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Underground Kitchen is sublime

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:18 pm

Petro wrote:Caterers for a very important event for my family.

...

I certainly hope they've improved their notions of what customer service entails since then. Personally? I'm hoping they haven't. I'll be the first to dance on their graves.

Christ, which family are we talking about--Gambino? Genovese?
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Petro » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:21 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Christ, which family are we talking about--Gambino? Genovese?


You're an asshole for making that assumption.

We had a large memorial service for my mother in the spring because our family is widespread and travel to rural Wisconsin can be rough in the winter months. She died in January.

Thanks for the organized crime parallels though. That's refreshing - we're mostly Swedish and Lithuanian on that side.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Average Joe » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Kind of assholish of you to be offended by another's glib comment when you were enough of a cad to refer to "dancing on" some else's grave when discussing your own mothers memorial service.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Petro » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:36 pm

Average Joe wrote:Kind of assholish of you to be offended by another's glib comment when you were enough of a cad to refer to "dancing on" some else's grave when discussing your own mothers memorial service.


I'm content with the notion of seeing a business fail in this light, yes. I even hope for it.

Is there a disgusting pun there? I guess you could extract that.

This all detracts from my initial intent though - I'm utterly appalled at the absolute lack of any excuse for customer service from these idiots to an offensive extent.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby jdhunter0324 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:52 pm

I wanted to chime in on this because one of the largest critiques of our company has been client relations. I'm really sorry no one got back to you and you felt blown off. It was a serious problem with our business.

First off, we have fixed that problem. Hired a full time person to do client relations. We have a system in place that makes sure that every person who contacts us receives attention.

Second, like most small businesses we are passionate about our food and less passionate about some of the details, this was made especially clear in that we were unable to handle all the communication. The business wasn't full time for anybody and juggling everything made some parts be neglected. A lot of small businesses run into these issues and they either fix them or fail. There are some things that you learn in the whole process and i wish i would have hired someone a long time ago to handle this part of the business, she has paid for herself many times over since starting to work for us. That being said, we really do things differently then most catering companies and it took time for us to figure out how to communicate that to clients. We tried to hirer a number of different people to do this job and it didn't work out that well. We had certain ideals we wanted to stick with but were unable to keep up with some of the client communication involved with those.

Okay, long rant to explain our process, again i'm sorry this happened.

The restaurant is working out it glitches as well. The space has a lot of challenges but systems are starting to happen to work out some of the problems in service. I promise the long wait time was most likely a back of house issue not a front. Our front of house are just the ones who the customer sees, it is our mistakes that they have to cover for.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby jjoyce » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:27 am

Petro wrote:I certainly hope they've improved their notions of what customer service entails since then. Personally? I'm hoping they haven't. I'll be the first to dance on their graves.


You're here to essentially try and dissuade others from going to a restaurant because you had a problem with another arm of the business in the past (anonymously, I should add) and you're the one getting upset when someone makes a joke at your username's expense?

Just making sure you weren't being too outrageously righteous.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby juice » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:52 pm

Can we get back on topic? From a bunch of self-proclaimed foodies I've seen about two mentions of food and one negative on the catering side. God forbid anybody get a bad review in this town.
I'm hoping to go this week. Menu looks tasty. Craving duck tartare and chicken wings. Overall I wish they'd be a little more organized, for one they missed their open date by two weeks and now two weeks later I still have no idea what their hours are, carry-outs, etc. I would expect a little more after, what was it, a six month renovation? Makes me wonder a little.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby kiwiwannabe » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:55 pm

We had really great food and excellent service on Saturday night. Duck wings, shaved kale, white beans in broth with rabbit, the pasta special with lamb shanks and mushrooms.

A lovely punch with brandy and plum juice and cranberries, I think. Chocolate tart with real caramel and sea salt. Cornmeal pound cake with apricot puree. Both desserts with creme fraiche. The whole point of this collective is the creative side. If you wanted excellent customer service from what was at the time a guerilla organization working off the cuff and as outre as possible, I think you should have thought the process through a little more.

I found the old wooden doors in what used to be the sidecar really charming. The purse hooks in the ladies rooms were embedded in wooden blocks on the back of the doors. It was a really wonderful combination of an upscale look with rustic touches and interesting art - loved the griddles shaped like midwestern states on the wall in the old sidecar, for example.

I don't understand people who want to race through a meal at a new restaurant. Look around you - enjoy the chaos as the place works out its kinks! Anyone who has ever worked in food service should be sympathetic to a staff that is being trained. Critics and nay-sayers are in the majority these days, unfortunately.

People love the restaurant shows on TV for all of the drama, but when they go out to eat, there should be nothing to interfere with their perfect dining experience and THEIR needs. Why is that?

If you're in a hurry to get somewhere AFTER dinner, there are plenty of places in town that will rush you in and out the door as quickly as possible. Some of us like to actually taste our food, and discuss it and the issues of the day with the people with whom we are dining.

Enjoy Underground Kitchen while it is new, and you can still get a table on a weekend night within a reasonable time and a meal for a very good price.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:56 pm

juice wrote:Can we get back on topic? From a bunch of self-proclaimed foodies I've seen about two mentions of food and one negative on the catering side. God forbid anybody get a bad review in this town.
I'm hoping to go this week. Menu looks tasty. Craving duck tartare and chicken wings. Overall I wish they'd be a little more organized, for one they missed their open date by two weeks and now two weeks later I still have no idea what their hours are, carry-outs, etc. I would expect a little more after, what was it, a six month renovation? Makes me wonder a little.

The entire renovation was largely DIY, as I understand it. The principles never stated a firm opening date, so (for better or worse) there was never a firm date to miss. And if you think there's never been a bad review in Madison, you haven't been paying attention.

Which, clearly, you haven't. The hours of operation for Underground Kitchen are right there, clear as day, in the article I already linked.

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=30926
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Athena » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:05 am

So, is there a menu posted online anywhere? I'd love to go but I'd like a look at the menu first so I know how well to prep my husband (both food and cost-wise).
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby swoon_queen » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:48 am

Athena wrote:So, is there a menu posted online anywhere? I'd love to go but I'd like a look at the menu first so I know how well to prep my husband (both food and cost-wise).


It seems the menu changes frequently (if not daily), so I don't think it is posted. I think the prices are decent. I went first as part of a table of two, being fairly indulgent: apps,a few $7-$8 cocktails/glasses of wine each, main courses and desserts = $70. When I went with my boyfriend and daughter, we shared an appetizer platter, all got main courses, I think my boyfriend had a beer and I had a glass of wine, no dessert=$60.

I can't stop thinking about the olive tapenade. Served with a chunk of fresh butter, a handful of sea salt, and a few types of Madison Sourdough breads. mmm. There was also a pork tenderloin special the other night with a cider reduction and roasted peppers. It was hauntingly good.

I haven't noticed any issues with the staff; maybe a teeeeeny bit of the standard still-working-out-the-kinks first few weeks stuff but all of the servers/hosts/bartenders I've encountered have been friendly/welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful.

Also I think it is worth mentioning that my last visit was with a group of friends, one of whom has a severe allergy which prevented her from enjoying much of the menu. The chef, walking through the front room, overheard us talking about it and knelt down next to her at the table, chatted with her about the severity of her allergy and what she could and could not eat, asked her what she wanted based on the ingredients she saw on the menu, and then went back to the kitchen and prepared a plate carefully to her specifications. My friend was pleasantly surprised, especially because it was packed to the gills in there. I don't know that that's something that normally would happen (and she certainly wouldn't expect it) as typically chefs are way too busy and focused for special accommodations of that nature, but it made our night.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby juice » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:41 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:
juice wrote:Can we get back on topic? From a bunch of self-proclaimed foodies I've seen about two mentions of food and one negative on the catering side. God forbid anybody get a bad review in this town.
I'm hoping to go this week. Menu looks tasty. Craving duck tartare and chicken wings. Overall I wish they'd be a little more organized, for one they missed their open date by two weeks and now two weeks later I still have no idea what their hours are, carry-outs, etc. I would expect a little more after, what was it, a six month renovation? Makes me wonder a little.

The entire renovation was largely DIY, as I understand it. The principles never stated a firm opening date, so (for better or worse) there was never a firm date to miss. And if you think there's never been a bad review in Madison, you haven't been paying attention.

Which, clearly, you haven't. The hours of operation for Underground Kitchen are right there, clear as day, in the article I already linked.

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=30926


Oh, so they just quietly whispered October 7th, stealing the limelight from Nostrano in that article, and didn't make that date. That's ok though, because they never said it was set in stone and it was DIY(pay no mind to Justin Carlisle opening 43 North in a month).

Was your review of Eight Seasons a "bad" review? Because I'm still heeding your advice, and I think there's about a week left to wait for that place to be good. If that was a bad review though I won't bother. I'm thinking of opening a restaurant based on that concept. It's called Preggers, and if we're not good now, just wait 9 months!

My point here is, why is a critic like yourself telling me things like restaurants' hours? The answer is because the menu I quickly grabbed and the storefront weren't "clear as day". There's not even a telephone number I'm able to find. As a restaurant patron I'd like to not be confused, and shouldn't have to do research to eat a meal.

I'm going to shut up now until I've actually tried the food.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:12 pm

Critic: no talky. Just tell good or bad. Got it.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby hmmmph » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:33 am

A friend and I went to Underground Kitchen the other night and were really impressed. We both had cocktails (the #6 and #5 -- both tasty, though on the smallish side), followed by a recommendation from the server to get the sandwich plate which was a deconstructed roast beef sandwich with pesto, cheese, pickled onions, pickles, and delicious bread. We were both really happy with that choice as our app since it was kind of the best of their meat, cheese, and vegetable platters combined.

For our mains we had their veal and one of their specials, which was pasta with mushrooms and duck in a tomato-y sauce. Both of us were raving about what we had. Less successful was the wheatberry salad, which was a touch undercooked for my liking.

If you order a gin and tonic, be aware that their tonic is homemade and an amber color, so don't be concerned when you get your drink and it looks like they mixed it with ginger ale.

Total for the night, with tip, was $70. Aside from the price, we were also excited that we weren't stuffed to the gills with gigantic portions. I'd say they really hit the mark with delicious food, moderate portions and moderate prices.

All in all, I'll definitely be back and I look forward to trying more of their menu. It also helps that it's a block from my place which means this will probably be my new neighborhood haunt...
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Fat.The.Gangster » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:22 pm

I appreciate your review but this sentence is ridiculous:
hmmmph wrote: Aside from the price, we were also excited that we weren't stuffed to the gills with gigantic portions.
The responsibility for over-eating falls on the customer, not the kitchen.
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