Best Restaurant to Die in the Past Year - 2004
Kirk's American Bistro
Here's the problem with best-kept secrets: Whispers don't pay the bills. For seven years Kirk's American Bistro dished up stylish bistro fare -- butternut squash bisque, beef Burgundy, Long Island duckling and perhaps the restaurant's best-known dish, Japanese fried lobster -- to the trickling of loyal clientele unafraid of the restaurant's location on the border of the "good" Central West End and the "bad" Central West End, where Euclid creeps toward Delmar. Kirk's lengthy cocktail list, with retro and retro-sounding libations like sidecars and the Marilyn Monroe martini, was like a kitsch in the head, and the wine list was well-rounded. Housed in the former showroom of the Pierce Arrow Automobile Company (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), Kirk's handsome digs always made for an elegant evening; though chef/owner Kirk Wishon always allowed his menu to evolve, it really did feel like time stood still there. But this past July, while nearby neighbors like Zoë and Café Balaban hummed along as usual, time finally stopped for Kirk's, which died a silent death. Kirk's may have played to small crowds, but its nightly show won't be forgotten by those who witnessed it.