Restaurant in Jackson, WY
Fine Dining Restaurant
Mountaineers, spa-goers and hardy locals all rub shoulders at the Kitchen, the mod star in Jackson Hole’s fine dining constellation.
The Kitchen’s diminutive floor space is expanded by hangar-like construction. If it weren’t for the arresting vintage photograph of an early-century chair lift to remind you that you are in a ski town, you might mistake your surroundings for a little French-Asian boîte somewhere in the East Village. The space strikes a deft balance between warm and cool with a maplewood bar set against the prep line, a crescent of rice paper arched from floor to ceiling, and an intimate arrangement of tables around a slate-tiled fireplace.
Nearly half the menu is devoted to small seafood plates whose minimal elements deliver unexpected impact. These are best begun alongside one of the Kitchen’s inventive cocktails. Gin and vodka concoctions are in no short supply, but I favored the refreshing Kirby Sour, made from locally distilled Wyoming Whiskey infused with ginger, which brought sweetness out of the fresh lemon juice and pickled cherry on top. It made an ideal companion for slices of cold smoked yellowtail laced with green tea vinaigrette and layered with shards of Granny Smith apple. Yellowfin tuna slices soaked in potent truffle oil were wrapped around finely diced tuna tartare, the silky texture offset with a popping crunch lent by microfine diced scallions.
We transitioned from cold to hot with a steaky calamari grilled to a buttery richness and spiked with a raw pepper and caper salsa. Then came the Kitchen’s most popular starter, the Luxury Shrimp, a platter of tiny shellfish soaked in sriracha, aioli and egg white, crisped to a golden sheen, served warm over seaweed salad and dusted with black and white sesame seeds.
A brief pause between courses brought an oak barrel-aged “Brooklyn,” the Kitchen’s take on a Manhattan, with Bulleit rye, averna and house-made clove bitters mellowed to a jammy finish and enlivened by a slice of fresh orange. It perfectly accompanied a plate of barbecued chicken wings, their brûléed ketchupy sweetness offset by crispy garlic and frothy ranch sauce infused with Thai basil.
Nota bene: the Kitchen’s starters are light enough to leave you thinking you’ve hardly begun to eat, yet flavorful enough to make you forget to pace yourself. The series of entrées that followed – a Kentucky-fried catfish filet served over piquant cashew-strewn Napa cabbage; crepe-thin semolina pappardelle blanketed around ricotta, chopped spinach and butternut squash pureetopped with a savory streusel of raisins, pecans and Parmesan cheese; a seared loin of New Zealand red deer served over sherry and cream-soaked squash, studded with shiitakes and dried cherries as meaty as the deer itself – had us wishing that we’d been a little less greedy.
But as the mountain night grows cold, the Kitchen grows warmer, with seasonal and year-round locals crowding cheek-by-jowl to linger over desserts like potato chip pie and ginger crème brûlée with honey tuile and raspberry jam.
With a menu that refreshes itself as often as Jackson’s population, the Kitchen is the place to experience the best of this surprisingly cosmopolitan mountain town.
Chelsea Batten is an itinerant journalist and photographer
Photographs courtesy of The Kitchen
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Advisable|
|Clientele||Locals with an ever-changing array of seasonal residents and vacationers|
|Restaurant good for||Families with children, Romance, Small groups|
|Cost per head||Medium|
Busy yet intimate atmosphere, softly lit and anchored by a fireplace makes for a romantic setting.
Appetizers and Salads from $8; Mains from $16 and Sides from $7. Cocktails from $10. Wine by the glass from $8.50.
Last updated on 13-03-2015