after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

all i wanted was a.salad …

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t says:  g and I wanted to go to Parc the other weekend for our favorite “Warm Shrimp Salad” brunch.  Sadly, they had no space.  Rouge similarly had no space.  Day-by-day had a half-hour wait.  g and I were hungry-verging-on-hangry and getting rained on, so I suggested visiting a.kitchen, as opentable assured me they had space.  Here’s our review in a slightly different style than we normally go for: a list-lover’s review!

December 2012, Sunday Brunch, Party of 2.

1)  Your hostess made us wait for a table … when there was only one occupied table in the entire restaurant (i.e. at least 8 unoccupied tables, not including the seats at the chef’s counter) – that was weird.  I took a photo of it (but won’t post it because you can see patrons’ faces very well … which is creepers).  She didn’t move to attempt to assist in the turning over of another table (which I’m not exactly sure anyone did anything to – no one was clearing anything!).  She didn’t offer us a seat at the empty bar.  She didn’t smile at all.  After five minutes had passed, g and I began looking through opentable for seats at Dandelion.  Meanwhile, we were subjected to inane chit-chat between the hostess and the patrons who were leaving the restaurant (they apparently knew each other from somewhere).   During this time, your bartender, having noted that we were standing off to the side, seemingly exiled to limbo, came over to us and asked, “She’s the hostess – you should talk to her if you want a seat.”  To which we replied that we had …

2)  … your bartender, upon hearing that we were stuck in the very peculiar predicament of waiting for a table in a restaurant with no dearth of open spaces proceeded to do nothing to help the situation: no offer to get us started with drinks, no assistance in pushing along the seating process, no nothing … just silence … Aawwkkwwaarrdd …

3)  Your server was excellent.  Fire the hostess and bartender and clone your server twice.  She was polite and prompt and was able to answer my queries by confessing that your pastries are not made on-site (no big deal!) and that your “Namaste tea” was “just black tea”.

4)  “Namaste” black tea?  For real?  Is that different from “Bonjour tea”?

5)  Cava bar?  For real!

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cava bar!

Why are you not publicizing the hell out this?  This is awesome!

5)  Your pancakes could use a little something …

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Super-simple pancakes

They’re not as good as Cochon’s (which are twice as thick and moreso fluffy … by the way – why did Cochon take it off their menu?), not as good as Parc (which has better, but definitely between the golden brown outside and pillowy inside), but still better than ones I can make at home using Bisquick or Aunt Jemima … but for $10/plate I should hope so!  My feeble-minded suggestions are either add an interesting topping (?bruleed banana?) or flavor (? lemon ? orange ?) or something!  You could charge a buck or two more!

6)  The “mushroom scrapple” (pictured above) is more like a fried polenta/grits cake with mushrooms interspersed throughout.  I don’t know what the composition actually is, but in my mouth, that’s what it reminded me of.  Personally, I feel that this is not very scrapple-like, but moreso disappointing because it was quite bland from a salt/pepper perspective and a lacking-mushroom-flavor perspective.  Give me more mushrooms!

7)  g applauds your use of the English muffin on your burger, but wishes it was just a little fluffier in the middle and a little less burned on the outside (it’s hard to eat a burger if the “bun” part is crunchy like this.

asdf

burger attack!

The meat was well-seasoned and nicely-cooked, so definite props for that!  And the sauce was a nice addition!

8)  Why on Earth do you insist on the tiniest plates possible to fit the food?  Maybe to make it seem like you have more food?  But a problem arises in that there’s no real space to create a puddle of syrup or for your burger to drip its medium-rare blood without soggifying your chips.  And forget trying to rest a utensil on them …  Add like 1 inch to the radius – what youll give up in “artistry” you’ll make up for in utility – I promise …

In all, it was an “ok” brunch.  As good as Parc?  Not really … but surely better than falling prey to hanger on a Sunday when all the other places on Rittenhouse are packed – and that cava bar is definitely worth checking out.  I think the better question is why is it not so packed?  g pointed out that on one hand, a.kitchen is kinda-sorta-lika hotel restaurant, so they don’t really have to push any boundaries and that it might even be safer not to.  I disagree – if they want the street cred (as clearly this blog is the ultimate bestower of “cred”), I just need a bit more “oomph”, be it in innovation or just straight-up flavor.  I’m glad we got to go to a.kitchen for brunch, but I only wish that it would have sidled its way into my heart …  Maybe next time …

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 December 2012 at 10:46pm

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