Zagat just published its 2013 30 under 30 list, which honors young talent in the restaurant industry, and Zagat editor James Mulcahy visited with chef Kyle Knall at his newly opened spot "Maysville" to see why he made the list.
"Maysville" opened late last year in the Flatiron District and quickly became a hit with city diners drawn to Knall's menu, which plays with the idea of American cooking. The Alabama native incorporates Southern influences without letting them overwhelm.
"I'm from Alabama, so I can say I'm Southern," Knall said. "But I did learn a lot working at Gramercy Tavern. What I am trying to represent is just fun American food."
The restaurant has gotten rave reviews since its opening, with smoky dishes like hay-roasted oysters complimenting the venue's other unique feature: an amazing selection of rare American whiskeys.
"There's approximately 220 American whiskeys on the wall, so that's what we're trying to highlight, is, once again, American whiskey. And I think that's why the food that we curate goes so well with the whiskey," said Knall
It's not just the beverage program that gives a nod to Bourbon country. The large charcoal horses that look down on the dining room were also inspired by the area.
"Maysville is a town in Kentucky where bourbon was first produced, so [horses] are up here just to represent Kentucky a little bit more."
2013 marks Zagat's third annual list honoring New York food stars under the age of 30, and Knall was chosen for his innovative and elegant cuisine. With stints in restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and a bright future ahead of him, you'd never guess the chef's age by looking at his resume.
"I just turned 27," he said. "I went every day after high school to go learn from this great group of cooks, and it all started there."
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