Although one-quarter of 492's small plates menu is devoted to meat, chef Nathan Whiting describes his approach to cooking as “vegetable-driven.” Instead of beef tartare, there's beet tartare, and on a recent evening, tomato-braised farro, grits with mushrooms and butterbeans, strawberry salad and chilled pea soup.
Whiting, the closing chef at Tristan, is joined at the newest addition to Upper King Street by bartender Megan Deschaine and pastry chef Amanee Neirouz. The trio is working out of a former clothing store wrecked by Hurricano Hugo and renovated by architect Reggie Gibson, who turned an old tin ceiling into a base for the bar. Other interior elements include a community table carved from a single tree trunk, a second-floor garden and an art installation constructed from 535 glue sticks and 182,200 buttons. In a nod to Whiting's modernist, meatless ways, the piece is supposed to resemble a picture the chef took of sous vide leeks.
492 is located at 492 King St. The restaurant doesn't have a website, but there's limited information available at facebook.com/492CHS. Open every day from 5-10 p.m. (with the schedule extended by one hour on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights), 492 can be reached at 203-6338.