A good friend and I tried Factory Kitchen Friday night. I cannot wait to go back. This is a wonderful restaurant in most every way.
The space is warm and inviting. I love the wooden tables, the chairs are very comfortable and the bar space is large, a great place to sit. I had a drink at the bar before we sat down and the bartender was great. He talked me into branching out from my usual cocktail; his variation on a Manhattan was excellent.
All the staff, in fact, from the lovely women at the front to the waiters, bussers and sommelier… even the guy making fresh pasta about to be cooked behind the bar - all were warm, friendly and helpful. If staff makes a restaurant, Factory Kitchen gets a 10.
But then there is the food. Damn. It was packed and the kitchen was running a bit slow (not a big deal, we didn't even notice) so they sent out as a comp these wonderful red peppers stuffed with cheese, served over an arugula oil. A perfect marriage of textures and flavors, we loved these. We then had the starter we ordered, their mushroom 'flatbread', also divine. Their flatbreads are different in that they are filled with cheese then the ingredients are on top. We enjoyed this very much as well.
I dove in and ordered two pastas in succession. The pesto is indeed, as often reviewed and mentioned, one of the best dishes I've ever had in my life. The handkerchief pasta, which is being made as you walk in the door, is spiraled around almost like a large flower, with the buttery almond pesto perfectly 'dressing' the pasta. Seriously, this is one of my favorite taste sensations ever and I doubt I will ever go back without ordering it. (And I will be back! I want to try some of the meat dishes people were getting that looked gorgeous.)
We also tried the meat filled pasta with butter sage sauce. Another excellent dish. Besides the excellent combinations of flavors, everything is so incredibly fresh.
A surprise for me was the fish. My friend ordered the dover sole, which was a special of the day. I like fish but never crave it. They brought the sole out whole, on a plate, showed it to us then removed it to debone it. Then they brought it back. It was pretty but a little strange in that the beautiful piece of white fish was on a white plate alone. Just the fish. With then a sauce and a relish on the side. This actually was my favorite dish of the night, perhaps because it so surprised me. The fish was perfection. Perfectly cooked, buttery and delicious. The side accompanying it were very good but I ended up mostly eating it plain.
Highly recommended. We had an excellent bottle of red as well, not too expensive. In fact, the whole evening was cheaper than many lesser meals I've had lately. Check it out. They have a large parking lot/valet right next door so if you worry about going into eastern Downtown, you will be safe!