BY Paul Schultz | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Lance Knowling knows where his biscuits are buttered.
The Kansas City-born chef pays homage to the women who inspired his culinary career, and does them proud, at Blujeen, whose very name evokes the spirit of the place: a hip take on something sturdy and traditional.
The restaurant’s accomplished blend of soul food and upscale comfort fare is a homecoming of sorts for Knowling, who apprenticed in Texas and climbed the restaurant rungs in the tristate area (Butterfield 81 with Tom Valenti, Indigo Smoke, Park Ave. Club). One of his latest high-profile gigs was cooking for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
His Harlem spot, near the busy corner of Frederick Douglass Blvd. and 116th St., manages the neat trick of marrying industrial and homey with exposed venting in the ceiling and rustic hutches along the walls. Paintings courtesy of his mom and friends, including a dominant portrait of John Coltrane, lend a modern vibe.