Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lunch #14: Made in Kitchen

ClosedMade in Kitchen is no longer in business. It has been replaced by Crawfish King.
Made in Kitchen We had another MSG150 first today. Our first VIP guests, Ethan, Adam, and Patrick from Urbanspoon, joined us for lunch at Made in Kitchen. This is also the largest group we have had (11) and the furthest we have traveled (far). The only spot further is the H.K. Cafe, which is next up. Seven of us battled the wind and rain to cut across to this far corner of the DLZ. Rob, who was "working from home", drove over as did the Urbanspoon folks. We had all heard good things about MiK and were excited to give it a try although none of us were quite sure what type of food they served.
Made in Kitchen, Seattle
Address: 701 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Average rating: 3.2 chopsticks
Lunch date: 12/18/2007 @ 11:45:00
Time taken to be seated: 0 minutes
Time to take order: 15 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 25 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 86 minutes
Chopstix quality: Nice wood
Do they use MSG?: Yes
Where is the owner/chef from?: Saigon
Number of tables: 20
Number of occupied tables: 15 (75%)
Number of business lunch tables: 12 (80%)
Number of "local" tables: 10 (66%)
Healthcode Score: 0
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
Made in Kitchen

Luncher: Emmett

Lunch: Kitchen Combo #3 - grilled meatball treasures, crispy imperial roll & golden shrimp cake - $9.50
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

Like Green Leaf, Made in Kitchen had been hyped a bit before we showed up. Unlike Green Leaf, our experience was less than perfect. The food was delicious, interesting, and unique, but the service was slow and spotty. What should have been a 45 minute lunch stretched to almost an hour and half. Fortunately we were joined by the Urbanspoon folk, which made for interesting conversation.

The space is really nice, modern finishes throughout. Food and drinks are serviced in dark ceramic dishware with fancy wood chopsticks. The menu was reasonably priced. The water served contains slices of lime, which was nice. The after meal tea was also very nice, strong, and flavorful. I ordered the Kitchen Combo #3, which was Vermicelli Noodles with Meatball 'Treasures', a shrimp cake, an Imperial Roll, some bean sprouts and Thai Basil. With the exception of the basil being wilted, the meal was delicious. The treasures contained a little bit of shrimp on the inside, which was a neat surprise. We had to ask for the fish sauce, which was a tad annoying, and there was no hot sauce provided either until we asked. The bill took forever to ring up.

I'd give this place a four if the service wasn't so shitty. If the service improved, I would go out my way to visit this place on a regular basis.

Luncher: Geary

Lunch: Kitchen Combo #1 - grilled pork skewers, crispy imperial roll & golden shrimp cake - $9.50
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

I don't get the name, Made in Kitchen. I certainly would rather eat here than at Made in Factory or Made in Alley. Maybe it's a play on "Made in" labels on imports, but doesn't really apply to food and certainly not to Vietnamese food. Anyone know what this is about? Before arriving I was also confused about the type of cuisine. Somehow I thought it was going to be Thai. I was wrong, the menu claims "Vietnamese Cuisine" and most of the dishes appear to be of Vietnamese origin, but there are certainly Thai items like Phad Thai available. The web site says "Asian Bistro", which seems like the like a good fit.

Made in Kitchen has a cool, modern atmosphere with high ceilings, dark wood tables, a big fancy bar, and wicker chopstick cozies. No hip Asian bistro should be with out chopstick cozies, duh.

We were seated right away, but kind of forgotten about. We were waiting on a straggler, but were never asked about appetizers or drinks. When our orders finally got in, the items showed up with large gaps of time in between, the final two dishes showing up more than 15 minutes after the first dishes. I also had to ask twice for a glass of water and had to get up and find someone to bring hot sauce. The service was worse than Kaname and they had only been open two weeks at the time.

Looking past the service, however, the food was fantastic. Torrey's Duck Curry was one of the first items to arrive and he allowed some small tastes. Wow! The duck was falling apart tender and in a bowl with a thick dark rich curry that coated every flaky ducky morsel. I'll be back soon for a full bowl of this one. I had the Kitchen Special #1, which is a classic Vietnamese Bun noodle dish containing roasted pork on a skewer with shrimp cake and a spring roll in a bowl of cold noodles and greens with a tangy fish sauce. It was one of the best I have had. The pork was flavorful and not too fatty. The spring roll was light and crispy. Next time I'd get #2 instead with twice the pork and no shrimp cake. However, at $9.50, it's almost 50% more than the Bun noodles at Pho Bac.

In summary, great company, nice atmosphere, delicious food, but lousy service and kind of spendy. I hope that when I come back for the duck they will have figured out the service thing.

Luncher: Adam

Lunch: Kitchen Combo #2 - grilled lemongrass pork skewers & crispy spring roll - $8.00
Rating: 2 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

The only thing about Made in Kitchen (MiK) that I really liked, was the people I went with.

I ordered the Kitchen Combo #2, which should have been similar to the Bun Ga Noung I had at Green Leaf (except I had pork this time). Unfortunately, it wasn't as good, and it actually cost more! Also, I don't know what they didn't just label it as "Bun" noodles. One benefit though was that I didn't burp nearly as much as I did with Green Leaf.

The service at MiK was also a little bit lacking.

  • We were often left unattended by the wait-staff for long periods
    • ...and when they did come... the kept forgetting about the stuff we asked them for (specifically water).
  • Then after almost everyone had finished their food, the server brought two pots of tea.
  • The amount of time between when the first and last dishes were brought out was also quite large, I'd approximate about 15 minutes.

Also, I'm not sure if its related... but when I woke up this morning, my stomach was definitely "in a knot."

Slow service. Mediocre Food.

Luncher: Erin

Lunch: Kitchen Combo #3 - grilled meatball treasures, crispy imperial roll & golden shrimp cake - $9.50
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Erin's Review

This is a very pretty, nicely designed upscale Vietnamese restaurant. That is mostly Vietnamese – Michael thought is was Thai because they did have Pad Thai on the menu. The menu had many interesting menu items; some seemed very different from the standard Viet fare found in the pho cafes. I ordered the Kitchen Combo #3. This consisted of a bowl of thin rice noodles topped by a fried spring roll, some shrimp cakes and small meatballs. It was decorated with shredded carrots, lettuce and cucumber, with a sprinkle of peanuts on top. It was very well presented, however it arrived lukewarm and a vinegar sauce, which I sort of expected, did not arrive at the table until well after I started eating. The food here was well done and tasty.

The service however, is what brings my chopstick rating down from a 4. Service is an important part of every dining experience, and is integral in the enjoyment of the meal. We were a large party, 12 people, and I believe Geary had made reservations. The server moved us to a different table than the ones our friends from UrbanSpoon were at when she realized that we were more than 8 people. No table had been set up for the reservation. She neglected to give us menus; we pulled them from our former table. Even though we were waiting for a couple of late arrivals, no one even offered us drinks or talked to us until well after our late folks sat down. The food came out dish by dish to each person over the course of almost 30 minutes. My sauce, mentioned earlier, arrived well after the dish arrived. Tea wasn’t offered until after we were finished. We had to ask for water refills, and those took a long time. No one cleared our dirty plates when we were obviously finished. I had to ask for the check, about 1½ hours after we came in. I don’t think the servers spoke more than a few words to the table in any language.

It is important for lunch places to turn tables quickly; lunchers want to eat and go. If I wanted to spend two hours at lunch, I would have gone to my friends’ holiday potluck. The slow and unresponsive service is inexcusable; as a former server, I am appalled. This is a very nice looking place, with a good menu, but I will not go back. Maybe this should be 2 chopsticks, but I’ll stick with 3 for the food. End of rant.

Luncher: Tyson

Lunch: Chicken Phad Thai - $8.50
Rating: 2 Chopsticks

Tyson's Review

If I were to solely judge the food, Made in Kitchen would receive 3 chopsticks, however, the overall experience was less than notable. I give Made in Kitchen, 2 chopsticks. With slow service, staggered food delivery, an ignored water request, and salty chicken phad thai, the restaurant will not be granted with my presence again. Though, those around me did enjoy their meals.

Luncher: Michael

Lunch: Chicken Phad Thai - $8.50
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Luncher: Rob

Lunch: Grilled Tofu & Shiitake Mushruums - $7.50
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Luncher: Torrey

Lunch: Braised Curry Duck - $8.50
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

VIP Luncher: Ethan from Urbanspoon

Lunch: Kitchen Combo #2 - grilled lemongrass pork skewers & crispy spring roll - $8.00
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Ethan's Review

My meal was tasty, particularly the pork itself. Sometimes pork skewers are made with lower grade gristly meat, or overcooked, but these were done perfectly. The sauce was a little thin and not very spicy. But really my lunch was only marred by the fact that it wasn't the braised duck. I got to taste one bite of the delicious duck and that really ruined what I was eating. Get the duck, you'll thank me. Ah, well, maybe the MSG150 crew will come back around to Made In Kitchen in a year or so.

As for the setting, the space was really quite elegant. Service was slow. Oh, and one other thing, the tea was really nice.

VIP Luncher: Adam2 from Urbanspoon

Lunch: Lemongrass Chicken Skewers - $7.00
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Adam2's Review

My food took a long time to arrive. Our friends at the table were enjoying their dishes already, and I felt cold and alone. My chopsticks snatched at the air and hovered over my neighbor's braised duck. Finally, a bowl of chicken and noodles was placed in front of me. I sucked it down greedily though it was unevenly cooked and lacking in sauce. My lunch was moderately tasty despite these shortcomings. Note to self : the identical dish is much better at Pho Bac.

VIP Luncher: Patrick from Urbanspoon

Lunch: Hai Nam Chicken - $8.00
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Made in Kitchen Photos

Made in Kitchen
Made in Kitchen

Chopsticks in Cozy
Chopsticks in Cozy

Chopsticks out of Cozy
Chopsticks out of Cozy

Phad Thai
Phad Thai

Hai Nam Chicken
Hai Nam Chicken

Braised Curry Duck
Braised Curry Duck

Kitchen Special #1
Kitchen Special #1

Kitchen Special #2
Kitchen Special #2

Kitchen Special #3
Kitchen Special #3

1 comment:

Geary said...

I finally made it back for the Braised Curry Duck today and it was amazing. However, the service still sucks. It's a shame that a place that has done such a good job with the food has such staggeringly bad service. Maybe it's a way to stand out in the ID, since most other places have great service.