I've eaten at Kathleen's Art Cafe several times, usually brunch or dinner, and have always thought of it as a nice place, with good to very good food, that provides good value. I've even recommended the "Eggs from Hell" here, for brunch.
Our experience there last night has changed my mind about the "good value" and "good to very good food" aspects of the place.
Among the four of us, we ordered two calamari appetizers, two "wedge" salads, a tuna melt sandwich, gorgonzola-stuffed beef filet, asiago trout, schnitzel and three carrot cakes for dessert. We also had two glasses of wine and two soft drinks.
The calamari were greasy and almost immediately lost their crispiness. The wedge salads were bland and deconstructed -- candied pecans (?), two slices of bacon served on the side of the plate. The tuna melt was left uneaten, with only one bite taken, the diner pronouncing it "disgusting." The filet, which was ordered rare, had a hunk of cold, semi-solid cheese in it, rather than the expected unctuous sauce. The trout was left mostly uneaten, too, partly because the combination of asiago and fish made the fish taste like it had gone bad (I verified this by taking a taste). And the schnitzel was, I think, deep fried rather than pan fried, with a crust that tasted suspiciously like it had been made with corn flakes. Even copious amounts of lemon juice (which we had to ask for from the kitchen) could not make it interesting.
Cost for this dinner was $140, excluding tip. Hence my comment about value. As the waiter ran through the five "specials" and told us that the pasta with chicken was $16, I suppose bells should have gone off. Frankly, I don't mind paying $35 per person for dinner, but the dinner should be a lot more enjoyable and inspired than this one. Edible, at the very least!
By the way, as we were leaving, I happened to see a cook in the kitchen grabbing some cooked pasta with his hands to assemble a dish. Maybe that's what made the pasta dish "special."
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