Nestled next to the Downtown icon Atomic Liquors, the Kitchen nicely complements the bar with which it shares an outdoor space. Food on nights spent at Atomic was previously limited to delivery or an occasional food truck; now revelers can simply walk to the adjacent building, with its comfortable, modern industrial design, and bask in executive chef Josh Horton’s take on comfort food.
But Horton isn’t serving any old bar food. The former Cili at Bali Hai executive sous has high-end chops. Chicken wings ($8) arrive atop a devastatingly good pepperoni pizza waffle with blue cheese mousse in Horton’s obscene homage to chicken and waffles. In a dish obviously owing its genesis to late-night drinking, house-made shrimp mozzarella sticks ($12) nestle a whole shrimp inside the crisp cheese. Dr. Frankenstein would weep tears of joy.
I’ve previously espoused the virtues of the Fat Man Fries ($8), essentially a mound of regular and waffle fries laden with chili dog components and doused tableside with a molten adobo cheese from a cast-iron skillet. Order them. The Atomic Rollers ($9) are a trio of miniature hot dogs from differing locales. As a Chicagoan, I’m a purist, so anything purporting to be a Chicago dog without all the appropriate accoutrements (“dragged through the garden”) falls short. But the others—a traditional Michigan Coney and the potato chip, pineapple salsa and quail egg-adorned Columbian—are a treat.
I’d be remiss to comment on the Kitchen without mentioning the outstandingly eclectic, albeit limited beer selection. Not wanting to outshine her older sister, the venue carries only 10 drafts and a concise bottle list. But beer aficionado and proprietor Rose Signor has offered some interesting pours recently, including To Øl’s coffee-laden Black Malts & Body Salts imperial black IPA, Avery’s peanut-forward Nuttiest Professor and Evil Twin’s awesomely named Pleasure to Meet You, I’m a Big Fan of Your Beers IPA.
Frankly, the Kitchen is worth visiting for the beers alone. But why punish yourself like that?
The Kitchen at Atomic 927 Fremont St., 702-534-3223. Thursday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday & Wednesday, 4 p.m.-midnight.