When word first spread about chef Michael Schulson taking over the space adjacent to his flagship, Sampan, we thought it was going to be a combination Japanese eatery and coffee shop. Not the most traditional combo but certainly not unheard of.
When Schulson and company opened Double Knot (120 S. 13th St.) last week, the finished product ended up being so much more than the original dual concept.
This multifaceted newcomer gets started early — 7 a.m. to be exact, with housemade pastries, espresso drinks and pour-overs. Come mid-morning an Asian-inspired fast-casual concept takes over, with customizable rice and noodle bowls, salads and banh mi, topped with a crisp mix of herbs and fresh and pickled vegetables.
Cocktails are available all day long with morning-friendly spiked espresso drinks and easy drinking daytime punches, plus a solid lineup of craft beers and wines.
When happy hour rolls around, Double Knot is hoping to draw an after-work crowd with pork buns, lettuce wraps, skewers of sate and a few sushi rolls, all under the $4 mark and accompanied by deeply discounted beer, wine and cocktails.
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The staircase to the moodily lit downstairs dining room opens at 5 p.m., revealing the most fascinating aspect of Double Knot: a subterranean bar and restaurant specializing in a far reaching menu of izakaya fare. An open kitchen turns out fire-grilled robatayaki skewers, while a sushi bar serves up well-executed maki and handrolls, the kind of Japanese drinking food that pairs especially well with cold beer or shared sake.
Finally, if you’re not in the market for a full sit-down dining experience, after happy hour the upstairs dining and bar area offers a short and sweet menu of small plates and cocktails where diners can graze on plates of truffle-laced hamachi tartare and sip the Monkey’s Fist, a bright and punchy combo of sake, coconut, chile and lime.