I joined a friend for a play at the Music Center and, because time was limited, we had dinner at Kendall's. Never again.
The food was mediocre at best. I ordered a special cold fennel soup with ahi tuna that tasted like someone had mixed creme fraiche into a cold potato leek base and then dropped some small cubes of tasteless fish into it. I'm not sure why they called it fennel, because none could be found amidst the overpowering sourness of the soup.
That, unfortunately, was the winning choice among the appetizers. My friend tried the tomato-fish soup, but was brought potato leek by mistake. When they did bring her the correct soup, it was cold. Even worse, the soup apparently was made by grinding pieces of fish and shellfish into the soup base -- with the shells still on. We had to pick the tiny pieces of shells out of our teeth. As my friend said, it felt like chewing fingernails.
The other items were slightly better. I had a lamb shank that was perfectly cooked, with the meat melting off the bone. It would have been nice if it had a little more seasoning or had been served with more interesting accompaniments. It came with some bowtie pasta with what I think was some butter and a few small slices of parmesan. It was rather bland.
Friend had duck confit salad. It was quite good, although some might think the dressing was overpowering. I liked the combination.
For dessert, we shared the pot de creme, which was two small cups of vanilla and chocolate creme topped with very sweet whipped cream. As a disclaimer, the chocolate creme brulee they used to have at Pinot Bistro is one of my favorite chocolate dishes of all time, so I had hope that the chocolate pot de creme would be similar. It was okay. It had decent chocolate flavor, but as my friend pointed out, it wasn't much better than Jello chocolate pudding. The same couldn't be said for the vanilla. It was not even set, so it was basically yellow liquid that was overpowered by the whipped cream placed on top.
Service was so so. The servers apologized for their slowness, citing how "everyone came in at once!" Really? What a shock. Wouldn't you think that, after all this time, Kendall's might realize that a lot of people arrive at 6:30 for pre-theater dinner? Not surprising, we had to rush coffee and barely made it to the play in time.
It really is a shame. I remember when Kendall's took over for Otto's and it was so great to have a nice restaurant in that space, but I doubt I'll ever go back. Even the convenience isn't worth that price for bad food.
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