Kenny's Kult - awakening
I think I woke up when the waiter stammered, "Sysco!" "That's it."
He had been standing there a full minute trying to remember where the cheesy garlic bread had been sourced from. I had only asked because I knew La Spiga in Addison provided their buns for Kenny's burger place in Plano, and a provided a few other products for his wood-fire grill concept on Beltline. He seemed not to notice my fading smile and disappointed look, not to mention my empty water glass and went merrily on his way.
It was an awakening of sorts.
It seems I had been in a deep sleep, lulled there by Plugra packets and promises of popovers warm from the oven.
It was 8pm, Friday night and we were at Kenny's Italian Kitchen in Addison. I looked around at the Disneyesque flare adorning everything, the packed restaurant, wine glasses on eveyone's table, huge plates smelling of melted cheese and garlic, seemingly floating around the room as servers held the dishes high. From my vantage point in the far corner opposite the kitchen I could see the entire restaurant. People were definitely digging this place.
I, on the other hand, not so much. It reminded me of Olive Garden in the 90s. Brand new concept, everyone excited about the new Italian food place, but in the end it just didn't live up to the hype nor the prices.
Husband got the tilapia picatta and I the chicken parm, both came with a side of spaghetti. We also ordered the aforementioned cheesy garlic bread. The garlic bread tasted like bottled Italian salad dressing. The tilapia dish looked a bit more promising. It came with 3 filets covered with a picatta sauce was that was so tart and briny and you could barely tast the fish. It seemed there was no seasoning on the tasteless fish, the capers overwhelmed the dish, and I am usually a fan of this picant dish. The chicken parmesan reminded me of the stouffer's entrees I ate before I realized how much sodium is in frozen food. Two huge, tough, overly breaded pieces of chicken sandwiched on top of each other with cheese, a thin layer of sauce and then what seemed like a quarter inch of melted cheese on the top with another thin spattering of sauce. The entire point of chicken parmesan was ruined under the steam of that cheese. Where is the crunch of the breading, against the sauce and the melty, cheesy, garlicy goodness? Where was the flavor? Why did everything need salt and beg for a dash of red pepper? I felt robbed. As I walked out with my doggy bag with half my dinner, I noticed how many other tabletops had the same plastic bag.
Did Kenny sell his soul to Brinker International? Does the new restaurant mogul have dollar signs in his eyes from too many 30 thousand dollar millionaires telling him he is hot? Or is it the plastic faced, old money, geriatric crowd who prefer their pasta well done and their food mild telling him he can't miss? Either way, I realized I couldn't ask him. He wasn't there.
I would mostly agree with your review. I think he is doing average Italian yes with a gravy more akin to the east coast Italian, but still pretty average. For the price of a meal at Kenny's Italian, I could pretty much eat at Kenny's wood fired grill. I cannot imagine how they can make a go of it, not at it's present quality anyhow.