Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Uptown Accent

I challenge anyone to walk into the Accent, Scott and Brenda Kim's new restaurant in University Circle, and not give a little gasp of amazement, especially after dark. The space is dramatic, ultra contemporary, and unique. The red and black color scheme is sophisticated and intense. Lighting has been used as a design element and after the sun sets the place simply glows. The cumulative effect simply wows the eyes and announce that this is something special.

photo by Barney Taxel

The food I tasted last week at a private pre-opening event confirmed that impression. Building on the possibilities offered by two innovative pieces of high-heat cooking equipment-a Robata grill and a Josper oven (I described both in a previous post), Kim and executive chef Michael Lyons have crafted a menu of exciting dishes. For me,a big part of the excitement lies in their concept of making dishes that are not only delicious but also healthy. Drawing inspiration from the many and varied cuisines of the Asian continent, they're employing cooking techniques that require less fat and are using whole grains in place of white rice and other good-for-you ingredients. I sampled mung bean pancakes, turkey "ribs" and slaw, edamame hummus with vegetable chips, kimchee flatbread, and three versions of donburi (rice bowl): beef, chicken and sashimi (raw fish). There isn't anything I wouldn't eat again with great pleasure, and the miso soup was some of the best I've had ever and anywhere. Vegetarians and vegans will definitely have options here.

photo by Barney Taxel
But don't imagine it will be any sort of sacrifice to dine here. The menu offers a wonderful selection: steaks, short ribs, scallops, roasted potatoes and rich desserts. I had the house version of smores and have no doubt I'll be back for some more.

Big windows face a pedestrian friendly plaza. There are plans for a patio equipped with a fireplace. It  promises to be a wonderful gathering place, inside and outside the restaurant, in all seasons. Other restaurants are planned for this urban hub. Accent, opening to the public Oct. 29, is the first, and it will launch Uptown as a true culinary district, much like East 4th Street. Both projects reflect the vision of the Maron family and their development company MRN Ltd. The patriarch Rick and his wife Judy were also at the Accent event, and when were introduced, I  felt compelled to thank him for the way he's investing in and helping to transform this city.


Joyce Mariani said...

Such a beautifully written review Laura. It truly looks
heavenly and can't wait to experience the cuisine.

Laura Taxel said...

Thanks Joyce. I have no doubt it will be an experience to remember.