knead bakehouse & provisions photo by izaiah johnson

Review: Knead Bakehouse & Provisions in Lindenwood Park

Simplicity is key at Knead. The bread-slinging Lindenwood Park powerhouse dishes up a smart and imaginative menu of scratch-made soups, salads and sandwiches. Since opening last November, chef-owner A.J. Brown and his kitchen staff have honed their traditional baking skills and rolled out impressive new selections. The cafe is bright and cozy, brimming with customers perched at the two bars and long communal tables.

porchetta sandwich // photo by izaiah johnson

Porchetta Sandwich
If you can’t decide on a sandwich, order the porchetta. This Old World Italian roast is tucked between two slices of Knead’s gentle sourdough. The porchetta – pork belly wrapped around a cut of pork roast stuffed with sage, rosemary, onion and garlic, and tied together like a burrito – is roasted three hours before being cut into thin, tender slices that have a rich, bacon-like flavor. Topped with a smoked cheddar-Gouda mixture, tomatoes, microgreens, dill-infused aioli and mustard, this savory treat tastes like a high-end BLT you never want to end.

Grilled Cheese
Knead’s grilled cheese is a thing of beauty. The smoked cheddar and Gouda mixture is melted with a roux, creating a smooth and creamy Velveeta-like cheese sauce minus the processed flavor. The end result is light and delectably gooey with a super soft, ricotta-like texture that goes exceptionally well sandwiched between light and buttery smooth slices of the house-made brioche with fresh tomatoes from the same local farm that supplies cucumbers for Knead’s house pickles.

brassica smoked cheddar soup // photo by izaiah johnson

Brassica Smoked Cheddar Soup
Knead’s version of the classic broccoli cheddar is a unique, veggie-centric soup. Broccoli, turnips, kale and cabbage are cooked and pureed together for a harvest festival in a bowl that eats like a meal – thick, creamy and rich with a generous hit of smoked cheddar and house-made kefir. The very green, very satisfying soup is topped with crunchy flash-fried Missouri wheat berries that bob on the surface and sneak their way into each wonderful spoonful.

brisket sandwich // photo by izaiah johnson

Brisket Sandwich
No small amount of work goes into Knead’s brisket sandwich. The grass-fed beef is brined at least four days before being smoked seven hours in a steady haze of mesquite and hickory. It’s worth the effort for the juicy and incredibly tender slices of smoky brisket that rest on crispy sourdough.

kale and kefir salad // photo by izaiah johnson

Kale and Kefir Salad
Crisp red cabbage and lacinato kale serve as a crunchy base for this fresh salad laced with Missouri pecans, carrot slivers and puffed wheat berries. A dose of Parmesan combines with a generous (but not overwhelming) amount of creamy house-made kefir and chive dressing to produce a unique ranch/Caesar hybrid flavor. The salad is a perfect match for a half-and-half lunch plate with one of the savory sandwiches like the porchetta or brisket.

The Downside
The Harvest Salad, while fresh, eye-pleasing and studded with sunflower seeds and the fantastic puffed wheat berries, was overwhelmed by a Champagne vinaigrette too heavy on the vinegar. Another disappointing dish was the lentil and white bean chili, which lacked substance and seemed sour and overrun with an acidic lime flavor.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor and critic for Sauce Magazine.