“It was a dark and stormy night,” so wrote Snoopy, my favorite novelist. But Saturday was merely a “wet and chilly evening” as Robin, JC, and I made our way to Maplewood for dinner. The kind of day that had caused us to take on a doubleheader at the mall, two shows back to back:The Current Wars and Downton Abby. We were a bit peckish after all that drama.
Tom and Lisa had strongly recommended Elmwood, but we had yet to try the hip new restaurant, that opened earlier this year. We called and found they were booked, but could work us in at the communal table.
As we settled in and began chatting, Robin noted, “It’s quieter in here than in most restaurants. We can hear ourselves talk!” She was right. I later learned that the 75-seat space is insulated with sound cloth and metal panels that reduce background noise.
Small Plates Suitable for Sharing
Cooking with Live Fire
One of the most unique features of Elmwood is the open kitchen, with its Josper oven/grill, the only one of its kind in the U.S. The Josper is made in Spain and is the choice of discerning chefs, who prefer the flavor imparted by a live fire. The oven/grill burns lump charcoal, allowing the kitchen to cook hot and fast, when needed, or warm and slow, all the while imparting the taste of an outdoor grill.
The business partners Chris Kelling and Adam Altenether bring years of expertise to their new venture. While Chris was dining room manager at The Restaurant in Meadowood, Napa Valley, CA, the restaurant earned a James Beard’s award for Outstanding Service. Adam, an award-winning chef, most recently honed his chops as a chef at Niche.
Elmwood. 2704 Sutton Blvd, Maplewood. Open: Tue-Thu 5p-10p; Fri-Sat 5p-11p. Managing Partner: Chris Kelling; Chef-Co-Partner: Adam Altnether.