"Local Kitchen & Bar" in Ferndale [DTW]
Some of us are aware that Quit2Chef recently visited Local Kitchen and Bar, signed up for a long estimated wait, left to pass that time, and then returned only to discover the wait was shorter than quoted and that he therefore had lost his place in line, and he was informed as such in a manner he felt to be very rude and unnecessarily punitive. In this regard, I offer the following comments---
Sorry to hear Q2C. I too stopped there, but Friday, while perusing the DIY
Festival. Fortunately for me, the restaurant and festival were slower that eve.
I was expecting LK&B to be hip inside, but I also was expecting the food to not
measure up (kind of how I feel about Bastone). To my surprise, I was very happy
with both my dishes. If they weren’t perfect, I’ll at least say few places in
town would have done them better.
I had the Pig Platter. “Slow cooked and seared pork belly, bbq pulled pork,
porchetta and slaw.” Each was moist and tender, and only faintly accented---left
to stand mostly on its own wonderful pork flavor. My only quibble was that,
while huge in portion, I hadn’t planned to spend $24 menu price. This came with
NO accompaniments, so before I saw its size I decided to order a side, too.
Fried green tomatoes. I’m no expert regarding this side dish, but I found it
defect free. The batter held to the tomato, and it was thin and had no
extraordinary flavor or texture, but was brought to me straight from the fryer
at its peak. Again, wait for it….. three SLICES from a baseball size tomato: $9.
There were a tablespoon or two of stuff around the edges.
The strange thing for me (cheap-o) is that I think I’d actually go back one day
and pay these prices again, hoping to repeat my fortuitous selecting from
whatever will be offered. Not that I’d recommend others do it, particularly
those who got the bad luck of the draw from the hostess service. That LK&B can
charge high prices and still afford to rudely turn people away, tells me either
that DTW diners presently are in a period of intense enthusiasm, or that they
are ignorant or that they simply have little to choose from (or that this place
is headed the way of Emily’s but just not yet apparent). Thoughts?
PS---Q2C, if you do call and give your feedback and you receive a sincerely
strong apology, you may want to give them another chance because this place may
be right up your alley. I’ve gone both ways: been persuaded to give second
chances (Tre Monti), while other times holding fast to my boycott (Andiamo’s).
*Could be*, yes. When Emily's was alive, the prices they had there were so high and a la carte, they'd have made Jim and Mary Lark blush. I honestly tried to go there, but couldn't bring myself to pay those prices. I was neither surprised nor disappointed when Emily's closed.
Tutto Bene was what could only be described as an unmitigated disaster. Somehow, they got Sylvia Rector (IIRC) to rave about the place, and when I went there to try it out, it was barely passable. I half-wondered if they hadn't shilled the review and/or pulled out all the stops for her, knowing who she was. I had the *exact same* (quite pricey) soup that Sylvia raved over, and it was extremely bland. I don't know that additional salt would have saved it, but it certainly couldn't have hurt. It was definitely the kind of experience that made me think, "Well, this is certainly a place I'll never have any reason to come back to." Apparently, I wasn't alone: Tutto Bene was closed within mere months (half a year at most?) of its opening.
Maybe he'll have better and more affordable offerings this time around, but his track record certainly is spotty, and high-priced.
Everyone I know is SO excited for Local Kitchen and Bar! I think Rick's track record is the opposite of "spotty and high priced" I think he is amazingly talented and we are lucky to have him in metro Detroit. I cannot wait for his new restaurant to open. I wish him so much happiness and success.
Side note: Emily's was incredible and the epitome of fine dining and fantastic hospitality and I don't think that anyone who had not had the pleasure of eating there should be making such critical (and false) statements. It was a very sad day for many people when Emily's closed her doors after being in business for a very successful 12 years.
I was there, inside the restaurant, pondering being seated. I've dined far and wide, including at some of the most pricey local places. Emily's *was* significantly pricey, and Tutto Bene was as well. I'll clarify on the "spotty" descriptor: when you open up a restaurant and almost immediately close it down, that's not going to be a mark in your favor. Perhaps Emily's was around for a while, but by the time it went away, it wasn't competitve, price-wise, even with other high end dining.
I do believe that he's got some talent as a chef, yes. Based on what I've experienced, I can't document that talent from what I've eaten.
For the record: you might balk at the term "spotty", but if you can't spot that his places were overpriced, it's time for a reality check. Local Kitchen and Bar may very well be terrific when it arrives, and as always, I judge based on what's there *now*. Still, it's a tough, competitive market, and when you've got as many competitors (both high and low end) in this area as he currently does, one really needs to set oneself apart.
Here's hoping LKAB does, in a great way!