Re-Introducing WP Kitchen + Bar
Kristi Maier | @triadfoodies
Sit right back and let us tell you a tale of how a big name restaurant likes to think small, all the while just giving you course after course of menu items. And we didn’t mind it, not one bit.
WP Kitchen + Bar recently rebranded itself from more of a pizza bar to a community-inspired kitchen. The change has taken place quietly over the last few months with the hire of a new executive chef and a reformatted menu.
One thing that has never changed is this: the restaurant, where the WP stands for Wolfgang Puck, is only one of three restaurants of its kind under the Wolfgang Puck umbrella, the others being in Charlotte and Palm Desert, California. And WP has always sourced locally with ingredients like Giacomo’s Italian Market and Goat Lady Dairy, to name a few.
At a recent meet and greet we received a tour of WP Kitchen + Bar, met Executive Chef Matthew Culpepper as well as Klaus Puck, brother of Wolfgang and Director of Operations. We tasted a whopping 13 menu items. And that was after a slice of pizza and a small sampling of some seasonal signature cocktails. And we’re happy to give you the rundown on these dishes.
Post tour, we started out the night with a couple of cocktails, where we tried a luscious creamy Egg Nog Martini made with a whole egg, cream, rum and cognac. That was followed by its polar opposite a Cherry Sour. Both were pretty and festive. Now let’s take a tour of The Tastes:
Kabocha and Butternut squash garnished with cardamom cream and pumpkin seeds. This soup was very creamy and the cardamom set it apart from other creamy squash soups. Slightly on the sweet side, but a fun way to start the meal.
Truffle Potato Chips
I take that back. Potato chips are a fun way to start a meal These Yukon Gold babies are topped with a blue cheese fondue, truffle oil, chives and blue cheese crumbles. So delicious with the white wine that it was paired with.
One of the most popular items at the restaurant and we can see why. Rings and tentacles deep fried to light golden brown. WP creates a new twist by adding pepperoncini to the finished product. It’s served with a garlic aioli and WP Kitchen’s Tomato, Basil and Garlic sauce. I could go back for that.
We can’t let the evening go by without one of the main reasons that WP Kitchen + Bar exists. The pizza. They take such pride in the pizza that they allow the dough to proof for up to nine days. Each pizza is made to order and cooked in a hickory wood-fired oven. The crust is slightly garlicky from being brushed with infused olive oil. The no-fail table pleaser, to be sure. I really recommend pepperoni as they use Giacomo’s pepperoni and it is the absolute best. Gluten-free pizzas are also available.
A basic salad made not so basic with kale, marinated cucumbers, toasted quinoa tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. The salad is actually placed on this amazing Green Goddess puree and topped with Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese.
Bolognese Rigatoni Mezze
A small plate with perfectly done pasta smothered in a rich bolognese and finished with herb ricotta and freshly torn basil. If you’re craving Italian, but not pizza, this will be a great soothing dish for you.
Moving on to some entrees…
NC Mountain Trout
Stuffed with oregano, parsley and thyme. It’s grilled and finished in the oven. This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening as it was so light and flavorful and felt incredibly healthy.
I’ll be honest, I rarely order salmon when I go out to eat. Not really my favorite when it comes to “surf”, but those of you who love salmon will find this delicate and expertly prepared, topped with olive tapenade, petite greens and fennel.
Springer Mountain Farms Chicken
This chicken from the hills of the Appalachians was juicy and crispy and they poured the gravy over it for us. Not sure if they do that all the time, but it certainly made the chicken come alive and felt special to boot.
This roasted cauliflower tossed in brown butter and roasted with pepperoncini inspired me to make a mental note of this preparation to do at home. Even if you don’t like cauliflower, you might love this side. It is available with any of the above dishes and other entrees on the menu.
Roasted with bacon, you cannot go wrong.
Differently prepared as they are boiled to nearly done, smashed and then seared crispy. Super delicious.
Truffled Mac & Cheese
Rich and velvety and hit with a light drizzle of truffle oil for an elevated riff on the old classic.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak Frites
I really enjoyed this dish as well. Probably my favorite of the entrees, but I do love steak. And fries. It’s topped with a lovely garlic herb butter and served with a wonderful house steak sauce. If you like beef, order this.
For dessert we tried a tasting trio of current offerings like espresso semifreddo, salted caramel pudding and a cinnamon sugar donut that had you thinking of beignets. All were wonderful but the salted caramel pudding was my favorite. If you like it a bit more simple, WP Kitchen also offers freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, served warm.
Klaus Puck, director of Operations at WP Kitchen + Bar, says they’ve made the changes over the course of the last few months, keeping some of the more popular items that people love due to their feedback, while keeping focused on the local community. “It’s not the same in Charlotte or at the location in California. Our chef here is from Greensboro, the team in the kitchen is local and we want to make sure that we are celebrating the local community.” He adds, “Wolfgang was doing farm to table before it became popular. For these restaurants, we didn’t want to have items on the menu that didn’t make sense to this area. It’s very important to us that we use local farms and local suppliers.”
Puck says there are many people in the area who’ve yet to try WP Kitchen + Bar. “Sure there are only three of these restaurants that are part of the bigger family, but ultimately we’re a single restaurant working to serve the Greensboro area and the local market. And after the past year, I think we’ve learned to fit.”
In addition to the regular service at lunch and dinner, WP Kitchen + Bar has monthly themed dinners like Academy Awards and chef-driven wine dinners with a global focus.
Wanna go? WP Kitchen + Bar is located 607 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Open daily for lunch and dinner.