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Kirkland Tap etc

c
Capeannetoo Oct 5, 2013 02:08 PM

Like Craigie a lot. Go maybe monthly. KTT. Loudest room I have ever experienced. Had to scream at each other. Awful. Service soooooo slow, nice but totally disorganized. Need to work out kinks as place mobbed and servers seemed confused. And they stood around a lot. Bluefish rillette exquisite. Spaghetti with chicken livers divine ( who knew). Roast chicken inelegant in presentation ( kinda ugly actually) and just a quartered bird tossed on a plate. Meh at best. Asked for Brussels sprouts..... granted asked after naked chicken appeared. But hey they are Brussels sprouts and they appeared after we were done with half eaten ugly and generally unappetizing said chicken. Screaming out loud us and over the top music caused us to retire to Bergamot for dessert. No recollection of bottle of wine we drank likely due to decibel level brain damage. Really folks?

  1. l
    LeoLioness Oct 5, 2013 02:53 PM

    I didn't find the room itself that loud (and I was there on a busy Friday night) but I did find the loud classic rock really annoying. I don't want to hear Zeppelin blaring while I'm eating a $28 entree.

    9 Replies
    1. re: LeoLioness
      k
      Klunco Oct 5, 2013 03:04 PM

      Don't go to Babbo in NYC.

      1. re: Klunco
        c
        Capeannetoo Oct 5, 2013 03:07 PM

        Been there and don't recall any music / noise of this magnitude. Though I left Babbo not quite knowing what all the fuss was about.

        1. re: Klunco
          Boston_Otter Oct 6, 2013 08:29 AM

          When I went to Babbo it was intensely-blaring AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Guns n' Roses.

          1. re: Boston_Otter
            MC Slim JB Oct 6, 2013 08:37 AM

            Batali is famous for inflicting the music he likes to blare in his kitchen on his guests in the dining room at Babbo, and has been widely copied. I find it obnoxious, myself, an awful trend. I love loud music, but 90-decibel ancient butt-rock when I'm dining out is not ambiance, it's a pox.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB
              opinionatedchef Oct 6, 2013 11:22 AM

              great choice of words.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                Beachowolfe Oct 6, 2013 02:24 PM

                butt-rock ha!

            2. re: Klunco
              v
              valcfield Oct 6, 2013 08:35 AM

              ha. looking at the menu, surprisingly apt comparsion- besides a couple of $34 outliers, babbo's prices are on par with kirkland's. but y'know. casual place. also re: babbo, capeannetoo, when did you go? just curious because they lost their michelin star a while ago, but after years just got it back this past week, so hoping that means it's become something worth the trouble again!

              1. re: valcfield
                c
                Capeannetoo Oct 6, 2013 08:42 AM

                Probably 2 years ago now. We sat downstairs and there was a large party upstairs. Memorable night as an elderly woman had one too many and sorta collapsed on way upstairs. I am in the health biz so went to help. Lasted forever before 2 burly guys ( her relatives) came and carried her UP to the party. Not down and out. Liked the pasta courses best. Rest was ok. Service was good. Always liked OTTO best of Batali bunch and that includes Del Posto.

            3. re: LeoLioness
              jgg13 Oct 5, 2013 09:01 PM

              Hey, it's a casual neighborhood spot

            4. d
              dtremit Oct 6, 2013 11:37 AM

              Similar experience on my recent visit. We were in the back near a speaker and I only made out about half of what anyone at the table was saying.

              At our table we had:

              Squid -- perfectly cooked, admit I'm blanking on the exact presentation
              Spaghetti w/livers and squash -- agree that this is excellent, a perfect way to incorporate seasonal squash without the dish being candy.
              Sprouts -- good but pretty basic and a small portion for sharing

              Pork chop -- this was excellent, giant hunk of meat perfectly cooked, nice grilled onions
              Choucroute -- my entree -- nicely done house-made sausages, kraut, and pork belly. Two complaints: menu says "2 sausages," but it's actually half a link of each. And no potato of substance (I think there might have been a smear of some puree, but it was less than a tablespoon and not enough for me to even be sure what it was.)
              Swordfish chop -- looked excellent, forgot to ask how it was. Very substantial.
              Steak tip brochettes w/ salsa verde -- another hit, cooked just right, and a great sauce.

              Desserts --
              Cornbread pain perdu with raspberries and maple ice cream -- probably the best balanced dish overall.
              Baked apple with caramel of some sort and parsnip ice cream -- the ice cream was a knockout, but preparation was lazy; the apple wasn't cored, which is unforgivable for a $10 dessert.
              Panna cotta -- I'm forgetting the details on this, but no one really liked it much.

              Overall, there were a lot of good *dishes* but it wasn't a very good *meal*. The menu makes it really hard to order a good progression, and the portions are really inconsistent. The spaghetti is substantial; the squid was pretty scarce, and the sprouts were tiny for $8. For dinner, the pork chop and the swordfish chop were about 2x as much food as the steak tips or the choucroute. The desserts are good, but they're not $10 desserts. They either need to step up the execution or reduce the price a bit.

              The other thing that bugged me (and I admit this is personal) was the lack of starch on just about *everything*. A choucroute without potatoes is just bizarre, as are naked steak tips. The only starchy side that could be ordered the night we were there was some sort of a polenta, which really didn't go with either.

              I also have to wonder who is going to pay $6 for a side of mustard or hot sauce.

              Overall, I think the bones are good here; it'll probably be fantastic in a month or two when they work out the issues. Turn down the music, adjust the portions and pricing just a bit, and it'll be a winner.

              23 Replies
              1. re: dtremit
                t
                teezeetoo Oct 6, 2013 01:33 PM

                Too bad on the noise. Just as soon as someone reports that they've toned it down to a conversational level I'll try it. I won't give my money, no matter how good the food, to someplace that makes enjoying a meal with friends a battle. I now ask "how's the noise level" before I ask "how's the food." If the answer to the first question is "loud" I don't bother with the second question.

                1. re: teezeetoo
                  BostonZest Oct 6, 2013 03:16 PM

                  Teezeetoo, I'm with you.

                  I actually keep of list of loud places so I can suggest an alternative when friends bring one of them up for a gathering of the gang.

                  So please fans of this place, let us know when it might be safe for our hearing to enjoy the food. There are so many good places to dine that anyone that might hurt my ears drops to the forbidden list.

                  And, thanks to everyone here who reports on the loud places.

                  Penny
                  http://www.bostonzest.com/

                2. re: dtremit
                  l
                  LeoLioness Oct 6, 2013 02:29 PM

                  I agree that the pork chop was excellent. Tons of flavor. I wasn't wild about the swordfish. I found the fish itself bland and it didn't have any sear on it.

                  I agree that the portion sides here are strange and make it hard to order. The pork chop is enormous, the brussel sprouts were tiny. A starter of grilled sardines was decently-sized at 3.

                  My friends and I were also puzzled by the $6 side of mustard. Yeah, I know, it's not like they will be spooning Gray Poupon into a ramekin. But charging for condiments? That's a thing now?

                  1. re: dtremit
                    Boston_Otter Oct 6, 2013 05:48 PM

                    Did the choucroute come with any condiments at all for the sausages/pork, or did you have to pay $6 for mustard for it?

                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                      d
                      dtremit Oct 8, 2013 10:12 PM

                      Oddly enough, it came with some sort of mustard on the plate -- though it wasn't in the description.

                    2. re: dtremit
                      opinionatedchef Oct 6, 2013 09:10 PM

                      great of you to take the time for these details.thx much.
                      i am totally in agreement re the starch issue, and along that note, wanted to encourage you to try Sycamore, where the Daily Board (duck or lamb or pork or...)is made up of 3 or 4 small groups of protein,starch,veg,condiments ( intended for two people.) Really enjoy this idea.

                      1. re: dtremit
                        jgg13 Nov 8, 2013 12:45 PM

                        Apparently they've ceased charging for mustard. I just got an email from their mailing list which among other things involved patting themselves on the back for giving people free ketchup & mustard.

                        1. re: jgg13
                          k
                          katzzz Nov 8, 2013 05:04 PM

                          LOL!

                          1. re: jgg13
                            v
                            valcfield Nov 8, 2013 05:22 PM

                            yea but the real part of that email i want is the $39 bottle of negroni (wine bottle size) on mondays. if that's a 750 ml bottle that's a crazy deal, and could be a lot of fun.

                            1. re: valcfield
                              MC Slim JB Nov 8, 2013 06:03 PM

                              Probably cannot legally be served to one person. I recall reading about Drink running into similar issues with their punch bowls.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                v
                                valcfield Nov 8, 2013 06:10 PM

                                probably for the best. if they're true to proportions that's ~8.4 oz each gin, campari, vermouth. maybe if it were craigie and you were sticking around for a tasting menu you could comfortably pull that off over dinner but otherwise...

                                1. re: valcfield
                                  k
                                  Klunco Nov 8, 2013 07:47 PM

                                  Keep in mind that if it's prebottled and mixed, that would imply it's "mixed" ie. 25% of that bottle should be water to account for dilution that would occur in mixing.

                                  So, 6.3 ounces water/Campari/gin/vermouth. A cool concept and reminds me of a bottled Americano I had at Clyde Common in Portland a couple years ago. I wonder it it comes in an ice bucket.

                                  1. re: Klunco
                                    v
                                    valcfield Nov 8, 2013 08:09 PM

                                    Good point! Totally didn't think about that. Now we're down to numbers I've regrettably enjoyed, hougj over a night, not a casual (lengthwise) dinner!

                              2. re: valcfield
                                jgg13 Nov 8, 2013 06:15 PM

                                Kidding aside, that did piqué my interest.

                                1. re: jgg13
                                  hotoynoodle Nov 9, 2013 07:02 AM

                                  it's illegal to offer a one-night drink special.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                    jgg13 Nov 9, 2013 07:36 AM

                                    Woah, good point.

                                    I wonder if it costs the same as X negronis, which would make it more just a clever way of serving something once a week but at the same price.

                                    Are the anti-fun laws here based on unit price or would "on tuesdays we serve the beer in a stein!" fall under this umbrella?

                                    1. re: jgg13
                                      hotoynoodle Nov 9, 2013 08:01 AM

                                      a drink special has to be available for an entire business week period, at all hours of operation.

                                      even if they are not promoting it for other days,as long as you also can get that pitcher on wed or fri they are clear.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                        jgg13 Nov 9, 2013 08:07 AM

                                        Right but that's not quite what I meant.

                                        Suppose a place sells a pint of beer for $5 normally. Would it be against the law for them to sell a pitcher containing 4 beers on Monday for $20?

                                        Its a "special" in that you can't get the pitcher on other days, but not a special based on price.

                                        Of course, all this is academic if the price of their negronis doesn't work out this way :)

                                        1. re: jgg13
                                          hotoynoodle Nov 9, 2013 02:41 PM

                                          as long as the alcohol content and price skew upwards equally, it's legal.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            jgg13 Nov 10, 2013 12:46 PM

                                            Got it. So as long as they're on the up & up, it's really just the novelty of getting the negroni in a wine bottle

                                            1. re: jgg13
                                              hotoynoodle Nov 10, 2013 01:21 PM

                                              doing the math on that deal it hardly seems like that can be the normal negroni price on other days. haven't been yet, but my assumption is that drink prices are not bargain-basement?

                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                jgg13 Nov 10, 2013 02:23 PM

                                                My assumption is that it's not on the up & up, just trying to figure out if it could be

                                                1. re: jgg13
                                                  hotoynoodle Nov 10, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                  it's just dumb.

                                                  there was a south end place a few years back that actually placed an ad either in stuff or the improper about their "wine mondays." abcc was down there the next day, lol.

                          2. g
                            Gabatta Oct 6, 2013 05:54 PM

                            Thanks, these reports are helpful. We were going to try it out next weekend, but will hold off for awhile. We switched our reservation to Rendezvous which we know will be excellent.

                            The $6 for mustard seems preposterous, particularly given the base prices. We always found Craigie to be extremely aggressive on the upsell, so not a total surprise.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Gabatta
                              m
                              MXG Oct 7, 2013 10:08 AM

                              $6 mustard is insane! That just seems greedy. I'm putting Kirkland Tap on my list of places where the price is not worth it to me.

                              Honestly, last time I went to NYC (Greenwich Village, Upper West Side), I found the prices for food and drink to be *lower* than places in Harvard Square.

                              1. re: MXG
                                b
                                Blumie Oct 7, 2013 10:34 AM

                                "Honestly, last time I went to NYC (Greenwich Village, Upper West Side), I found the prices for food and drink to be *lower* than places in Harvard Square."

                                I think you will find that wherever you go you will find some places that are more expensive and some places that are less. (As someone who lives mostly in NYC, though, I will tell you that NYC is both the most expensive and the least expensive place to live. I can, for example, pay $30 for a pizza Lucali, or $1 for a huge slice at Two Bros.)

                                1. re: MXG
                                  MC Slim JB Oct 7, 2013 10:58 AM

                                  I don't spend as much time currently in New York as in past years, but my sense is that the middle tier offers a lot more strong values than Boston.

                                  But it's always worth noting: New York is 13 times our size and has constituencies to support a very high-end tier and a much larger high-end tier -- which I believe lifts the whole scene overall in ways that go beyond mere scale -- that our little city cannot support.

                                  Comparisons are always meat for long threads, but ultimately it is an apples and oranges argument, or, if you prefer, apples and beans.

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                    r
                                    retrofabulousity Oct 7, 2013 02:41 PM

                                    It's very inaccurate to say NY is 13 times Boston's size; you have to compare metro areas in which case the ratio is much smaller.

                                    Of course NYC is still going to be another world for the reasons you mentioned as well as the difference in culture the people who live there themselves (beyond socio-economic status and income which is alone rather considerable for the higher end)

                                    1. re: retrofabulousity
                                      MC Slim JB Oct 7, 2013 10:01 PM

                                      Pick your multiplier. My point there is that the scale and density difference is really significant, though as I mentioned, not the only big differentiator that makes meaningful ours-vs.-theirs comparisons problematic.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        r
                                        retrofabulousity Oct 7, 2013 10:16 PM

                                        I agreed that the scale matters as well as other factors but there's a pretty big difference between a 4 to 1 ratio and a 13 to 1 ratio which makes it seem like Boston is much smaller than it actually is.

                                        1. re: retrofabulousity
                                          MC Slim JB Oct 8, 2013 06:26 AM

                                          The counter-argument is that most restaurants of consequence are concentrated in, for lack of a better word, downtown, not the suburbs, so restaurant density vs. city-limits population, or even a subset of that, the key dining-out neighborhoods, is the real significant comparative measure, not metro-area population. Now you're looking at closer to 13x than 4x, I'm guessing.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            b
                                            Blumie Oct 8, 2013 07:36 AM

                                            While there is, of course a big difference between 4x and 13x, anyone who spends considerable time in both cities knows that NYC (and its restaurant scene) is exponentially larger than Boston's. Mind you, I'm not making a qualitative judgement, just a quantitative one. And it certainly feels a lot more like there are 13x the options in NYC, not 4x. But at the end of the day, the comparison is unproductive. When I'm in Cambridge, I'm not going to NY for dinner, and vice versa. Boston is rightfully proud of its dining scene; we have an embarrassment of riches, especially when one considers what our options were when I was a kid.

                                    2. re: MC Slim JB
                                      m
                                      MXG Oct 7, 2013 03:06 PM

                                      True about the NY scene. The thing is - a pound of mustard seeds is $6 retail. Prepared mustard is mustard seeds + a liquid (water, vinegar, wine, beer) + two days + grinding. It seems petty to charge for this.

                                      I'm sure they'll find paying customers who want to fork over cash for mustard to have with their sausage (Who knows what the ketchup price is at this place?). Just not me.

                                      1. re: MXG
                                        m
                                        Madrid Oct 7, 2013 04:39 PM

                                        surcharge for bringing your own mustard? other condiments? I do have a small pepper grinder I bring along sometimes.... but the 99 has pepper grinders at each table.

                                2. v
                                  valcfield Oct 7, 2013 05:26 AM

                                  For those who had the brussels (which i saw from a specials board were listed as duck fat brussels)- are these the same portion as Craigie (which i think also cost $8)? Bigger? Smaller? Or, in other words, is the issue 'merely' that he's charging Craigie prices at Kirkland (which is supposed to be more casual), or that it is in fact worse than what you'd get at Craigie, for an equivalent price?

                                  1. m
                                    mkfisher Oct 7, 2013 11:03 AM

                                    I do know the folks at the Wine & Cheese Cask are not fans. They're getting a lot of KT&T customers parking in their lot. So much so that there were no empty spots when I went by to grab a bottle of wine a few weeks back. There are loads of metered spaces down Beacon people!

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: mkfisher
                                      MC Slim JB Oct 7, 2013 11:32 AM

                                      I would think that a little aggressive towing would take care of that. Kirkland should do the neighborly thing and put up a sign at their host stand, too.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      1. re: mkfisher
                                        l
                                        LeoLioness Oct 7, 2013 12:02 PM

                                        That's weird that this one restaurant causes a problem but not the others on the same block?

                                        1. re: LeoLioness
                                          MC Slim JB Oct 7, 2013 12:04 PM

                                          Dalí, for one, has such a sign.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            l
                                            LeoLioness Oct 7, 2013 12:18 PM

                                            Ah. Well that makes sense, then. Although anyone fool enough to think parking in another business's lot is fine deserves to get towed, Kirkland should also hang a sign, as you suggested.

                                            1. re: LeoLioness
                                              d
                                              devilham Oct 7, 2013 06:41 PM

                                              I hate people who do that

                                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                                              k
                                              kewpie Oct 7, 2013 10:09 PM

                                              bergamot has their own lot( the entire buildings, but not a lot of other businesses' there-- they also have the option of the vast 3 story( NEVER EVEN HALF FULL)-- garage.
                                              its actually part of the whole reason they set up, where they did
                                              P A R K I N G

                                              1. re: kewpie
                                                g
                                                Gabatta Oct 8, 2013 04:23 AM

                                                The parking lot is fine, but I have never failed to find a street spot immediately in that area, whether on Beacon or Kirkland. The people parking in the Wine Cask's lot are just typical lazy, entitled, d-bags; and they deserve to be towed. I am sure Kirkland will have a sign soon. They are still working out the opening details, and surely don't want to be a bad neighbor.

                                                1. re: kewpie
                                                  chickendhansak Oct 9, 2013 10:57 PM

                                                  The same parking lot is legit for customers of The Kebab Factory, too.

                                          2. k
                                            katzzz Oct 8, 2013 08:16 AM

                                            Let me start off by saying that I have not been to Kirkland Tap, but after reading about $6 mustard, etc., I'm in no hurry to check it out. I was intrigued by the initial concept, but I can't help but feel turned off by the distance between the blather on the website and the reality of the menu.
                                            On the home page intro, we are informed that KTT is "Chef Tony Maws’ inviting and funky interpretation of a neighborhood joint. Our food is simple, hearty and approachable....Tony has designed an affordable menu, making it easy to eat here often."
                                            Sounds promising. But a click on the menu shows food priced $13-28 and desserts at $10 a pop. That doesn't fit into my definition of a "funky" "neighborhood joint." I suspect the neighborhood people who eat there often will be the ones with trust funds. And that the denizens of the Kirkland Cafe wouldn't recognize the place.
                                            All of this is not to say that Maws shouldn't open any kind of restaurant he wants, but why pretend that it's something other than another spot for the well-off?

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: katzzz
                                              MC Slim JB Oct 8, 2013 09:13 AM

                                              I'm hard-pressed to think of a more common marketing lie in the middle tier of the restaurant business than "affordable". The good news is that it's much easier nowadays to gauge ahead of time whether their idea of affordable matches yours. Whether the place is a good value is another question entirely.

                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                d
                                                dtremit Oct 8, 2013 10:21 PM

                                                I hear you, but I don't understand the motivation behind it. Harping endlessly on how affordable you're going to be and then putting out $25 entrees (that don't stand alone) is just begging for unnecessary criticism. I know those expectations colored my experience of the restaurant.

                                                I'd contrast it with someplace like West Bridge, which is in almost exactly the same price bracket; it doesn't pretend to be something it isn't, and I've frankly never given much thought to the price.

                                                1. re: dtremit
                                                  MC Slim JB Oct 8, 2013 10:42 PM

                                                  I think the rationale might be something like, "Lure them in with a false promise of modest prices, sell them on the value once they're in."

                                                  I have long mocked Ken Oringer here for his pre-opening lie that Toro's average check size would be under $25. It wasn't, and ain't, but maybe that claim made it easier for the curious but dubious -- his only other restaurant at that point was the very expensive, fancy, oft-described-as-pretentious Clio -- to come in early on.

                                                  Toro hasn't had an idle moment since: the market's judgment of the obviously higher average check size is that it's a value. Looks like the NYC clone is killing it, too.

                                                  When Maws says "casual, neighborhood" and charges upwards of thirty bucks for an entree, that's an obvious marketing lie, at least as I define a neighborhood joint. The question remains: is it a value?

                                                  As Toro shows, the early marketing can be utter bullshit, but that doesn't mean the place isn't great. I found Toro to be pretty rough in kitchen execution and featuring ridiculous wine prices and a shitty cocktail program in its early days, but it got steadily better over time.

                                                  This, like Toro, is a first second restaurant from a chef/owner who has gotten a lot of acclaim and attention early on. Maws could do a lot worse than hitting Toro-level heights. But there's no guarantee he can make two places a hit the first time out. Consider Lumiere, Persephone, and Area Four, among many other examples.

                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                    jgg13 Oct 9, 2013 05:22 AM

                                                    Are you talking about the A4 pizza place? It's packed every time I walk by

                                                    1. re: jgg13
                                                      MC Slim JB Oct 9, 2013 08:05 AM

                                                      Tha analogy there was that Leviton was successful with his first restaurant, but his first attempt at a second restaurant failed. The third time was the charm. Looks like #4 is doing well early on, too.

                                                      Lots of first-time second restaurants either opened recently or are about to, kind of a thing this year.

                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                        jgg13 Oct 9, 2013 09:57 AM

                                                        I see, I think. I read that as you suggesting A4's new place isn't doing well.

                                                        It certainly could be brought up as another "neighborhood" place with high prices, it ain't cheap. Although I don't think they ever advertised a milder price point but rather described (and delivered) things which could easily imply the lower price point - like e Atari games

                                                    2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                      m
                                                      mkfisher Oct 9, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                      In my eyes at least, the failure with Perspehone was mostly a location thing. Leviton was just a little early on that area. Opposite was true with A4, as he hit that neighborhood at an ideal time. The execution of both places feel rather comparable to me. More importantly, this reminds me how much I miss the pretzel nuggets with pimento cheese dip that A4 carried over from Persephone. The garlic knots on the current iteration of the menu aren't nearly as good.

                                                      1. re: mkfisher
                                                        MC Slim JB Oct 9, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                        Agreed: ahead of its time in the Fort Point area. Getting the second restaurant right is hard for a lot of reasons. I imagine it wouldn't be tough to come up with a long list of successful restaurateurs that struggled and failed with the second child.

                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                        1. re: mkfisher
                                                          opinionatedchef Nov 8, 2013 11:11 PM

                                                          garlic knots, qu'est-ce que c'est? one of the Ribelle threads mentions them as well.

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                            t
                                                            teezeetoo Nov 9, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                            at Ribelle's they are wonderful braids of bread coated, I think, with garlic butter and served with super yummy marinara sauce. Taste a little like Clear Flour's black sesame sticks to me.

                                                        2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                          a
                                                          ac106 Oct 9, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                          This whole discussion makes me wish there was a sort of salary cap for restaurants I love to see what maws or oringer could do if they were forced to limit every entrée to $15. Forcing them to make the ordinary exceptional

                                                          1. re: ac106
                                                            l
                                                            LeoLioness Oct 9, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                            I'm pretty sure he could do just that, but I can't really fault him for wanting to make more money than that.

                                                    3. re: katzzz
                                                      d
                                                      dulce de leche Oct 9, 2013 12:00 PM

                                                      FWIW, I agree on the prices being too high for people in this (my) neighborhood to make it a weekly place.

                                                      But two counter points which do make it a nice neighborhood place:

                                                      1) they explicitly make families & kids welcome, which is not automatically the same of COM or the average restaurant at that price point or serving that level of food.

                                                      2) it is big enough that reservations are not necessary, and you can walk over at the spur of the moment.

                                                      1. re: dulce de leche
                                                        l
                                                        LeoLioness Oct 9, 2013 12:21 PM

                                                        Re: your second point, iIs that true yet? When I went (admittedly, the first week it was open and on a Friday) they were turning away any walk-ins after about 8 or 8:30.

                                                        1. re: LeoLioness
                                                          d
                                                          dulce de leche Oct 9, 2013 01:52 PM

                                                          Well I admit I have a data set of only one point--we went on a recent Friday at about 5:45 pm and it was wide open and we left at 7:15 pm and it was still only about 2/3 full.

                                                          They were very welcoming to our kids, and didn't blink as our group assembled over a half hour. No angst over having to have the whole party there before getting seated. "Casual", you know.

                                                          Everyone found something to eat they really liked, little kid and teen. (I thought both the sardines and the grilled corn were especially good.) It was, at $100, just too much to spend for us on a "I don't feel like cooking tonight" basis.

                                                          Walking over to sit at the bar after the kids are in bed, knowing I'll get a really nice cocktail, that's probably what it will end up being for. Bergamot is also good for that, but I feel a little like I'm crashing someone's wedding when I go there and sit at the bar. KT&T could hit the spot between that and the mad circus of Dali.

                                                          1. re: dulce de leche
                                                            l
                                                            LeoLioness Oct 9, 2013 02:00 PM

                                                            Ah, I wasn't thinking about bedtimes and such. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't already a mob scene when I went early. I really enjoyed my cocktails (the one with cucumber rye and chartreuse) and remember Sean as being a friendly, competent bartender at the Independent. I'll probably also use it for an after work drink-and-snack place, it was also just a bit too much $$ for me.

                                                            Totally agree with you about the bar at Bergamot! Shame because I do like the bar menu, cocktails and service, but it's such a tiny space and hit-or-miss for seating and you're right, it can feel a bit wedding reception-y in there.

                                                    4. ebone Oct 10, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                      Did anyone truly think this place would be affordable in the "I don't feel like cooking dinner, so I will just go down the street to ......." sense? Honestly now.

                                                      For background, I have only been to K T&T once, and only for cocktails, but my general perspective was to compare it to Craigie. In my mind I viewed it as a way to get Tony Maws' food, at a lower price-point than Craigie. Does that make is "affordable" in a grand sense? Not really, no, but that was my expectation going in. Maybe they should adjust their marketing materials accordingly:

                                                      "Kirkland Tap and Trotter, your affordable* neighborhood hangout..."

                                                      *relative to Craigie on Main

                                                      I enjoyed the place, the bartender was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the restaurant and the menu etc. This led me to assume they put an emphasis on service and in training their people (Craigie also has great service, in my experience). I liked the vibe and the decor too. I would go back, but I wouldn't view it as a place where I am getting out of there for much under $100 for two, and frankly, I never expected anything different.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: ebone
                                                        d
                                                        dulce de leche Oct 10, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                        Did anyone truly think this place would be affordable in the "I don't feel like cooking dinner, so I will just go down the street to ......." sense? Honestly now.
                                                        -----------------------

                                                        Is that meant to be rhetorical? I think that price point would different for different people. There's a pretty wide range of incomes in this neighborhood.

                                                        We actually spent $100 for four of us--two cocktails, a juice maybe? the spaghetti, sardines, hamburger, and corn and all were well-fed. That's roughly what we spent as a couple the one time we went to COM.

                                                        1. re: dulce de leche
                                                          ebone Oct 10, 2013 08:31 AM

                                                          It was in response to what seemed to be sticker shock by folks on this thread. That it is not truly affordable or a neighborhood joint, the way it was characterized in its marketing.

                                                          1. re: ebone
                                                            p
                                                            pocketviking Oct 10, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                            Most of the contention seems to be about the marketing, and that's very fair criticism. The food's delicious (in my two visits, anyway), the room is comfortable and fun, but this is not the "local" advertised and hyped. New publicist?

                                                        2. re: ebone
                                                          d
                                                          dtremit Oct 10, 2013 11:29 PM

                                                          I feel like it's not a *meaningfully* lower price point, honestly. By the time you order a starter, entree, and dessert at KT&T, you're looking at a spread of $47-54. The prix fixe at Craigie is $67, and represents a heck of a lot more substantial experience than you're getting at KT&T. And the $25 entrees don't really stand alone, which is something I kind of expect at a "casual" place.

                                                          I'd be perfectly happy if it was a place where you could just barely squeak by under $100 for two; that's kind of what I expected. The reality is a place where -- once you add in drinks and tax and tip -- you can just barely squeak by under $150 for two for the full experience.

                                                          Looking at a lighter meal, the smaller plates aren't substantial enough to be a main, and the bigger plates aren't complete without an $8 side. Throw in a single cocktail, and even then, you're looking at $50pp after tax and tip even if you skip the starter and dessert.

                                                        3. m
                                                          mkfisher Oct 11, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                          Guessing this isn't an issue just with KT&T/in Boston. Brett Anderson (New Orleans restaurant critic, who spent some time at Harvard recently) just Tweeted this.

                                                          "@BrettJAnderson: I've been crunching the numbers: The "cheap" restaurants run by people whose other restaurants are fancy are the new mid-priced restaurants"

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: mkfisher
                                                            k
                                                            Klunco Oct 11, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                            I wonder if we could consider Ad Hoc in Yountville the original expensive "casual" restaurant.

                                                            1. re: mkfisher
                                                              MC Slim JB Oct 11, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                              This is an old story, isn't it? In Boston, second restaurants from locally celebrated chefs include Figs, The Butcher Shop, Toro, Ashmont Grill, Blue Dragon, Area Four, Teatro, Sofra, Trade, Via Matta, Summer Shack. I'm sure I'm missing a few. A lot of these places that were billed as "affordable neighborhood spots" stretch the notion of what's affordable.

                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                b
                                                                Blumie Oct 11, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                I recall reading a piece in the NYTimes or WSJ many years ago indicating that chefs of top-tier restaurants who open second, more casual locations typically make a lot more money at the second location than the first. Even though the price point and average check is lower, they can turn the tables much more quickly, which is a key to success in the restaurant business.

                                                            2. gini Oct 16, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                              We ended up at Kirkland last night with a group of 6 around 10pm for a late dinner.

                                                              The good:
                                                              Grilled Vadouvan Lamb Ribs, bull’s horn peppers - fatty, gamey, yes

                                                              The fine:
                                                              duck fat roasted brussel sprouts - I mean, they're good, but not transcendental

                                                              The terrible:
                                                              Grilled Grass-fed Hamburger, provolone, horseradish cream - the meat was completely unseasoned. I repeat - there was no seasoning in the patty. So that was terrible. Nice fried, thick chips though.

                                                              The place was relatively deserted at that time of night. Service was friendly and professional. The menu was incredibly limited for my vegetarian friend - just two salads and some grilled corn - he ended up with just a cocktail and most of the bread basket. For the rest of us - I appreciated the interesting small plates, though I was satisfied with a small plate and 1/3 of a side for dinner, so they're not exactly made for sharing.

                                                              I could see going back to try a little more of the menu, but there are taverns nearby that I prefer.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: gini
                                                                v
                                                                valcfield Oct 16, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                did your friend ask if they could augment anything to make it vegetarian? Maws tends to make a big deal on social media about making accomodations for vegetarian/vegan etc., so wondering if they have anything off menu for those sorts, or if they're just not (at the moment) as accomodating at kt&t

                                                                1. re: valcfield
                                                                  gini Oct 16, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                  Yes. They said they could cook the brussel sprouts in olive oil instead.

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