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Knife + Fork is an apt name for a meal whose cutlery is replaced for each of six courses. A three pronged fork arrives for a seared cod in delectable black bean sauce; a four pronged fork suits scallops and pork belly. Knife + Fork opened this past May, and is the first solo venture of chef Damien Brassel, whose previous appointments at Michelin-rated Peacock Alley in Dublin and alongside Bobby Flay at Bolo won him critical aclaim. With neighborhood comfort, and high class appeal, the Brassels (Damien, and his wife Kristi who runs the front of the house) offer a decidedly tasty menu and refined attention to detail visible in everything from the plating of entrees to the choice of beautiful stemware.

In addition to the regular menu, a nightly 6-course chef's tasting menu is available for $45 (not including wine). Arguably one of the best prix fixe bargains in the city, Chef Brassel offers a personal selection of six items off the starters and entrees menus, mixing and matching the freshest ingredients to orchestrate a truly decadent feast. Compliments of the house, Gothamist's first bite united warm goat cheese and polenta with the merry flavors of microgreens and trumpet mushrooms. A warm homemade bread called a "Celtic loaf" was served with a pat of butter and a mound of fresh sea salt; it is baked with Irish stout creating a deep brown color and distinct nutty flavor. Quickly developing a fan-following, the restaurant is starting to sell the bread on its own. Gothamist will definitely be back to buy a loaf.

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An official first course arrived on an elongated plate, smoky seared squid stuffed with duck confit on a cauliflower puree. Rich with a medley of subtle flavors, our palates came alive when matched with an Argentinian Malbec off the fairly comprehensive wine list. A second course brought new silverware (of course) and a carpaccio of venison with white truffle oil, seaweed, sabayon, and cranberry sauce. The tart cranberries helped offset the sweetness of the sabayon; unfortunately the venison was lost under the intensity of flavors. Next arrived delicate bowls with a single carmelized king scallop on a bed of ginger, doused with a spicy sweet and sour broth, steaming hot and re-awakening our tastebuds. At this point, saturated with flavor, and still three courses to go, we took sips of wine, hoping it'd somehow help us digest a bit faster.

The fourth course proved difficult to finish, though only for size and intensity and not for lack of flavor. A generous portion of confit of pork belly was accompanied by escargot in a garlic cream sauce, a testament to Brassel's European experience. Still deciding if we felt guiltier eating the rich course or not being able to finish it, a fillet of flaky cod arrived, the final course before dessert. Our waitress kindly assured us we didn't have to clean our plates, one of several servers who'd attentively refilled water glasses, cleared empty plates, and inquired whether we were enjoying ourselves throughout the night. Stuffed silly, we managed to save room for the peppermint tea infused pot de crème, a shot glass dense with mousse-like chocolate, topped with milky foam that finally brought the meal to an end.

For an night of indulgence in the confines of a cozy East Village space, Knife + Fork offers the best of refined, but comforting cuisine prepared with skill and an undeniable amount of care. Though entrees and starters can be ordered a la carte, Gothamist recommends the $45 tasting menu as the restaurant's real selling point, and a way good way to make the meal a happy all-night event.

Knife + Fork is located at 108 East 4th Street and open for dinner Tuesday - Sunday, 5:30 - 11 p.m. 212-228-4885. Reservations can also be made by emailing reservations@knife-fork-nyc.com