Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Quickies #53: Street / Served edition

A delicious plate of kokum daal, yogurt rice with chutney and saag paneer from Street (photo courtesy of Mattatouille)

Initial Look of Street: even though I'm not keen on checking out restaurants during opening week (when everyone's trying to get into their groove) I was in Street's neighborhood yesterday, so I tagged along Matt & Christine for dinner there. I don't think I'll do a foodventures post based on this visit alone but here's a few observations:

- Holy cow! Their kitchen is SO small (about roach coach size) especially for such an expansive menu.

- Wines are served in small 3 oz. glasses and mini Sanbitter bottles. Looks cute but totally doesn't work as a stemware (the pinot noir I ordered just smelled and tasted off-the-mark in that glass. It could've used a bit of aeration too.)

- As for the food itself, it's a hit-and-miss (or as I call it, a menu landmine) and I can't tell if dishes faltered because of the recipes or if the kitchen staff is still getting used to cooking them (Matt appropriately pointed out most required skill as opposed to talent). Must-tries include the kaya toast, the kokum daal/saag paneer platter and Vietnamese corn with glazed pork belly. Skippable includes that $16 pho that was the target of much wankage on Eater LA.

- I'll also forewarn other potential diners to analyze food here on their own terms; people with expectations of authenticity and price-point comparisons to ethnic enclaves will definitely find bones to pick here.

Having said that and despite my own mixed experience, I'm definitely open to giving it another try after things settled a little - and I definitely hope the best for Street and owner Susan Feniger, who was so efferverscent even after the huge undertaking of opening the restaurant.

In other happenings, one blog column I've discovered recently and really enjoyed reading is Serious Eats' Served, with front-of-houser Hannah Howard filing weekly musings, dispatches and opinions from her experiences as hostess and waitress. Since I used to be a FoH person too, I can definitely relate to some of her thoughts and quandaries, from the seeking the ideal restaurant gig to dealing with sick days and even pet peeves. But it's also a great read for anyone dines out regularly, if only to get the perspective from the other side (and to avoid being the crappy customer everyone dreads servicing.)


samkim said...

It seems everyone has the same impression of's promising but some dishes definitely need some work.

Food GPS said...

Good point about withholding judgment during a restaurant's first week. I wasn't even crazy about Kaya toast in Singapore, so I'll probably skip that, but a couple other dishes sound good.

H. C. said...

@samkim and @foodgps - despite the mishaps, I'm still hopeful for Street and have no doubt it'll do well, esp. given its target demographic. I'll do a full post probably in May.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi H.C.,

Great post. Thanks for your thoughts on STREET. As you saw in my review, it's... tough. I'm pulling for Chef Feniger as well, but it's a very ambitious undertaking and I hope that their $16 Pho and $18 Shrimp Egg Noodle dish get seriously reworked.


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