instinct told us to head home and settle in for a long winter’s nap. Netflix and Chill – except that that sounded like too much work.
But the assignment was to go to 4118 Kitchen + Bar, that seductive little gem that’s stashed at the far corner of Highlands Plaza.
And here’s a bit about 4118 that I wrote three years ago that suggests that maybe I’m better at this review game than some guttersnipe online posters suggest:
“4118 Kitchen + 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.”
You see, the reason I’m dredging this up at this late date is because that’s precisely what we discovered when we stepped in on this damp and supremely dreary evening in 2020.
We were greeted just inside the door by a young woman who just a few years earlier had been in our Sunday School class. Her absolutely brilliant smile and open-arm hugs, delivered with unalloyed delight, were an immediate burst of sunshine upon our dismal mental landscape.
Then, once we got to our table, a couple of friends sidled up to chat and commiserate and share a funny story.
See what I said about the cherished neighborhood pub atmosphere?
There was joy in this place, and warmth, and a measure of delight that I thought had been lost earlier in the week.
This feeling was complemented by the performance of our server, Sandi.
She’d been the only server to make it in tonight, and she was astonishing.
Naturally, you’d imagine she’d end up like that poor Spinning Plate Guy on The Ed Sullivan Show, barely keeping up with a situation that courted chaos with every passing moment.
Nope. Sandi maintained order throughout, using a magical combination of fast softshoe last demonstrated by Gene Kelly in An American in Paris, the sly calculations of a senior project manager at CERN, and an unassailable gentle humor that sparked her tables.
And then there was the menu.
Naturally, we went for Comfort Food, something to soothe our ruffled feathers and perhaps deliver the nostalgia of sunnier days.
For me, that’s Fish & Chips. For Tricia, it was a Chicken Pot Pie.
The fish was a healthy serving of beer-battered cod, a spadeful of hand-cut fries, and (this is important), a bottle of
See how this resonates with that nearly forgotten evocation of a neighborhood pub?
And that Chicken Pot Pie? Well, it was the size of Tricia’s head and baked golden brown. Inside was a heavenly melange of yukon gold potatoes, carrots, celery root, sweet potato, and pearl onions.
Executive Chef Adam Bresnahan oversees a wonderfully creative kitchen and his talents are at the height of their creative flowering.
Need proof? Consider my Small Plate choice – Cuban Wontons! These were precisely what you’d imagine, an Asian/Caribbean hybrid of roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and mojo mustard, folded into little triangles. Holy Cats! How has the Nobel Prize Committee overlooked this little contribution to international harmony? I reluctantly shared with my dining companion.
And that mention of a clever bartender? Well, I’m pushing my word count, so let me just mention One in the Chamber – a straight-up seduction of the senses composed of Bulleit Bourbon, ginger-mint syrup, fresh lime, and candied ginger.
It’s as close to the tonic for a dreary night and a lousy week as I’m ever to encounter.
4118 Kitchen + Bar is located at 64 Highlands Plaza. Their phone number is (828) 526-5002.
by Luke Osteen