By Denise DePaolo
Despite its location in the heart of Rapid City, Kol feels decidedly more “Vegas” than “Black Hills.” Taking in the ultramodern décor in a mix of cool greys and rich browns, plus the custom architectural touches in stone and natural wood, a first-time diner may wonder whether this new eatery takes itself a bit too seriously. That was precisely the thought that struck me when I showed up for a late lunch with friends on a Thursday afternoon.
A hostess greeted us warmly the moment the door closed, and led our party of three up a couple of stairs, through a large wooden post-and-lintel structure doubling as a light feature, to our table. Kol occupies a large, open space at the corner of Main and Mt. Rushmore, which is divided into different seating areas by elevation and a half wall separating the bar and dining room. The bar runs the nearly the full length of the room, with bottles displayed in rectangular cubbies recessed into alternating patterns of wood and exposed brick. At the back of the room is an open kitchen with a coal-fired pizza oven under a large copper hood.
Our server was attentive and friendly, telling us immediately which items had run out during the lunch rush, and answering our questions confidently and knowledgably. Perusing the menu, it became clear that this is a restaurant looking to elevate old standbys, while bringing something playful and creative to its diners. For example, the “Ham & Cheese” sandwich we ordered came stacked with prosciutto, capricola, and mozzarella cheese – plus pickled onion and a goat cheese mousse. Why not? We also ordered the Humpty Dumpty Fell on a Pie from the rather interesting pizza list (Sausage Pistachio, anyone?) and the Beets by Blake salad with a marinated beef skewer on top.
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