"The Kitchen" on Queen - Die Yuppie Scum
The Condo Crowd is easy to please, apparently.
They'll settle for small dishes or apartments and willing to shell out unreasonable amounts of money for it.
Like hawks praying on a corpse in the desert, new places open on West Queen West, setting foot and waiting for the condos to pop, and hopefully bringing in customers with no soul. At least food-wise.
This is the case with "The Kitchen" -
a place that opened 2 months ago on the corner of Queen and Northcote.
Starting with a name that's ungooglebale (nice business desicion, yuppie douchebags)
the place is just trying too hard to be Drakier-then-thou:
Roped entrance complete with bouncer - check.
Big Screen LCD's hanging above the bar - check.
$8 glass of wine, poured CHEAPLY - check.
Waitress with short skirt and clevage as deep as the pockets of potential clinets - check.
Overpriced small dishes - Yeah, I know its a Tapas place - check !
5 of us shared some plates. The ribs were fine,
and I think that the only thing positive about the dinner:
The deep-fried-somethings sereved with the dips were oily as hell.
The dips tasted OLD. The bread we ordered instead of those hardened deep-fried crackers
was "toasted' on open fire, not in an oven god forbid - this is hell's kitchen after all.
And some of it was BURNT.
The sauasage was like something found in the back of a Dundas St. Butchery fridge,
then heated and covered in a futile attempt for a tomato sauce.
The "Tri Colored Fries" was only one color - charcoal; looking like what the cook
shelled out of the bottom of the frier,
they were served in a dish that resembled a miniature urinal.
The bill was $120, including drinks. Not cheap, not expensive, but the food was mediocre
at best, and if that's what coming out of "The Kitchen", I don't even want to see the rest of the house.
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I've been here twice and had nice experiences both times. When I went on a Wednesday all drinks were $4 inclusing tax, but I'm not sure if they still have that promotion. That was back in March.
Agreed, the ribs were good and some other winners were the Grilled Calamari, Fried Calamari, Garden Maki, and the highlight is the new Banana and Jack dessert that is banana with some Jack Daniels wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and deep-fried with a side of honey whipped cream.
You'll like not give it another try since you hated it so much, but it is worth another go. The downstairs had a completely different feel and it much more casual.
Welcome to Chowhound (seem to be saying that a lot these days). I know every time I pass by The Kitchen it seems pretty dead, and it doesn't surprise me that they are doing cheap booze promotions to try to lure people in. Honestly, I feel like this spot completely missed the mark and didn't "get" the neighbourhood. So many people saw the velvet ropes - now obviously retired - and felt the bad attitude and were just turned off. I can see how ownership might have misjudged things - they see the success of places like the Drake or the Beaconsfield and think they can become a similar phenomenon. But the Drake, even though they trot out the ropes from time to time, still does a lot of community-based events, unprofitable but musically interesting shows in the basement, etc. Their street credibility, while strained at the best of times, has maintained enough of its integrity because they were very smart about how to best manage the huge footprint they were squishing onto an arts-driven neighbourhood. And the Beac, well, that was started by the hipster set and staffed with the same. Even though it looks posh from the outside, it's just kids with jeans and t-shirts and laidback attitude inside.
The Kitchen didn't get West Queen West, and I doubt $4 drinks and fried bourbon bananas are going to save it.
I agree with your comments. Yuppifying a business might draw in clientele once out of curiousity, but quality brings them back. One of the first rules of the service industry is that bad news spreads like wildfire. People are very willing to tell others what they do not like. Pretentiousness such as this without the "bones" to back it up is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. It will be interesting to see if they can recover. Very few people are willing to shell out the buck to give a place a second chance. There is just far too much competition out there to waste time going back.
I have been to The Kitchen twice and enjoyed both experiences. The first time I really enjoyed the music downstairs, good dj, good vibe, friendly bartenders. The second time I went there after leaving the Drake ($5 cover, didn't enjoy fact that I had to wait in line in the rain for 20 min. Also didn't enjoy that for such a big place, all they played was house, and to go smoke upstairs on the patio, I had to leave my name and phone number so they could call me when I could go up, about a 20 min wait). We left and went to The Kitchen where the bouncer was friendly, welcomed us back, and the music was fantastic. I haven't eaten at the Kitchen, but from what I've seen, they're more about the music and having a good time than the Drake, which seems to have lost itself in ViP and guestlists.... I kinda hope the Kitchen doesn't pick up so it remains as chilling as it is. If it gets more popular it might be as much of a headache as the Drake.