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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

He wanted KFC; I wanted CFK. The decision was made by fiat.

My son got in the car and said:

"It smells like Play-Doh in here."

"I think it's more like Socrates."

"Huh?"

"Never mind." (*)

We ordered bacon and eggs, and I asked if they could fix the plates so I'd have four eggs and he'd have two. The server replied, "I don't think she's going to do that," and so the request never went past our table. But the chef fries her eggs in a tiny frying pan, a perfect size for three, and both orders came out perfectly cooked and shaped.

Two eggs were sitting in a frying pan. One egg says to the other egg, "Whew! Sure is getting hot in here!" The other egg goes, "AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! A TALKING EGG!!!!!"

Have you ever been anywhere rural, possibly in a mountainous area, thinking you have finally found a place that will have The Ultimate Homestyle Breakfast, and then you order the pancakes and they smell like Crisco? Well, Colorado Kitchen is that rural diner you dream of, right here in Washington, but without any of that Crisco-nastiness: the food is honest, clean and delicious.

But perhaps the next logical step should be to remove the salt, pepper and ketchup from the tables, and maybe even the sugar and the cream because the coffee should be presented just as the chef wants it to be, damn it!

I love Colorado Kitchen, and I love Gillian Clark's chutzpah and craftsmans pride. The Washington area could (no, should!) support twenty neighborhood restaurants like this. And may they all be reincarnated as nematodes for not having liquor licenses.

Cheers,

Rocks.

(*) It runs in the family. My brother told his daughter for her birthday that there was going to be a new Toyota sitting in the garage. On the morning of her birthday, she woke up and sprinted down to the garage, opened the door, turned on the light, and sitting there on a chair was ... a new toy Yoda! I don't think it went over very well.

P.S. Try the shrimp and grits!

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Brunch starts at 11:00. It is not wise to get there much later than that unless you want to hang out and study the Colorado Ave. street life* for a good while.

(*Wave if you see me walking my dog.)

Edited by Stretch
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After a run through the DuPont market on Sunday we took a trip up to CK for some brunch. We arrived shortly after 11 and the place was already packed, but we were seated in short order at the counter. Started off with coffee and a plate of assorted donuts (I could eat plates of them) while we figured out what to order.

I decided on the fried catfish and hashbrowns while she ordered the shrimp and grits. Those grits were delicious, but how could they not be with all the garlic and cheese. The catfish was fried to perfection. The homemade tartar sauce was the perfect condiment.

They were unfortunately out of the pineapple upside-down cake so dessert was a piece of chocolate cake and a warm chocolate tart.

Another good meal up in the land of Stretch and I must return for dinner.

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I have been to the CK about 5 times for brunch on the weekends, but have never made it there for dinner. I would like to try it.

The last time my man and I were there, two seperate arguments happened among the patrons when the host would not seat a party of two in a four top that had remained vacant for about 20 minutes. Eventually the 2 couples left, all kinds of pissed off, and 2 couples in line decided to just eat together at the four top so they did not have to wait another 1/2 hour to be seated.

I have to say that the chef was not happy that she has to come out of the kitchen to deal with the unhappy people, and she must have said something to them that did not sit well with them because they sure left in a huff.

I always feel a little uncomfortable in CK, and if it were not for the greatness of the doughnuts and the eggs benedict I am not sure that I would ever go back. I always feel slightly unwelcome and as if I have to be on my best behavior. I never feel relaxed, you know?

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Granted Chef has a reputation of sorts, but I have never felt anything but relaxed when dining there. And from my glances around the room everyone seemed to be having a good time.

We could discuss the merits of not letting a deuce take a 4-top, which seems a bit harsh to me if nobody is waiting, but why bother its her place.

I say go and enjoy yourself, the pork chop is killer!

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I hear you. And there were tons of people waiting to get in, but only couples- no four-somes.

As for the non-relaxed thing, I am glad that you have never felt that way, but I have to say that I think the small space and the need to turn over as many tables as possible so they can make money always makes me feel rushed.

But that said, I will go back because the food is that good

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There is definately a different vibe there depending on who youa re with and how crowded the restaurant is.

I was there for dinner a couple of weeks ago for the first time. The startes or small plates (can't remember what she called them) were the highlights.

The standout was the carmelized onion and mushroom eggroll. I am not usually a fan of cooked mushrooms but this was a brilliant pairing. To take it over the top the dish was served with homemade fried noodles. I have craved this for two weeks now.

We also had the leek tart and buffalo wings. The wings, which were on the sweet side, were finger licking good. The tart had a perfect crust and was not quite big enough for the two of us.

As for brunch, I highly recommend the corn waffles. They are corn muffins after an identity crisis, but an effective one. And of course those donuts. My thighs thank the chef for making them as small as they are.

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From an email earlier today:

Hey Everyone,

It's that time of year.  Crab cakes are back.  This year Chef closed her eyes

and imagined a hurricane on an Eastern Shore farm.  There's luscious jumbo

lump crab, sweet and crunchy white corn with tart and juicy tomatoes.

We've got our first berries in today and they're not just in the desserts.

There's tea in the Rockfish.  The world's tiniest fried chicken dinner and

Meatloaf like you've never seen it before.

For now daSto is manned on Friday and Saturday nights.  Stroll on by after

dinner and see the new items coming in every week.

See you soon,

Chef & Robin

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I have been to the CK about 5 times for brunch on the weekends, but have never made it there for dinner.  I would like to try it.

The last time my man and I were there, two seperate arguments happened among the patrons when the host would not seat a party of two in a four top that had remained vacant for about 20 minutes.  Eventually the 2 couples left, all kinds of pissed off, and 2 couples in line decided to just eat together at the four top so they did not have to wait another 1/2 hour to be seated. 

I have to say that the chef was not happy that she has to come out of the kitchen to deal with the unhappy people, and she must have said something to them that did not sit well with them because they sure left in a huff.

I always feel a little uncomfortable in CK, and if it were not for the greatness of the doughnuts and the eggs benedict I am not sure that I would ever go back.  I always feel slightly unwelcome and as if I have to be on my best behavior.  I never feel relaxed, you know?

Chef here, Woodley girl, sorry you don't feel comfortable at CK. Were you there at brunch? A crazy Sunday Brunch with a wait all day long and a throng of people angry because they have to wait makes me uncomfortable too. Most of our customers know what to expect on Sunday.

As for our seating policy...we only have 15 tables and in the beginning (about four years ago) we let people sit where they wanted. There were two at four and the like. Well, what started to happen is that a hoard of fours would come in and we couldn't seat them...they'd leave. This kept happening. Soon, especially on Saturdays, we'd have an empty dining room. An empty dining room at 8pm on a Saturday was making my accountant tear his hair out.

I'm sure most of you understand that staying in business means you have to have a full dining room. This policy just seems to work for us. We have customers that have been coming since day one and they all understand. We have a few that have a problem and no longer visit us. Sorry, that's just how it is sometimes.

I have been eating out for years. Even before I was a chef. I don't think I ever fussed over the seating; okay, once when at a Chinese restaurant they sat me in a booth--the place was empty--right in front of the bus bucket where all of the bus boys were piling huge smelly duck sauce smeared plates. I asked to be moved.

Sometimes, we do have the dilemma where only groups of two come and we have nothing but fours open. This causes all of us in the restaurant great anxiety and stomach churning. Even I am back there peeking into the dining room while I'm cooking food for the 49 people sitting down. There isn't much we can do about this. I find that we have some customers that just don't want to wait. I've waited more than an hour to eat at Pizzeria Paradiso...shoot...I've even waited more than 45 minutes to eat at Houstons.

Colorado Kitchen is one of those places that is so small the prospective diner can see everything and sometimes makes incorrect suppositions. I get glared at by people that have waited 10 mintues for their well-done pork chop or burger..some of them are quite irate. Others come to the door and are shocked that people are waiting. They're surprised that this little out of the way place in the 'hood is drawing such a crowd. I see them with their mouths hanging open...I know exactly what they're thinking. They are in no mood to wait.

Then there are the Goldilocks Couples that take the hostess on a tour and make her take them to every avaliable table so they can see how they like it. They are shocked and insulted that they were originally taken to a table in the back. The next couple is shocked and insulted at the attempt to be seated up front.

It's not an easy business and as much as we try to make everyone happy, we still must do what makes the most sense in running this business. That means not everyone (even when the place is empty) can sit at the table of their choice. We've had customers insist they need to sit at a large table and complain that the place is empty. Well, as soon as they've gotten their drinks, the door swings open and hundreds of people storm in and the very table of four they had their eye on is seated and there are six more four tops waiting to sit there. This is what happens at a little 15 seat restaurant.

My next place (if there is one) will have just one really long table--made of rough hewn wood.

I'm at Colorado Kitchen every day and there are times people cuss me out because they can't sit at a large table...even when they are alone and it is 5pm. They're sooo angry at me over this little issue--I'm stunned. I always think that there is some other problem in their life. They call me things and accuse me of things that I can't repeat here because of decency laws. But I know my building...I know that there are nights that we are packed at 5:30. Sometimes I'm wrong and we're not and that four top is empty for hours. But I can't take that risk. Those of you who have seen me in a T-shirt know that the scars on my arms are just the outward sign that I take this very seriously and that Robin and I care a great deal about delivering a worthwhile product. We aren't trying to be ornery....just trying to do our best.

Sorry, you are not comfortable, Woods, but there are hundreds of people who are. There are hundreds of people that want great food and don't care where there bottom is in respect to the GPS satelittes over head.

Gillian

PS: Although can be a wait later on, there is usually plenty of room early on Saturday and its the same brunch food (except there are waffles on Saturday, French toast on Sunday. Dinner on wed and thur is easy seating as well...before 7pm. Try dinner Woodleygrl. All of those people waiting on Sunday makes my blood pressure go up too.

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As for the non-relaxed thing, I am glad that you have never felt that way, but I have to say that I think the small space and the need to turn over as many tables as possible so they can make money always makes me feel rushed.

Boy, I need to come and read this more often...sorry Don...Woodleygrl and I need to go out and have a drink together and straighten some things out. Strangely, Robin and I are not two Scroogelike owners back there. That's us in the kitchen...I'm the one in the hat. I would charge more for the food so that I could get out of the kitchen...also we went two years without alcohol...knowing full well that it would increase our revenue. We caved because...well...we need to pay bills and grow the business and it is what many of our customers wanted.

We never look at the money until the end of the day and we see what has sold and whether we are meeting our goals for the day. To intimate that we are rushing tables out for more money is ridiculous. If we are pressuring anyone, it is the table of six that has sooo much catching up to do and is taking up two tables and we have people waiting and are dying to sit.

If you've been sitting for brunch taking up a table for an hour or more...we're going to want you to wrap it up. But if there is no one wating...you can stay there all day.

We are an independent restaurant...you rarely see that seat em and feed em and kick em out mentality in a place like ours. If we need the table its because we've got folks waiting.

That's a pretty horrible thing to say about little old CK. You think if I were in this for the money...I'd be doing something else. We're trying to find a chair for that two top. We know when there is a crowd we are going to make goal...and if we don't there is always tomorrow. Sometimes I just want to get away from that stove. I'm not thinking about money...I'm thinking about how &%$*(* hot it is and if I have to scramble one more egg I'm going to scream. Those are the times I groan when the door opens.

There are those crazy Sundays where I see the crowd just growing and growing. If I were Chef Scrooge I'd be giggling with glee. No..I'm terrified...I'm swallowing the big lump in my throat...wiping the sweat away and going, "Gosh, Robin...what the hell is going on today."

Sorry Woodley, I'm not the crazy capitalist that you paint. I just woke up one crazy day 10 years ago and decided I wanted to be a chef.

There is nothing on the menu over $20. We haven't change brunch prices in two years. Give me a break.

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Chef here, Woodley girl, sorry you don't feel comfortable at CK.  Were you there at brunch?  A crazy Sunday Brunch with a wait all day long and a throng of people angry because they have to wait makes me uncomfortable too.  Most of our customers know what to expect on Sunday. 

As for our seating policy...we only have 15 tables and in the beginning (about four years ago) we let people sit where they wanted.  There were two at four and the like.  Well, what started to happen is that a hoard of fours would come in and we couldn't seat them...they'd leave.  This kept happening.  Soon, especially on Saturdays, we'd have an empty dining room.  An empty dining room at 8pm on a Saturday was making my accountant tear his hair out.

I'm sure most of you understand that staying in business means you have to have a full dining room.  This policy just seems to work for us.  We have customers that have been coming since day one and they all understand.  We have a few that have a problem and no longer visit us.  Sorry, that's just how it is sometimes. 

I have been eating out for years.  Even before I was a chef.  I don't think I ever fussed over the seating; okay, once when at a Chinese restaurant they sat me in a booth--the place was empty--right in front of the bus bucket where all of the bus boys were piling huge smelly duck sauce smeared plates.  I asked to be moved. 

Sometimes, we do have the dilemma where only groups of two come and we have nothing but fours open.  This causes all of us in the restaurant great anxiety and stomach churning.  Even I am back there peeking into the dining room while I'm cooking food for the 49 people sitting down.  There isn't much we can do about this.   I find that we have some customers that just don't want to wait.  I've waited more than an hour to eat at Pizzeria Paradiso...shoot...I've even waited more than 45 minutes to eat at Houstons. 

Colorado Kitchen is one of those places that is so small the prospective diner can see everything and sometimes makes incorrect suppositions.  I get glared at by people that have waited 10 mintues for their well-done pork chop or burger..some of them are quite irate.  Others come to the door and are shocked that people are waiting.  They're surprised that this little out of the way place in the 'hood is drawing such a crowd.  I see them with their mouths hanging open...I know exactly what they're thinking.  They are in no mood to wait.

Then there are the Goldilocks Couples that take the hostess on a tour and make her take them to every avaliable table so they can see how they like it.  They are shocked and insulted that they were originally taken to a table in the back.  The next couple is shocked and insulted at the attempt to be seated up front.

It's not an easy business and as much as we try to make everyone happy, we still must do what makes the most sense in running this business.  That means not everyone (even when the place is empty) can sit at the table of their choice.  We've had customers insist they need to sit at a large table and complain that the place is empty. Well, as soon as they've gotten their drinks, the door swings open and hundreds of people storm in and the very table of four they had their eye on is seated and there are six more four tops waiting to sit there.  This is what happens at a little 15 seat restaurant.

My next place (if there is one) will have just one really long table--made of rough hewn wood.  

I'm at Colorado Kitchen every day and there are times people cuss me out because they can't sit at a large table...even when they are alone and it is 5pm.  They're sooo angry at me over this little issue--I'm stunned.  I always think that there is some other problem in their life.   They call me things and accuse me of things that I can't repeat here because of decency laws.  But I know my  building...I know that there are nights that we are packed at 5:30.  Sometimes I'm wrong and we're not and that four top is empty for hours.  But I can't take that risk.  Those of you who have seen me in a T-shirt know that the scars on my arms are just the outward sign that I take this very seriously and that Robin and I care a great deal about delivering a worthwhile product.  We aren't trying to be ornery....just trying to do our best.

Sorry, you are not comfortable, Woods, but there are hundreds of people who are.   There are hundreds of people that want great food and don't care where there bottom is in respect to the GPS satelittes over head. 

Gillian

PS:  Although can be a wait later on, there is usually plenty of room early on Saturday and its the same brunch food (except there are waffles on Saturday, French toast on Sunday. Dinner on wed and thur is easy seating as well...before 7pm.  Try dinner Woodleygrl.  All of those people waiting on Sunday makes my blood pressure go up too.

I have only been to your place at brunch and as I said earlier I really have been meaning to come out to your place for dinner sometime. I have looked at the menus and everything sounds wonderful.

I have never had a problem getting a seat as a two-some. That is because I am usually wating with the rest of the throng at the door before you open up. That way I know that I will not have to wait all day to get a seat. I was by no means complaing about the seating policy. I was merely reporting back to everyone a scene I witnessed while dining there about 2 months ago.

AS to my critique of feeling uncomfortable, I think that comes from a feeling of being very rushed. I felt like I had a limited amount of time to scarf down my food, pay the bill, and vacate my seat for the next person.

But I will take you up on the suggestion for dinner some night soon.

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Boy,  I need to come and read this more often...sorry Don...Woodleygrl and I need to go out and have a drink together and straighten some things out.  Strangely, Robin and I are not two Scroogelike owners back there.  That's us in the kitchen...I'm the one in the hat.  I would charge more for the food so that I could get out of the kitchen...also we went two years without alcohol...knowing full well that it would increase our revenue.  We caved because...well...we need to pay bills and grow the business and it is what many of our customers wanted.

We never look at the money until the end of the day and we see what has sold and whether we are meeting our goals for the day.  To intimate that we are rushing tables out for more money is ridiculous.  If we are pressuring anyone, it is the table of six that has sooo much catching up to do and is taking up two tables and we have people waiting and are dying to sit. 

If you've been sitting for brunch taking up a table for an hour or more...we're going to want you to wrap it up.  But if there is no one wating...you can stay there all day. 

We are an independent restaurant...you rarely see that seat em and feed em and kick em out mentality in a place like ours.  If we need the table its because we've got folks waiting.

That's a pretty horrible thing to say about little old CK.  You think if I were in this for the money...I'd be doing something else.  We're trying to find a chair for that two top.  We know when there is a crowd we are going to make goal...and if we don't there is always tomorrow.  Sometimes I just want to get away from that stove.  I'm not thinking about money...I'm thinking about how &%$*(* hot it is and if I have to scramble one more egg I'm going to scream.  Those are the times I groan when the door opens.

There are those crazy Sundays where I see the crowd just growing and growing.  If I were Chef Scrooge I'd be giggling with glee.  No..I'm terrified...I'm swallowing the big lump in my throat...wiping the sweat away and going, "Gosh, Robin...what the hell is going on today."

Sorry Woodley, I'm not the crazy capitalist that you paint.  I just woke up one crazy day 10 years ago and decided I wanted to be a chef. 

There is nothing on the menu over $20.  We haven't change brunch prices in two years.  Give me a break.

Hold it there, Chef. I am by no means trying to paint the two of you as scrooges nor did I say anything "horrible" about your place. re-read it and you will see that I am a loyal customer and I had planned to come back asap.

*edited to take out something rude that I thought better of writing

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Woodley, I know you feel attacked, but look at it from her perspective. People seem to make it a sport of slamming CK and its chef (disclaimer: I was no fan of dsSto name). It makes me wonder what is the motivation for the constant complaining?

Are some of the criticisms deserved? Sure. But there seems to be a campaign of attacks on the little (in size) gem of a restaurant. So if I was the owner I would be protective of my business too.

Really what is the point of writing about the controversey over the 2-top/4-top? Every restaurant has these issues, all the time!

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Was not criticizing that policy at all. re-read my posts and you will see that. I was merely pointing out the anger that some patrons felt when they had to wait forever.

I WAS complaining about the rushed feeling that I have when I have brunch there.

That's all.

and this is not part of a "campaign" to disparage her joint.

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I actually read your posts throughly already and agree you did not complain about the table-related controversies you observed. What I am asking is, why post it on the Internet? What is the point and what does it add to our understanding of the cuisine at CK? The difficulty in seating 2 persons at a table for 4 is ubiquitous in the industry.

Was not criticizing that policy at all.  re-read my posts and you will see that.  I was merely pointing out the anger that some patrons felt when they had to wait forever.

I WAS complaining about the rushed feeling that I have when I have brunch there.

That's all.

and this is not part of a "campaign" to disparage her joint.

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My next place (if there is one) will have just one really long table--made of rough hewn wood.  

Maybe you could ask Carole Greenwood to knock out the wall in back of Buck's, and extend her communal table across Rock Creek Park and into your restaurant. You guys could set up one of those little Kaiten-sushi conveyor-belt things and send notes to each other. :lol:

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why post it on the Internet?  What is the point and what does it add to our understanding of the cuisine at CK? 

Mr. Rockwell said when welcoming new members: "It's not going to be about the food; it's going to be about people."

Edited by crackers
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I actually read your posts throughly already and agree you did not complain about the table-related controversies you observed.  What I am asking is, why post it on the Internet?  What is the point and what does it add to our understanding of the cuisine at CK?  The difficulty in seating 2 persons at a table for 4 is ubiquitous in the industry.

Woodleygrrl isn't the first to point out problems at CK on the internet. I would refer you to Seitsema's online chats for a start.

The dilemma seems to be that Gillian Clark and her partner have created a small, intended-to-be neighborhood restaurant. The problem(?) is that the food, at the price they sell it for, is far superior to what you can normally find in such a type of place. So, if you are going to eat there you have to figure out how to do it; i.e., be in line before 11 am for Sunday brunch or be prepared to wait. Or take Chef Clark's advice and try for dinner on a weekday. It's really not much different from trying to snag a table at Ray's. It also isn't much different from Ray's 90 minute policy for those who dine early.

While I can't speak for Woodleygrrl on this issue, I feel rushed if there is a line waiting to get in no matter where I'm eating. Lollygagging over coffee just isn't feasible with people staring at us, knowing they want us to leave so they can have our table. And I have no doubt that Clark and her staff are trying to be as efficient as possible in getting food ordered and on the table. I can't fault her for any of it.

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Maybe you could ask Carole Greenwood to knock out the wall in back of Buck's, and extend her communal table across Rock Creek Park and into your restaurant.  You guys could set up one of those little Kaiten-sushi conveyor-belt things and send notes to each other.  :lol:

This would also be sort of like the Ultimate Fighting Challenge for serially annoying restaurant customers. If you can pull your usual petty crap in Buck's Colorado Fishing and Camping Kitchen and escape without several severe beatings, your semi-conscious body shuttled back and forth on the conveyor belt for each chef to get a few good licks in, then you are well hard, sunshine.

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Maybe you could ask Carole Greenwood to knock out the wall in back of Buck's, and extend her communal table across Rock Creek Park and into your restaurant.  You guys could set up one of those little Kaiten-sushi conveyor-belt things and send notes to each other.  :lol:
This would also be sort of like the Ultimate Fighting Challenge for serially annoying restaurant customers. If you can pull your usual petty crap in Buck's Colorado Fishing and Camping Kitchen and escape without several severe beatings, your semi-conscious body shuttled back and forth on the conveyor belt for each chef to get a few good licks in, then you are well hard, sunshine.

I was actually thinking of a hydraulic lift on both ends of the table.

<Customer takes seat at Colorado-Kitchen end>

"Hi, and welcome to Colorado Kitchen. May I take your order?"

"Yes, I'd like a cheeseburger. Well-done."

<Server goes back to Gillian>

"Customer wants a cheeseburger well-done."

<Gillian pushes hydraulic-lift-activation button>

Tilt!

<Customer slides across Rock Creek Park to Buck's end of table. Server walks up to table>

"Hi, and welcome to Buck's!"

"Hello, I'll have a steak, medium-well, mushrooms on the side, baked potato instead of fries."

<Server goes back to Carole>

"Customer wants a steak, medium-well, mushrooms on the side, baked potato instead of fries."

Tilt!

<Slides back to Colorado Kitchen>

"Okay! Okay! I'll have whatever the hell you want to serve me."

Tilt!

"I'll take it rare, damn it! Mushrooms are fine. Fries are good."

Tilt!

<Meanwhile an ongoing note is revolving around the conveyor belt>

"I don't want him, you take him."

"No, you take him."

"No, YOU take him!"

"No, YOU!"

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What I am asking is, why post it on the Internet?  What is the point and what does it add to our understanding of the cuisine at CK?  The difficulty in seating 2 persons at a table for 4 is ubiquitous in the industry.

If you can't post about perceived service issues in a restaurant, then what are we doing here in the first place?

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This would also be sort of like the Ultimate Fighting Challenge for serially annoying restaurant customers. If you can pull your usual petty crap in Buck's Colorado Fishing and Camping Kitchen and escape without several severe beatings, your semi-conscious body shuttled back and forth on the conveyor belt for each chef to get a few good licks in, then you are well hard, sunshine.

You and Rocks are on to something. Oh, let me not forget my face so everyone will know I'm not cranky :lol:;):P

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This would also be sort of like the Ultimate Fighting Challenge for serially annoying restaurant customers. If you can pull your usual petty crap in Buck's Colorado Fishing and Camping Kitchen and escape without several severe beatings, your semi-conscious body shuttled back and forth on the conveyor belt for each chef to get a few good licks in, then you are well hard, sunshine.

Red bandanas could be used to gag and blindfold the ungrateful ones before stuffing them into that old canoe.

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I am happy to report that the rare and elusive North American Well-Fried Catfish (Flakius Tenderus) can once again be observed in its natural habitat, the warm and fragrant oils of Colorado Kitchen, on Fridays at lunchtime. And so resound my happy, tartare belches...

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:lol:

I am happy to report that the rare and elusive North American Well-Fried Catfish (Flakius Tenderus) can once again be observed in its natural habitat, the warm and fragrant oils of Colorado Kitchen, on Fridays at lunchtime. And so resound my happy, tartare belches...

Yes....Stretch I noticed you on Friday..... ;)

You ordered correctly. My finger was on that eject button and little baby stretch would have watched her (?? is it a girl?) long-legged father sail into the air and over to Buck's had you ordered a well-done burger and insisted on Fries.

Edited by Gillian Clark
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I guess I was always just secretly hoping Mrs. Stretch was carrying and XX, but XY is okay, too...

Has Stretch bought him a basketball yet?

Not so far as we know; but, given his genetic heritage, the poor kid is going to be asked his whole life: "Do you play basketball?" or, worse, "How's the weather up there?"

Let us Rockwellians all resolve to ONLY ask him: "What's your favorite restaurant?" :lol:

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Finally made it to Colorado Kitchen the other night and found it to be a mixed bag. The crab cakes were very good, the veal was very bad, and the crab-corn fritters that came with the veal were delightful. I like the onion tart quite a bit, as well, though it (like the crab cakes) was every-so-slightly burnt. The onions and cream were rich, sweet and toothsome; the pastry crisp and light. I wasn’t too keen on the cold tomato soup – I don’t think anyone’s really got good tomatoes yet, so no surprise – but my son liked it quite a bit and I liked it enough that I found the little trick of giving everyone a taste as they sat down to be a pleasant combination of amuse-bouche and suggestion-selling.

I’d suggest, however, that WoodlyGrrrl’s point about feeling rushed is well taken. Though there was no line, grim-looking waiters dashed to and fro as though some geek in the corner was doing a time-and-motion study on them, with an eye to firing the slowest server. Plates were snatched away the instant a fork got set down – whether others in the party were finished, or not. Committing the faux pas of wanting a glass of wine before deciding on food got one of those body-language eye-rolls from the waiter -- best be ready with your order food by the time he got back, I felt, lest I get an audible sigh or, perhaps, a tongue-lashing. And the many directives on how to care for your children, order your meat and time your small courses were a bit oppressive.

Clearly, it’s Chef’s boat; you can sail where she wants to go or you can walk the plank. And it's her place and she pays the bills. The food’s good – sometimes very good -- people line up to eat there, the room is delightful and everyone likes to see a talented and committed chef do well. But, I found the atmosphere a little too “big city bustle” for what I’d hoped would be a more relaxed and comfortable neighborhood joint.

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Finally made it to Colorado Kitchen the other night and found it to be a mixed bag.  The crab cakes were very good, the veal was very bad, and the crab-corn fritters that came with the veal were delightful.  I like the onion tart quite a bit, as well, though it (like the crab cakes) was every-so-slightly burnt. The onions and cream were rich, sweet and toothsome; the pastry crisp and light.  I wasn’t too keen on the cold tomato soup – I don’t think anyone’s really got good tomatoes yet, so no surprise – but my son liked it quite a bit and I liked it enough that I found the little trick of giving everyone a taste as they sat down to be a pleasant combination of amuse-bouche and suggestion-selling. 

I’d suggest, however, that WoodlyGrrrl’s point about feeling rushed is well taken.  Though there was no line, grim-looking waiters dashed to and fro as though some geek in the corner was doing a time-and-motion study on them, with an eye to firing the slowest server.  Plates were snatched away the instant a fork got set down – whether others in the party were finished, or not.  Committing the faux pas of wanting a glass of wine before deciding on food got one of those body-language eye-rolls from the waiter -- best be ready with your order food by the time he got back, I felt, lest I get an audible sigh or, perhaps, a tongue-lashing.  And the many directives on how to care for your children, order your meat and time your small courses were a bit oppressive.

Clearly, it’s Chef’s boat; you can sail where she wants to go or you can walk the plank.  And it's her place and she pays the bills.  The food’s good – sometimes very good -- people line up to eat there, the room is delightful and everyone likes to see a talented and committed chef do well.  But, I found the atmosphere a little too “big city bustle” for what I’d hoped would be a more relaxed and comfortable neighborhood joint.

Yipers...here we go again. I was thinking about all of this feeling rushed business and would love to trade places with you guys. Can I tell you how many times I am just trying to take my time and make nice food when someone at table 6 not having an appetizer "cause I'm not that hungry" sends a waiter over to ask me where their well-done whatever is because they've been waiting a full 8 minutes...sheesh.

Who's is rushing whom I'd like to ask. I resent the notion that I run some sort of Gestapo restaurant where everyone does things my way. Gosh...I wince sometimes when servers do the things they do...I ask them time and again to place the pork chop bone at nine oclock...but who listens to me? I don't have a plank to make people walk on...does Roberto or Frank get such a hard time.

I remember that night of the tomato soup....it was Wednesday...and it was kind of busy. We had two servers that night and I know those guys very well. I can't imagine every getting "big city bustle" from one guy from rural PA and another from Mormon country. If they're moving fast its because its just the two of them in a dining room full of people crying for water, or lemon or whatever diners have got to have or they'll die. I can't imagine you got an eyeroll for wanting wine. Those guys love to sell wine.

As far as the meat temperature thing---its helpful. People don't know what medium or well-done is sometimes. Sheesh. Not all diners are wordly like you whatever your name is. I had a woman ask for a well done steak with a little bit of pink one night. I've had kids break my stuff in good old ck. S&P shakers, sugar dredges...people walking on the furniture I'm still paying for. As for the small food description...I've had people order that little lobster corn dog for dinner...big construction worker guys...they've paid $12 and they're still hungry. Somethings just need explanation we thought....not an attempt to be oppressive. The well-done meat thing was a joke...gosh lighten up. Most people laugh at it. But I do think it makes for balsa wood and ruins a good piece of meat...but if you want it that way fine....i've made well done pork, bacon, salmon, rockfish, catfish, chicken, spring rolls, hashbrowns, eggs..you name it. If you want it that way...fine. I feel, however, as a professional its my duty to discourage that. You're not going to smoke in front of your oncologist are you?

Every Chef's restaurant is like their ship. I dare you to go to any one else's place and ask them to cook like your mother or like some other chef. All of us take our food very personally. Years ago when I brought his whole issue up all I was trying to say was food is personal....you may not like how I make tomato soup...but maybe you'll like Roberto's. Even if I had his recipe mine would not come out like his. You're welcome to eat at his place though. Gosh folks let that whole cartoon of me go...its really not reality...ask Don. I'm really kind and gentle. :lol:

But there is one thing all Chef's in this town understand...yes it is my boat but the diners pay my bills. I know that and that is why I work hard every day to produce the best possible food that I can. I fed over 700 people last week. I love my work and I'm proud of it...wait...here it is... :P . In my ship...I want to take everyone someplace nice...with local crabmeat...cause the stuff from Mexico may be cheaper...but it isn't as good. That's the kind of chef I am. ;)

If you want to get off and stay in Mexico with Julie, Capt. Steubing, Isaac and Doc...be my guest. I don't sail to Mexico...get me.

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Not that I've been known to agree with Gillian very often, but I feel like I need to put my two cents in on this whole "feeling rushed" business.

What drives restaurant business in one of the largest metro area in the world?

1)Food quality and quantity

2)Prices

3)Customer demand at that Location

Everything I've heard about CK (never having been) points all three towards being busy. A reasonable portion of good food at low prices in a location positively starved of decent restos.

You don't want to feel rushed?

3)Find an area with more restaurant supply than diner demand.

2) Go to someplace where the average entree is >$20

1) Go some place with bad food. (although this is no guarantee cf Cheesecake Factory)

CK has a no win issue here. Either the people eating feel rushed or the people waiting get pissed off.

Myself, I'd rather feel a little rushed than wait an extra half-hour for a table. I get mean when I'm hungry. :lol: Besides both Chef and her waitors have bills to pay.

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I've read all the stuff about Colorado Kitchen, both here and on that other site, not to mention Tom Sietsemas's online chats. I also went to the eGullet dinner she made for us on her day off.

I'm beginning to wonder if Clark is being held to some impossible standard. CK is not Citronelle and earning a living there for the waiters is also not like Citronelle. It ALSO isn't the Cheesecake Factory or IHOP :lol: , for which I for one am truly grateful.

Waitman didn't care much for the tomato soup or the veal. Not everybody is going to like everything on a restaurant menu. (I'm sure I wouldn't like the liver that even Paul Bocuse could produce.) He did, however, like a lot of the other stuff.

If I were Gillian Clark, and I'm not, I think I would pay some attention to the service issues. Some of this seems legitimate; certainly Waitman's service comments seem reasonable and sincere on that score.

If Clark didn't defend herself and her restaurant so forthrightly, would all of this controversy go away? Just askin'.

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But, I found the atmosphere a little too “big city bustle” for what I’d hoped would be a more relaxed and comfortable neighborhood joint.

I had a leisurely lunch at CK this past Friday and experienced the relaxed neighborhood experience some seem to be looking for. Hoping my schedule will allow me to get back for a long Friday lunch sooner rather than later!

I want to try brunch or dinner there one of these days, but I'm managing my expectations that it might be a bit more chaotic.

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If Clark didn't defend herself and her restaurant so forthrightly, would all of this controversy go away?  Just askin'.

OK, Robin here (the other half of CK). I thought for a long time that if we ignored all this it would go away...but NOOOOO.

Let's all be honest...for whatever reason we're the restaurant you all love to hate. I think if you come looking to be rushed you are indeed going to feel rushed. I have no doubt Waitman felt rushed. It reads that he came to prove WoodleyGirls point.

Like Chef stated earlier we served 700 people in our little ol' restaurant last week (and we're closed two days so we can get a few more gray hairs reading reviews and blogs on our days off ;) ) We can't suck THAT bad. Sure we have service issues...you'll never hear me denying that. You also have no idea how much I fuss at our waitstaff. They are all so over me. But no matter how much we fuss and holler they still come to our windows with the most ridiculous requests to make their tables happy.

Because we are closed two nights a week we go out to dinner on both those nights. I can't tell you how many disappointing meals and service issues we have going out just twice a week. One white tablecloth restaurant in town the waiter poured an entire bottle of too cold wine all over one of Chef's daughters. There was no apology and only when we insisted was the bottle taken off our bill. Another night I was chased out of a very popular restaurant because I was tired of trying to make eye contact and get a bill. We left what we calculated as our tab and walked out after over 1/2 hour of being ignored. Only once we left did we get someone to pay attention....they thought we "dined and ditched". Lastly, one of eGullet's favorite restaurants almost poisoned us with spoiled potato salad. This is the first and only place online that these incidents have been mentioned, and I'm not naming names.

Bad food and service is all over town. The owners try to make sure it doesn't happen, but no matter how hard we try we have to rely on others. We can't do it ourselves.

It's my biggest wish for Colorado Kitchen and all other restaurants to stress to all diners that if you're so completely dissatisfied at your dining experience mention at the time. There is a good chance we might be able to make it better or offer an option. Don't go to a restaurant looking for something to go wrong so you can run home and anonymously rake a restaurant over the coals. If you're looking for a bad experience you'll find it.

Well, there is my 2 cents :lol:

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OK, Robin here (the other half of CK).  I thought for a long time that if we ignored all this it would go away...but NOOOOO.

Let's all be honest...for whatever reason we're the restaurant you all love to hate.  I think if you come looking to be rushed you are indeed going to feel rushed.  I have no doubt Waitman felt rushed.  It reads that he came to prove WoodleyGirls point.

Well, there is my 2 cents    :lol:

No no no no no no no. Don't get all projecting on me. I didn't come there looking to be rushed; I just got that way after I sat down. Good lord, as fun as it is to take cheap shots at famous restaurants, it's much more fun to have a relaxing dinner with the kids. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

And, as a knee-jerk lefty, I thought that WoodlyGrrrl was getting a bit beat up, wrongly, so I got her back for the momoent.

Let me begin by repeating my respect for anyone who can take build a restaurant -- especially in a challenging neighborhood -- and make it work. Let me ask, in return, that I and others get the same respect, and that our opinions be heard instead of dismissed out of hand.

But, I checked with the wife and kids and we're unanimous: the service the night we were there was unfortunate. Waiters lunged over my shoulder to seize barely empty dishes. Nobody on CK payroll smiled the whole time I was there. The waiter had to consult the back of his ticket book to remember what wine was available by the glass, and he was visibly distressed when we weren't ready to order on his schedule. And the endless notes...they're not funny; they're patronizing as hell. Though I agree with the sentiments, I was stunned at how poorly they read. Stunned.

As for this response: "Don't go to a restaurant looking for something to go wrong so you can run home and anonymously rake a restaurant over the coals. If you're looking for a bad experience you'll find it." Well, PM if you want. Or call. Charles Sweeney, I'm in the book.

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Let me ask, in return, that I and others get the same respect, and that our opinions be heard instead of dismissed out of hand. 

The waiter had to consult the back of his ticket book to remember what wine was available by the glass, and he was visibly distressed when we weren't ready to order on his schedule. And the endless notes...they're not funny; they're patronizing as hell.  Though I agree with the sentiments, I was stunned at how poorly they read.  Stunned.

As for this response: "Don't go to a restaurant looking for something to go wrong so you can run home and anonymously rake a restaurant over the coals. If you're looking for a bad experience you'll find it."  Well, PM if you want.  Or call.  Charles Sweeney, I'm in the book.

Waitman,

This wasn't all directly related to you. I was just replying after 4 years of reading how bad we suck...yes Bilrus on eG. There were a lot of people that wouldn't even come to the restaurant for the first time because of what we named the store. We've had people over he last 4 years make up out and out lies....especially on Tom's chat. I believe I did say that we do listen and try to make the best experience. It really isn't in our best financial interest to be the "Soup Nazis".

As for the wine list on the back of the ticket book, our wine changes from day to day. Some servers only work a day or two a week and find out what wines are available when they come in. Is it really that bad that he has to check his notes? This is the kind of nit-picking that makes me log on and comment.

I'm sorry you don't like the notes. Most comments we get are positive. Again, we can't win 'em all. As a matter of fact, one mother took one of the tent card (she got our permission) inserts home she enjoyed it so much. But "poorly read"? "Stunned"? I guess you DID need some wine that night :lol:;)

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You know, truce and all that.

I'm not going to get into to death spiral thread about the waiter and the wine list, or whatever. In return, it would be nice nice if the details I seize upon are credited as being emblematic, if you will, of my experience, as opposed to dismissed as "nit-picking."

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But Chef, the whole point is that your food doesn't suck. Not a bit. And neither does your restaurant. I believe, based on the people I have met on this site, that most of us WANT you to succeed. Your food, your prices, the neighborhoodness (?) are all the kinds of things most of us support. There are many other restaurants who have never had this kind of well-wishing and are not mourned when they go down the tubes.

There is a deep appreciation for independent restaurateurs, including "quirkiness." Many people here have done some time in the business, as well. God knows, none of us wants to see any more chains sprouting up. Ridiculous demands by diners are par for the course (see the blog waiterrant.com). That's NOT the issue here.

You seem to have service issues, based on the comments here and elsewhere. They are not ridiculous or outrageous demands from picky eaters. I'm not going to tell you how to cook your food or do something you think is beneath your food to satisfy some picky person. The service issues are, however, another thing. Can it be that difficult to remind your waitpersons of the basics? I know that you and Robin work very hard, but it seems to me that these issues aren't impossible to solve and would appear to get you off the hotseat, at least for a while. For example, when confronted with the Sunday morning brunch rush, would it be so terribly difficult for your hostess to ask couples if they would like to share a four-top with another couple? Most folk would cheerfully go for that, rather than wait an interminable amount of time for a two-top to open up. At least it would give people the option and might eliminate the kinds of incidences which have been reported (anonymously, yes) over your seating policy. (Notice, I'm not criticizing the policy itself).

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