We first met Chef Carol Scott when we were asked to help judge the March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction, a great event helping many children in need. If you’ve heard of her, it’s probably for one of two reasons: She owns a successful catering/personal chef business here in Knoxville, or you saw her compete on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen series! That’s right, we have a bonafide Hell’s Kitchen competitor right here in Knoxville.
We were excited when, a few months ago, Carol told us about plans top open a restaurant joining Knoxville’s downtown winery, Blue Slip. After a few setbacks that pushed opening several weeks late (those of you who know this business know that hearing that isn’t news) she’s finally open for business. While the menu is familiar enough that anyone can find a nourishing and tasty meal, she’s also trying to do things that not everyone in town is doing-Octopus Ceviche anyone? But if you’re not adventurous, don’t be scared! Her panini, sandwiches, and salads (I might go as far as to say the best downtown caesar!) are top notch.
The bar program is led by a familiar face to downtown spirit connoisseurs, Nate Worthington. It’s a large, beautifully done bar. Our friends who were with us ordered from the menu and our sampling proved Nate’s experience at creating a well-balanced cocktail. We went rogue and asked for some creative off-menu beverages just to challenge him. In particular, the last cocktail incorporating tarragon and cilantro was summertime perfection! It’s also nice to see that they highlight Knoxville’s Knox Whiskey Works products on their menu so prevalently. (Note: Mr Knoxfoodie does have a business relationship with this distillery).
We mostly opted to let Carol choose what we had and weren’t disappointed. The table shared a Smokey Caesar salad that is perched on parmesan wafers with house-made dressing and board of cured meats accompanied by house pickled okra, red eye aioli and whipped paté. Honestly, any regular volume restaurant in town should be making their own dressing and should be embarrassed if they’re not. The Fig and Gooey Brie Grilled Cheese with Benton’s Country Ham on fresh bread was paired up with a zesty cucumber salad that balanced the rich cheese. Our other dish was a Mediterranean Veggie Pita Sandwich full of salty brined olives with a hearty, but not-too-rich macaroni salad. Carol walked by and was appalled that the macaroni salad was a little moist… but it certainly didn’t detract us from clearing our plates!
Our desserts for the table were the Flourless Chocolate Cake (the best cake of this style I’ve ever had), The Creme Brûlée that had the perfect crackle when tapped with a spoon, and a bread pudding that everyone at the church homecoming would be jealous of!
Do put the Blue Slip Bistro on your radar and stop in for lunch or dinner soon. It’s quite an accomplishment what Carol anther team are able to produce from such a tiny kitchen…but that’s the mark of a crafty chef! We’ll definitely be regulars here.