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Kitchenette report...happy, happy, happy

I took the T line over to Illinois by 3rd & 20th today to check out Kitchenette. Its a catering company that has just started serving take away food at lunch from 11:30-1:30 or however long the food lasts. Its a very limited menu.

Its in an industrial building, they just roll up door on the loading dock and put benches in their parking space. There are no tables. I got there at 11:45, there were only a couple of people there.

Today, I had the lemongrass bavette steak salad and maple bacon snickerdoodles. The drink of the day was a blend of citrus juices and look pretty good. The portabello banh mi I saw looked nice but I didn't one.

The salad was a-maz-ing!

The first thing I noticed was the wonderful smell. The steak was sliced thin and just barely medium-rare - truly excellent. The greens were fresh, tasty, perfectly dressed with lots of crunchies - there were fresh peas, cilantro, fried garlic, cabbage, thin slices of marinated carrots and other yummy treats. I can't even think the last time I had a healthy salad that made me this happy.

The cookie was pretty intense - I definitely can't eat more than one...although I fully expect to have another one with milk as my 4pm snack. And maybe I'll let my husband have the one I bought for him.


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  1. I too went to Kitchenette for lunch, and I am now back at my desk nibbling on the "maple bacon snickerdoodle." I love the bacon bits on top, but I have not detected any maple flavor. A bit sweet for my taste (but this is the nature of snickerdoodles.)

    I got the grilled portobello bahn mi. It was tasty, BUT very, very oily. It came on what I think is an Acme torpedo roll, which is a soft roll, unlike the crisper baguette-type rolls that bahn mi typically are made with. It had maybe four slices of grilled eggplant, some thin slices of cucumber, and some julienned carrots, which did have a good pickled flavor. Also, quite a bit of cilantro, and a couple thin rounds of jalapeno. The roll had been grilled on the inside with a nice grill char, but again, I think the contents were swimming in oil. I know that grilled vegetables have some oil, but here even the cilantro was drenched.

    The sandwich also came w/a small cup of rice noodle salad that had a few shreds of green onion, cilantro and I think one very small sprig of broccoli rabe, but again, the noodles, which were al dente, were slick with oil, bland and tasteless.

    I'll need to hear some more positive reports before I go back. There are a few benches to sit on in their carport. No tables. Friendly service - it took about 10 minutes to get my sandwich after I ordered right at 11:30

    1 Reply
    1. re: lmarie

      We must have just missed each other.

      Bummer about the oiliness of the bahn mi, one of the things I loved about the salad was how fresh & healthy it was while still being filling & tasty.

      I did find the maple flavor in the maple-glazed bacon to be pretty subtle. I agree that its a little sweeter than a classic snickerdoodle, although I have had plenty this sweet in the south. That's why the one I have this afternoon will be accompanied by milk. I liked the softness of the cookie and expect to enjoy there less experimental cookies - they appear to have a skilled baker in their group.

    2. link

      958 Illinois Street, San Francisco, CA

      1. This place is fantastic. The menu is one sandwich, one salad, a cookie or two, and a drink every day. Very good quality. They are focusing on local, sustainable food. Also, it's good to know that 100% of their utensils and packaging are compostable.

        Yesterday I had the fatted calf knockwurst on acme roll with sweet onion and spicy pepper relish. It came with a side of fingerling potato salad. Super good.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Shane Greenwood

          Their lunch today looks really good, I may have to trek over there.

          spiced fried chicken sandwich garam masala honey, chicory slaw, fresh coriander…cauliflower-potato salad with fresh turmeric $8.-

          cucumber & chick pea salad crispy greens, spring onions, currants, fresh mint & dill, housemade vinegar-yoghurt dressing $8.-

          chewy lemon-ginger cookies $.50

          meyer lemon-mint refresher $2.-

          1. re: larochelle

            Oh, that sounds fabulous. T line, huh? How long does it take from Embarcadero?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              T to 20th street is about 15 minutes of travel time once you get on the train. The T is marked as the K train and it switches the letter to T at Embarcadero station.

              Go around behind the big office building to the loading docks on Illinois St. You'll see the sign and some really happy eaters on some benches.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I timed it - from the Folsom/Embarcadero stop to the 20th street stop was 15 minutes. I got the food to go and was back at my office building in 45 minutes.

                FYI - Our bldg has a nice rooftop garden that is free of dog poop & bums so if the food travels well, its actually nicer to get it here than in Kitchenette's eating area in their loading dock.

                1. re: larochelle

                  What did you have this time around and how was it? Very excited to try this.

                  1. re: Frosty Melon

                    The salad which was very good. The understand the need for crunch and how to do a well-balanced dressing and to not over-dress.

                    As a fan of Bakesale Betty, I was tempted to try their fried chicken sandwich....but we since we had gone to Blue Bottle for breakfast and had the Humphrey Slocombe secret breakfast affogato & a bacon brioche, I felt like I needed a slightly healthy lunch - haha!

                    Hope you enjoy it. Its great when you find a chef who shares your sensibilities.

          2. You can also check the daily updates on twitter @kitchenettesf

            1. I have been to K'ette twice this week, first on Monday for the CM'sieur + arugula salad [$8]
              and today for the PORCHETTA SANDWICH + faro side salad [$9]

              --The CM sandwich was good, but I've generally liked GREGOIRE sandwiches slightly
              more [usually in the $7-$8 range]. The price-perf was slightly affected by my not
              being a huge fan of the salad, but it is important to qualify that is me and my taste ...
              I'd have rather had a 15% larger sandwich and no salad.

              --Today's Porchetta sandwich was REALLY REALLY good. And this time I thought the
              sandwich and salad proportions were more to my taste.

              Overall: they are putting out sophisticated, good quality product ... this is definitely
              restaurant quality stuff [say compare to 900 Grayson], Gregoire and not "sandwich shop"

              In re: the BSB comment ... I like BSB but the lunch food here is waaaaay better than
              the much talked about BSB chicken sandwich ... not to mention K'ette varies there
              offerings rather than the same thing over and over. On the other hand, I think BSB has
              better baked goods and of course has more variety [based on trying the chocolate
              mint cookie at K'ette]

              3 Replies
              1. re: psb

                I should have been more clear with my Bakesale Betty comment. In no way did I mean to imply that they were similar venues.

                I merely meant that I am a fan of Bakesale Betty's chicken sandwich and that I was tempted to do a Kitchenette v. BSB friend chicken sandwich comparison - how they were the same & how they differed. From the descriptions, there were key differences that would have been interesting.

                1. re: larochelle

                  >I should have been more clear with my Bakesale Betty comment.
                  perhaps i should have as well:
                  i didnt mean to compare the venues, just the sandwiches.
                  but in the case of BSB, "the sandwich' is a constant, while in the K'ette
                  case it is variable, but in my estimation the "mean sandwich" at K'ette is
                  better and the BSB:FriedChicken.

                  Now I dont have a read on the "avg Gregoire sandwich" vs "avg K'ette sandwich",
                  although I'd say they are both reliable, close in price, so ultimately for me it depends
                  whether I am operating out of Potrero Hill of Berkeley that day.

                  1. re: larochelle

                    BSB vs K'ette Fried Chicken Smackdown, anyone?

                    Dogma: Friday 04/17
                    spiced fried chicken sandwich garam masala honey, coriander slaw…
                    chick pea salad with fresh turmeric oil $8.50

                2. Easy now. This place is okay. Had the knockwurst for $8 with a small side of potato salad. That's an AT&T Ballpark price but I'm not sitting between the dugouts. $23 for 2 knocks, 2 lemonades and a tiny bag of pork rinds. That's about $10 too much.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bprecie

                    Not really a good comparison though. Kitchenette's quality and flavor is leaps and bounds above the food at the ballpark. Maybe you're paying a little extra for the quality, but $8-$12 for lunch is about what you'd pay at any place in Dogpatch.

                  2. It was a good thing I didnt try today's K'ette sandwich until I got home
                    because I would have bought either one or two more. It was definitely
                    one of my TOP FIVE sandwiches of all time ... but not #1 tho.
                    It's also a good thing it isnt available every day, because I would
                    eat it "frequently".

                    secret sandwich 4/24/09: corned marin sun farm brisket reuben acme rye,
                    house cured short night farm sauerkraut, onion, farallon island dressing.
                    the potato and pickled ramp side was really good, but compared to the
                    sandwich, forgettable. $8.50.

                    ingredients seem to be of good quality to me, but they are also following
                    the Gregoire Approach of throwing fat at the problem.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: psb

                      Today was my second time at K'ette. Again, the sandwich was an oil/grease bomb. The house-cured brisket was very nice, the cured cabbage/(I wouldn't really call it sauerkraut) wasdelicious. But the bread (Acme rye) had been griddled in a ton of oil to toast it. It was literally soaked w/oil - shining and gleaming with oil, and, except for the crust, it had almost disintegrated by the time I took a bite (and I sat down immediately to eat after it was handed to me.) All the oil obliterated the taste of the rye; I think the "farallon island dressing" was probably mayonnaise-based, and so contributed to the oil factor.

                      Today's Whoopie Pie ($1) was great. I also liked the potato and pickled ramp salad. I really want to love K'ette - the ingredients are delicious and creative, but both times I've had them their sandwiches have been drenched with oil.

                      1. re: lmarie

                        yeah, that is why i added the "giant fat" comment at the end.
                        i took my sandwich home ... i wasnt sure if the extra steaming time in the
                        wrapper affected the structural integrity, but it sounds like that was
                        the way it came ... and it might have bothered me more if i had to
                        eat it at a business lunch.

                        today's s'wich was as good as the best GREGOIRE sandwiches
                        i can remember, better than [flavor] comparable AK subs sandwiches
                        [like the pastrami ... AK subs is slightly larger and cheaper tho] and
                        it was waaaaaay better than CUBANO TRUCK SANDWICH, better
                        than YATS sandwich [although not comparable in sandwich type,
                        both viable lunch options as I live in Potrero Hill], better than the
                        sandwiches I remember at 900 GRAYSON, however it was not better
                        than "The Sandwich" ... my #1 sandwich of all time, but that was $28
                        in a strong dollar regime and was in the 8e in Paris.

                        I guess I need to go try the WOOD TAVERN pastrami sandwich
                        people are talking about.

                        1. re: psb

                          Finally made it to Kitchenette. Did not disappoint! On the menu today was a "freeform asparagus & la quercia prosciutto pizzettas sottocenere, spring onions, arugula $8." Ingredients were utra fresh. The crust was baked beautifully...crispy, yet a bit chewy inside. It was heaped with arugula that was dressed in olive oil, salt and possibly a touch of lemon (or possibly not!). Loved it for the most part, and in particular that it was heaped with flavorful greens, but must agree with previous posts that it would have been just as great and much more healthy with about half of the oil that the greens were dressed in. Thank goodness for the napkins in the car, as I did polish it off immediately! lol!

                          The chocolate brownie (and a steal in this city at 75 cents!) was absolutely divine! Incredibly dense, (suspect little flour used) and a combo of bittersweet and semi-sweet with some small chunks scattered throughout. Delish! Must say, the brownie was a perfect size. (about 2-2.5 square inches and only about 1/2 -3/4 inch thick) I'm thrilled to be able to purchase a brownie in this city that is less than half the price and less than half the size of most...because I can't help myself in eating the whole thing when its that good!

                          Take a jacket! Its chilly while waiting in the shade for your to go box of tastiness!

                      2. re: psb

                        Would you mind listing your other four favorite sandwiches? I am dying to know. I just came back from NY and ate at Katz's deli. Their pastrami reuben might be number 1 for me. I also love the Bay Cities Italian sandwich in LA.

                        1. re: finchycocoa

                          Unlike some other food people, I cant rattle off my Top 5 sandwiches, burgers, steaks, desserts etc. However the undisputed #1 sandwich was a Lobster Club Sandwich.

                          There are two difficulties procuring the #1 sandwich:
                          1. It is out of the area: from the Le Regency Bar/Resto at the Prince de Galles Hotel
                          in the 8e, Paris.
                          2. It is expensive: i think i paid abut $28 for it several years ago when we had a much
                          stronger dollar against the Franc/Euro.


                          I am not familiar with BAY CITY SANDWICH.
                          Have you been to BRENTS DELI in Northridge? I remember having some pretty
                          good sandwiches there too.

                          Some of my favorite Gregoire sandwiches were "fancy ingredient" sandwiches [like smoked salmon], and other were well-executed version of "classics" [like a really, really good BLT].

                          Anyway, I am back in the country, so I will continue to analyze more
                          K'ette sandwiches.