I did not hate Kate Mantilini
- Pei Oct 24, 2007 10:08 AM
I've avoided KM for a long time because of the negative posts on this board. But yesterday I found myself in the area with my parents. Fearful of trying to repark two cars, we settled on lunch at KM. I figured, how bad could it be if we just kept it simple?
First off, it's a lovely space! Concrete and glass, but done in a way that lets a lot of light into a large open dining area. Big open kitchen, noisy and bustling but under control.
Service: slow but super duper friendly! The restaurant was maybe half full for lunch, but our server was buzzing around and had to be stalked and snagged down each and every time we needed something. He handled all our requests quickly and with a smile though, so maybe he's just new and doesn't know he should scan the room constantly to see if his tables need him.
Food: not half bad! I think the tactic here is to keep it simple. We had a nicoise salad, lentil soup, and seared ahi. Nothing was special enough to describe in detail, but it was solid food. So many lunch spots oversalt the food. The fact that we had fresh ingredients, cooked just right, judiciously salted, served up attractively in a timely manner was enough for us. Sometimes, that's all you want!
Portions are huge, so two entrees and a soup was plenty for three people. $50ish after tax. So maybe the biggest quibble is with the price point, but considering that a $17 sandwich looks big enough for two people it's really not too bad for the area.
Bread: great! Warm, crispy crust, soft interior. It's from La Brea
One other thing regarding the service. We have only gone for dinner and we have had the older guy who looks like a younger Kurt Vonnegut several times (he has been there a looooooooooong time). He is a very good waiter. Don't think he is trying to break into the movie biz but rather is doing this as a profession, and doing it damn well.
"because of the negative posts on this board"
Yeah, but never from yours truly.
Not to be missed: the Friday special milanesa, the pea soup, the cobbler.
You know why you did not hate it? Because it's good. It's the rare thing in LA: a solid place, totally professional, attractive and open late. The bread is great, the specials can be good, the ahi salad is excellent (a bit pricey perhaps), the steak sandwich is fantastic and the service has generally been excellent during the many years that I have gone there.
I think your review is fair and accurate. KM is not a destination place for me, but if I am nearby, it works. I like the soups, salads and sandwiches. The ingrediants have always been fresh and well prepared. As far as the prices are concerned, in BH, $17 for a sandwhich is somewhat in line with market, but if you are at the KM outpost in Woodland Hills, you can do better elsewhere for the money.
I haven't been back there since I ordered the chicken. I took a bite out of it saw that it was raw in the center so I sent it back to the kitchen. A few minutes later they brought me back the same piece of chicken with the bite taken out of it that they had finished cooking on the grill. Yuck. That's ok to do at home but it's a real no no at a restaurant.