Sunday, July 25, 2010

Loring Kitchen & Bar: A Love-Hate Relationship

I'm writing this as I prepare for my third trip to the Loring Kitchen & Bar already this summer. Based on that sentence, you'd think it was the best food I've ever had in my life. ;)
Located in the heart of Loring Park, LK&B is a perfect fit in a great location. I fell in love with the space as soon as I first walked in. Beautifully decorated, the restaurant also has a lovely open breezeway of sorts that circles around the room and opens out onto the park. I sat in this section for both visits.
The first visit was with a group for a friend's birthday (there were about 10 of us). I had the Lemon Drop martini, which was fabulous. So much so that I quickly ordered a second.
We shared pizzas to start. The classic pepperoni was tasty and exactly what you'd expect.
I had the LK&B Chopped Cobb salad for dinner. Refreshing, colorful and chock full of nutritional goodness, I was very pleased. With a healthy dose of chicken, bacon and egg, it was well worth the $11.95.

So, while the food was great and the ambiance fantastic, I do have one major gripe from my first visit to the Loring Kitchen...

The service. I won't go as far as to say it was terrible, but it left much to be desired. Our server wasn't nice and didn't seem to like us from the get-go. We had quite the check debacle, which the server further exacerbated.

Adding insult to injury, I also noticed that my martinis rang through at 50 cents extra each. Since it was only one dollar total, I didn't think it appropriate to complain. However, another one of my friends also noticed that he was charged a dollar more for his cider than what was listed on the menu. Ugh.


My second visit was under much different circumstances - casual drinks and dinner with just two friends (both of whom were also part of the first visit).
This time I had a Belini and the Beer Can Chicken sandwich: beer marinated grilled chicken breast, bacon, pepper jack cheese (though I substituted cheddar), crispy onions and honey mustard on a toasted sesame bun, served with fries and a pickle. Both were wonderful, further confirming that I really enjoy Loring Kitchen's food.

While the service was much better this go-round - smiling and friendly - there still wasn't much to be said about their speed and efficiency. Granted, it was the end of a very busy weekend, but really that's never an excuse for slow service.

If LK&B could straighten out its service kinks, it would have all the trappings of a great restaurant in an area already known for good food. If not, there's no shortage of restaurants I love in the neighborhood.

I'll be sure to provide a quick recap of tonight's dining adventure in my next post.

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