As a professional server, my shtick is to provide smart and hospitable service. The smart is knowing your product, where it comes from, its’ history, what it tastes like. The hospitable is being charming, friendly and gracious. I’m even a little cute (if I like you). But most importantly, I treat my guests as if they were dining in my home; I want them, you, to have a great dining experience.
Last night I had dinner at Local Kitchen, 1710 Queen Street West, in Parkdale. I didn’t have smart and hospitable service. The smart wasn’t really the issue although I did wonder when my espresso macchiato was nothing more than an espresso and a side of ice cold milk?!
The hospitable was the problem. No smiles, no warmth, no joy, no passion.
The food was satisfactory.
An outrageously over priced white anchovy crostini for $6 saw us coming a mile away. Two fillets of nicely cured anchovies on top of a deliciously buttery crostini were fantastic but more of an amuse bouche than an app.
It was actually humourless but in her defence, she did warn us that it was small.
Like the pocket raping anchovies, the pastas are also on the higher end of the pay scale. I don’t mind paying upwards of $25 for pasta but it has to be good and at the very least, el dente. The pasta was so soft that you didn’t need teeth to eat it.
My mitri were stuffed with smooth ricotta and fava beans. They sat in a thickish brodo that was infused with woodsy mushrooms. Crisp pieces of pancetta sat on top.
Ditto for the pasta special which was filled with braised short rib. Tasty but toothless.
A lamb sirloin was on the tough side but a beautiful shade of medium rare. The mascarpone was an interesting and complementing condiment but one potato and a sprinkling of undercooked mushrooms made this “main” an anti meal. Serving it on a side plate sized plate only highlighted its’ size.
Local Kitchen is a really small room. The kitchen is an ugly, brightly lit room at the back that is a bit off putting. You can see the kitchen fart around with the plating of your order. This might be a good thing if it was busy but the fact that it was deadsville and our four plated still didn’t come out together seemed a bit incapable.
A “Would anyone like dessert or coffee?” while I still have half a glass of wine and about two minutes after clearing our plates, is a question that raises my blood pressure.
It’s neither smart nor hospitable.
We left hungry and irritated which is too bad because these two Italian boys have the right concept, a great location and a cute space.
If only they could nail their shtick.