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Kirkland Tap!

Anyone recently been to Kirkland? Have they worked out the "new restaurant kinks" yet? Have a friend insisting on going for a little Christmas repast. What am I looking at? Haven't heard much mention lately.
Hope to Enjoy,

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  1. I went this week and thought it was fine. The space is really nice. Very warm and welcoming. The bartending is stellar. Super friendly service, interesting delicious drinks. The food is just okay. Not bad, but $8 brussels sprouts should be fantastic (or at least very good) not "fine". The rest was about the same. The quality of the food seems more like what I'd expect from a pretty affordable pub rather than a place with these prices. Though the plating is quite fancy. :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: maillard

      Thanks. The Globe's recent review made it sound like the next best thing! Doesn't sound like it knocked you out.

      1. re: CocoDan

        All the price comments will keep me away from this place. I'll just keep going to Highland Kitchen, which is awesome and affordable.

        1. re: David_A

          i've been a couple times now and i don't think this place can sustain what they're doing... i agree with what's been said; the food is "fine," the service good, but at the current price point things just don't add up.

          1. re: David_A

            i haven't tried any of the larger plates on the menu, but i think that, as with many shared-plates type places, there are some great values, and some not-so-great. The chicken wings at the bar (done sort of street-corn style with cotija and corn, iirc, as well as green chile sauce) were incredibly reasonably priced and delicious. The lamb ribs were quite good as well, though they were on the more borderline side value-wise.

            In other news, as an aside, I think perhaps the most interesting part of kt&t is that it is not just a markedly different style of cooking for Maws, but (just based on those two dishes), a very different set of flavor profiles than is on display at Craigie (and, by multiple visits and menu stalking, really hasn't changed that much over the last couple years).

            For someone who was so formerly averse to opening up a second spot, it seems kt&t has done a good job for helping him up his game creatively.

            Of course, as I said, that's based off a someone limited experience with the kt&t menu, so I'd be interested to hear from others if they feel similarly.

            1. re: David_A

              The price points if the places that are opening up recently are too rich for my blood.

        2. Thank to all for he comments. I'm really not that blown away by the menu, but am willing to give it a try based on high succeses at Craigie.

          1. I went last week and thought it was awesome. I hadn't realized how big that space was.

            The swordfish chops were the highlight for me. I've never had that preparation and normally avoid swordfish on restaurant menus at all coat for fear of a dense, dry hunk. Second was the excellent spaghetti dish that has gotten raves, followed by the juicy, fatty lamb ribs. My friend enjoyed his cheeseburger (but didn't share).

            I'm missing a few things that were good but not on the highlight reel. I think the terrine, an off-menu mixed green salad (by request to cut some of the heaviness and cheerfully accommodated), a fish dish, and the pumpkin stew (which really was a highlight but has rotated off the menu).

            Good cocktails, nice beer list. The bag or bat shots were cute, cold, light, on the sweet side. Pleasant service. Packed with Harvardians (specifically, not just Cantabrigians) on the late weeknight we went, so I think they will fare well, despite the price tag.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CportJ

              I completely agree, except I LOVED the spagetti dish, with the sword chop coming in second. Very pleasant service when I was there.

            2. That kielbasa with the sauerkraut and mustards is a real treat.

              1. The grilled salmon head is fantastic.

                1. The front-row kitchen seats are a lot of fun. A pork chop special was juicy and good. Sides of polenta and brussels sprouts were fine. Great environment though and super-welcoming service. Look forward to trying again.

                  1. Went last night and overall had a great time.

                    We had a trotter special, which was an app sized affair w/ 3 patties & a remoulade type sauce, the brussels, the spaghetti dish & the pork chop special. Also had the port soaked apple dessert.

                    The pork chop was the star of the show, it'd been a while since either of us have had a pork chop that good. Granted YMMV based on how well it is cooked, but ours was perfectly done.

                    I really liked the spaghetti but was slightly disappointed but IMO only because my expectations had been set unrealistically high due to chatter online. She thought it was fantastic.

                    I liked both the trotter & brussels but neither were super-duper-awesome, just tasty and solid.

                    The port soaked apple dessert was really good.

                    Cocktails were good (FYI, the standard negroni is $11. I forget what the price for the 750 was but it turns out to be only 10pm+). I had a dessert cocktail that was like a chocolate egg cream but using a chocolate amaro. It was good, not great - at first I dug it but it got a bit old after a while. Kudos to the server for recognizing that (he said it was new) and asking me for feedback on it.

                    Service was really good, exuberant without being annoying about it.

                    All in all it was a great time. It does still seem odd to be paying nearly craigie prices (our tab for 2 was more than what we'd typically rack up at CoM bar, for instance) for a much more casual experience. Personally I like the un-stuffy atmosphere but there's still some cognitive dissonance involved w/ atmosphere vs. price. That's how life is these days though.

                    1. Went last night and disappointed, especially in the service. Was looking forward to a casual place with great food, and having enjoyed Craigie on Main, thought this would be perfect for a recovering from the holidays date night. Food was fine, but nothing special and one dish was really not even good ( some sort of vegetable stew that was an incoherent mess). For the prices one can get a much better meal elsewhere ($130 for 2 with 2 glasses of wine or beer each, no dessert). I get that the servers are supposed to look faux Brooklyn hipster, but that doesn't mean you forget
                      a basic rule of service and bring all the dishes at once. We felt very rushed even though the dining room was only half full at best. Would not go back.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: skimom

                        Doesn't the menu specifically say dishes come out as they are cooked and not all at once?

                        1. re: CocoDan

                          So did you end up going? What did you think?

                          1. re: maillard

                            Friend from the Cape that was interested in going could not get here because of the inclement weather last week. Will try again soon and report back. I'm not particularly jumping up and down about going after the mixed reviews here.
                            Hope to Enjoy,

                        2. I went with a friend on Wednesday with high expectations and expecting to like it. I'd give it a weak thumbs up ... the food was great (a burger and exceptional fries, purslane salad, pork chop, etc.. I think my wine was corked as it was strangely flat, but I wasn't sure enough to say something, which I really should have. The service, not so great. I know it was just one server who could have been in a bad mood and we all have our days, but she was just not what I expected. All went well until the upsell .. we ordered our food and she tried to push some sides on us "most people order some sides with their meal. Our $10 corn on the cob is great..." We had ordered a salad and drinks so we weren't being stingy, but whatever. I politely refused and asked if there was as bread basket or something while we waited? She mumbled she would see if she could get me a slice so clearly I was asking something out of order. I felt like there was just some basic lack of disconnection, that she was more annoyed by us since we weren't big spenders and after that she gave us the bare minimum of attention. This type of thing happened several times during the meal, like when she offered a refill on my wine and she seemed to misunderstand that I had said no. I'd go back for the food, but if I got the same waiter I would ask to switch. I don't mind an upsell as long as it is done relatively smoothly and with no annoyance if I don't cooperate. I expected more from this place.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dillard

                            Thanks. Interesting post!

                          2. I have been several times and developed a complicated opinion of the place. The food has always been really good, and generally interesting and memorable. Wine and cocktails have also been very good. The menu is structured to push you to order many things, and the bill adds up quickly even though most items are not expensive individually. The environment is noisy and hectic, and occasionally smoky from the kitchen. This adds up to a mixed experience for me: the bill always feels larger than I want it to be for the kind of loud casual and sometimes uncomfortable experience, even though the food and drink more than justify their prices. I always leave feeling satisfied but vaguely rubbed the wrong way. I expect to be back, as I live quite close, but not all that often.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: jajjguy

                              I actually visit Kirkland more than I thought I would. The service is always very friendly and they love my kids in there. There is none of the annoying Craigie vibe in the service or atmosphere. More importantly the adults and kids all love the food. I can't think of any dishes which have been misses there. The grilled salmon head and burger are both standouts, though we are really looking forward to the short rib returning to the menu. I don't have an issue with the prices as the quality is there. It is pricier than Highland Kitchen, but not by too much.

                              1. re: black_lab

                                Interesting comparison. I find the environment similar at Kirkland and Highland, in both cases noisier and more crowded than I usually like -- that's a personal preference of course. I agree the service is quite good at Kirkland.

                                1. re: jajjguy

                                  And unlike Highland, you can make a reservation. I'm getting too old and cranky to go places where I can't.

                                  1. re: fantundo

                                    my little ones are too young and cranky to do without a reservation...

                              2. re: jajjguy

                                That sums up my experience much better than I could have managed to say it.

                                1. re: jajjguy

                                  Went there for the first time recently, and it does not make the cut for me. Food was good, but not memorable. The burger, for example, was certainly made of quality ingredients but just wasn't at the same level as (for example) the Alden & Harlow burger I had recently, and was more expensive to boot. If everything were a few bucks cheaper, I'd put on the regular list but the value isn't there for me as is.

                                2. Thanks for all this feedback. Still haven't been there, but it's high on the list.

                                  1. Three of us went for the first time last night. It was packed, they seem to be doing OK. We *really* enjoyed it. Striper Tail special, Sirloin Tip Brochette, and a swordfish thing that I should have paid more attention to, all as good as anything we enjoy anywhere.

                                    Crispy-Fried Pork Ribs (cherry & cucumber salad, ancho chile BBQ sauce) app was a reason in and of itself to go back, just *wonderful*.

                                    It's a very specific scene, casual, a bunch of community seating, loud, perhaps not one's special romantic anniversary spot. And not cheap but I cannot see any reason it should be.

                                    Oh, I had to try the hotdog resulting in us having too much awesome food.

                                    Watching the open kitchen one can tell something special is going on, ├╝ber-intense, not a wasted movement.

                                    None of the remoteness and annoying pretense of Craigie, service was just friendly and competent. It's like Maws has became accessible to me. Really psyched to go back.

                                    1. We tried brunch for the first time last Sunday. They had sent around coupons for a free entree at brunch, so we decided to use it. I had the grilled swordfish kabob with green rice and some sort of roasted tomato salsa. The wife had a pasta with ham, veggies (was supposed to be corn but only saw carrots), and a poached egg. The swordfish was nicely grilled, but I was underwhelmed by the rest of the plate. The rice was undercooked and pretty flavorless. The salsa was nice, but there just wasn't enough of it. The whole dish was just screaming for more flavor. The pasta was nicely cooked, and really who doesn't love cracking a poached egg in their noodles? That said, we again found this dish under seasoned. I'm guessing the salt from the ham was supposed to come through, but we just didn't get that. Service was very friendly and cocktails were solid.