The Team behind the popular Fork Restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Square now aims to cut it with its new Knife, steak & seafood restaurant, opening Mid-September

Restaurant openings

They have proven their restaurant acumen for more than ten years in Chicago’s Lincoln Square with their popular restaurant Fork, and now owners David and Paula Byers and Executive Chef Timothy Cottini are turning their passion to Knife, an eagerly awaited contemporary steakhouse at 4343 N. Lincoln Avenue, with a planned opening mid-September. Knife’s cuisine will express the well-honed farm-to-table philosophy that is the foundation of Fork’s menu, but with in-house dry aged beef as its distinctive culinary centerpiece. 
“Our goal with Knife is to bring an intimate, personalized and modern steakhouse experience to Lincoln Square,” said David Byers. “Our team will be engaged in giving our guests an exciting overall dining experience that exceeds guest expectations.”
Knife’s interpretation of a modern steakhouse also will be realized in its décor. The restaurant will be a comfortable, sophisticated refuge for food lovers, featuring a rich color palette with warm accents and soft lighting. Dark mahogany woods are set off by red leather seating, and three dimensional Spanish tile walls add a refined yet earthy touch. 
Chef Cottini and his team are cutting into Chicago’s steakhouse scene with contemporary interpretations of traditional steakhouse offerings. At first glance, the menu is understated and traditional-sounding, but the element of surprise will be ever-present, rendering each dish an exceptional experience, with Chef Cottini’s skillful juxtaposition of flavors and textures. “We want to take the essence of a classic dish and re-create it in a unique way,” says Chef Cottini, who understands that, “We first eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths. The visual impact of the food will be almost as important as the taste."
Throughout the menu, Chef Cottini maintains a high standard using locally sourced, quality seasonal ingredients, as he transforms the traditional into the unexpected. The Grilled Wedge Salad served with Maine Lobster ($16) starts with iceberg lettuce raised locally by Urban Till in Chicago specifically for Knife. The smaller lettuce heads enhance the natural flavor, and are grilled to add a charred smokiness. The traditional toppings, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and blue cheese are scattered around the plate, but Chef Cottini has gone the extra mile, dehydrating the bacon for twelve hours to make it extra-crisp.
Other appetizers, such as the Heirloom Tomato and Burrata salad, are re-invented at Knife as well. The tomato is peeled, hollowed, and filled with a locally produced burrata, infused with local basil-pesto and roasted. The Oxtail Doughnut Holes are savory bites filled with classically braised oxtail and served with an au poivre sauce ($10).
Additional starters include the Foie Gras Terrine with seasonal jam and brioche ($19); Lobster Bisque with a house made made crème fraiche ($11); a Tableside Caesar (prepared tableside for parties of three or more) topped with white anchovies, focaccia croutons, raw egg and parmesan; Tuna Tartare with avocado mousse and Fresno chili ($14); a Joe’s Stone Crab inspired Lobster Tail Tempura ($23); Shrimp De Jonghe ($17); Fritto Misto Calamari ($13); and a “not your everyday” Shrimp Cocktail ($16). Bread offerings are baked in-house with Parker House Rolls served fresh from the oven ($6) and an artisan, potato based Focaccia for a dairy free option ($5).
All steaks are Certified Angus Beef from local Illinois and Iowa farmers, served with house made steak sauce and frites or onion strings. “We’ll leave the steak uncut,” emphasizes Cottini. “We wouldn’t dare deprive our customers of the joy of cutting into an exceptional, tender steak with ease. It’s an experience unlike any other.” Knife offers a selection of steak options: a 10 oz. Sirloin ($25), 6 oz. Beef Tenderloin ($30), 12 oz. Boneless Rib Eye ($34), 10 oz. 28-day Dry Aged Strip Steak ($40), and a Trio of Medallions with blue cheese crust ($26). The showcase steak is a Dry Aged Rib Eye for Two, carved and plated tableside ($89). 
 Other meat entrées are given equal attention. The Pork Chops ($25) have an intense marbling and flavor, served with a side of candied sweet potatoes seasoned with a spicy Saigon cinnamon, then topped with marshmallows and a butter bourbon gastrique. The butterscotch flavor from the potatoes' natural caramelization complements the rich pork.Beef Wellington is prepared with creamed kale, mushrooms,foie gras, and Borolo sauce ($46); the Lamb T-Bones, sourced from Catalpa Grove, are served with stuffed zucchini and hollandaise sauce ($26).

Lighter entrees include the Skuna Bay Salmon, a top quality fish from a Vancouver Island, British Columbia vendor who exemplifies the sound ecological raising of farm-raised salmon. Pacific wild salmon will be offered when in season. The Green Circle Farm’s Chicken from Indiana is served with a macaroni gratin ($23); the Ahi Tuna is prepared with green beans almondine and smoked tomato butter ($27). The Halibut comes with pipperade, creamed spinach and lobster demi. There is a vegetarian option of Pasta with papperdelle, market vegetables, basil pistou and parmesan ($19).

Sides are thoughtfully designed to enhance each flavor profile. The River Valley Ranch Mushroom en Pappiotte is a marinated portabella cap filled with shitake & cremini mushrooms, rosemary and roasted garlic ($9). The Macaroni Gratin is jazzed up with a blend of cheddar and jarlsberg cheeses with lemon ($8). 
The Stuffed Zucchini is sourced from local farmers, hollowed out and stuffed with a zucchini basil puree ($7). Knife’s philosophy is best exemplified in the Twice Baked Potato. The steakhouse standard takes a contemporary turn, as it stands up on its end, filled with an Italian fontina cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then roasted ($9). Other sides include the Creamed Kale ($7), hand-cut Frites with lemon aioli ($5), Onion Strings ($5), Caramelized Cauliflower with sultanas, balsamic, and capers ($7), and Whipped Potatoes locally farmed with cream and butter ($7). 
Classic steakhouse desserts such as Baked Alaska, Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie, and Carrot Cake are to be expected on the dessert menu. However, Chef Cottini won’t let them out of the kitchen until each confection is his own creation. 
Knife is modernizing the old-school steakhouse mentality and ambiance. It will raise expectations of what a steakhouse can be while paying homage to menu classics. Promoting culinary creativity and cultural fusion is what makes this restaurant “truly American.” At Knife, expect the deliciously unexpected.
Bar/Cocktail Program complements the food philosophy

David Byers, responsible for the Wine Spectator award-winning program at Fork, believes wines by the glass will be an important component at Knife. About a dozen wines by the glass will be served from bottles, and there also will be four keg wine offerings. Enhancing the program will be a Coravin program of luxury, by-the-glass wines. “I am very excited to offer some really unique and higher end wines to pair by the glass with Chef Tim’s food,” said Byers. “Utilizing the Coravin, we can showcase some unique wines we otherwise wouldn't be able to by the glass.”
Anthony Munger, bar manager and mixologist at Knife, has developed an inventive craft cocktail menu with several sources of inspiration. Cocktails will use local ingredients and mostly be made from scratch. This extends beyond the bar juicing its own citrus—for instance, the skins from oranges will be steeped in brandy with vodka and cloves for in-house Cointreau. Locally sourced mushrooms will add a deep earthiness to sherry, and homegrown lavender will enhance Knife’s whiskey. Currently, Munger has 35 of these different from-scratch "preparations" lined up. Knife is also growing its own herbs, including four different kinds of mint, basil, lemon verbena, sage, thyme, rosemary, and jasmine to use in its cocktails.
“As much as I shy away from phrases like "farm-to-glass," that's how I'm approaching this drink program. We are involved with and have gained knowledge of each ingredient's cultivation. We honor them as we prepare them,” says Munger.
Just as Knife reinvents traditional steakhouse menu items, Munger redesigns standard cocktails. Aviations will be constructed at the table using organic food coloring that takes dark purple gin and turns it into a lighter pink before the guest’s eyes. Traditional martinis will be served with silver plates that showcase pipettes of vermouth and olive brine so that guests can participate in having a martini exactly how they like it. 
Using "cocktail calculus" to determine alcohol content, acidity, and sweetness, Munger has reworked several classic cocktail with completely new ingredients. He has created a gin sour infused with chamomile and snap peas that uses fresh aloe vera juice instead of egg whites for a completely vegan version.
“I also draw inspiration for cocktails from obscure words that define feelings that we all relate to,” Munger says. The “Liberosis,” meaning “the desire to care less about things," features Blanco vermouth, Benedictine, Chartreuse, and lemon juice. The "Adronitis," meaning "the frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone," is comprised of Apricot-infused scotch, brandy, Cynar, Glenlivet, and Byrrh.
About Knife
Knife, located at 4343 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago and opening mid-September, 2016, will be a new contemporary steakhouse from David Byers and Chef Tim Cottini, the duo behind the popular Fork restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. Knife is inspired by traditional steakhouse food and beverages and gives them a modern interpretation, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 
Knife will be open for dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday; closed Monday. All major cards will be accepted; ample street parking is available. Knife also will be available for private events. For more information, please contact Knife at (773) 799-8283. Visit the website at 


Cindy Kurman