WP Kitchen + Bar in Greensboro
Last month I had the opportunity to do a few things that I love all at the same time – meet up with some of my amazing, local, blogger friends, try fun, new cocktails, and eat amazing food at the newly relaunched WP Kitchen + Bar. It’s like winning the nerd trifecta.
Folks in the Triad may remember the former Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar located in Friendly Shopping Center. 2016 brought in a rebranding for the restaurant as the owners and principles realized that Greensboro had “enough” pizza places and decided to shift their focus to a more traditional menu using as many locally produced items as possible. Part of that change included bringing Matt Culpepper (formerly of Quiet Pint in Winston) in to oversee the kitchen and menu creations. This particular brand in the Wolfgang Puck family of restaurants only has three locations in the US… the location in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Palm Desert, CA. What follows is a telling of what was nothing short of a succulent culinary experience. You may want to grab a snack because you’re probably going to be hungry by the end.
WP Kitchen + Bar Custom Crafted Cocktails
When we arrived, Assistant Manager, Austin Heuser, was manning the bar preparing to wow us with a few different signature cocktails. Considering it was right before Christmas there was a definite “theme” going on with the cocktail and accordingly, we were greeted with a Pomegranate Bellini:
While half our group was taking a tour of the kitchen area, Austin treated us to our own personal ‘show’ where he crafted their holiday Eggnog as well as their Cherry Sour. One cool thing that I learned from Austin is that you don’t EVER shake whiskey or bourbon… it bruises it! Check out the video below to see Austin in action!
Wolfgang Puck Eggnog Martini Recipe
- ¾ oz. Myers Dark Rum
- ¾ oz. Hennessy VS
- 1.25 oz. Simple Syrup
- ¾ oz. Heavy Cream
- 1 Egg
Add ingredients to shaker. Shake for 20 seconds. Add ice & shake for extra 20 seconds. Add to martini glass and grate nutmeg over finished drink. Makes one. Cheers!
Checking Out the Back of the House
That’s the kitchen for those of you who’ve never been in the restaurant biz. As I mentioned earlier, WP Kitchen + Bar used to focus on pizza and they do still create amazing pies using the freshest ingredients but it’s not the core of their menu any longer. Matt walked us thru the different areas of the kitchen and then put his magic to work in creating one of his signature pizzas.
WP Kitchen + Bar New Menu
Finally, the group gets to sit down and really get busy trying all the new items that now make up the menu. Not that I’m complaining about the pre-dinner festivities, mind you…
The entire team put a lot of thought and care into creating a menu that would hold true to the standards set by Wolfgang Puck as well as a commitment to use as many locally sourced food items as possible such as Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese and Giacomo’s.
We had so much food that I had to put all the shots into one collage just to fit them in:
Following in the order of the shots –
Squash Soup – I’m not a huge fan of squash soup (don’t ask me why considering how much soup I make) but this is one of their most popular items and is a carry-over from the original menu. It was great – might not have made turned me into a complete squash soup convert but I’d definitely order it again!
Truffle Potato Chips – Yukon Gold potatoes fried and served with truffle oil, blue cheese fondue, chives, and MORE blue cheese! I could have eaten those all night. As a matter fact, I think I did..
Crispy Calamari – Seems like calamari is a standard on many menus but this (like everything else) was so well done – not too heavy with the batter or the frying and they throw in the surprise element of pickled pepperoncini peppers. Served with a side of garlic aioli and WP Kitchen’s Tomato, Basil and Garlic sauceAnother one of their most popular dishes.
Goat Lady’s Dairy Pizza and Giacomo’s Pepperoni Pizza – More pizza? You bet when it’s this yummy! All their pizzas are made to order and they do have gluten-free options!
Fennel Sausage Bolognese – A perfect portion of pasta topped with a rich Bolognese sauce and then topped with herb ricotta and freshly torn basil. This could be a perfect dinner paired with a salad!
Baby Kale Salad – Speaking of salads!! I love salads but I absolutely hate to make them, so I take the chance to get them whenever I’m out. This was made with kale, marinated cucumbers, toasted quinoa, topped with Goad Lady’s goat cheese and then there was the Greek Goddess puree that rocked my world. I discovered Greek Goddess a few years ago and it’s my only dressing now.
Pan Seared Salmon – This and the Flat Iron Steak were my favorite entrees of the night. I think it was the tapenade that did it for me. It was an olive tapenade made from Nicoise and Castel Verano olives, parsley, oregano, garlic, orange zest, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Served with petite greens and fennel.
North Carolin Mountain Trout – Sorry… I ate this before I could get a picture of it.. that should tell you something right there! It was really light but full of flavor as it was stuffed with oregano, parsley, and thyme.
Springer Mountain Farms Half Chicken – For a chicken dish, it was good (chicken is my least favorite protein… ). It was served with crispy potatoes as well as an au jus that the staff topped the chicken off with table side.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak Frites – This was a medium-rare, prime Flat Iron steak marinated in black pepper, thyme and extra virgin olive oil and topped with a garlic herb butter and their house steak sauce and then placed on top of steak Frites. Amazing. I’d go just for this dish.
Roasted Cauliflower and Mac n Cheese – Confession: the only thing that I did not try was the cauliflower but everyone else raved about it. The mac n cheese though was incredible with a little bit of truffle oil drizzled on top.
Our dinner was paired with WP Chardonnay and WP Cabernet a line that is available for sale in the restaurant as well as certain stores in the area. A portion of the sales benefits “Keep Memory Alive” in honor of Wolfgang and Klaus Puck’s mother who suffers from Alzheimers.
As if we needed more food… you could almost hear an audible groan from the table as Paul and the rest of the team rounded the corner with more food. Until we saw what it was and well.. you know… dessert! I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle the espresso semifreddo, salted caramel pudding, and a cinnamon sugar donut, but I somehow managed to eat every single bit of it. Including the chocolate straw.
And Then the Other Fun Stuff
In addition to the restaurant, WP Kitchen + Bar they also offer monthly themed dinners as well as a private room for your own party! Make sure you sign up for their newsletter so you know when the next monthly dinner is as they typically sell out quickly. Rumor has it that the Oscar-themed one is a hot ticket to get!
Thanks to General Manager, Rick Bergen, Executive Chef, Matt Culpepper, Assistant Manager, Austin Heuser, and our fabulous server, Paul Cloninger for an incredible night. I can’t wait to head back and try a few new dishes!!