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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 greeneyedlady » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:47 pm

by 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.


I always appreciate folks who don't enable me, though. :wink:
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby hmmmph » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:34 pm

Fat.The.Gangster wrote:The responsibility for over-eating falls on the customer, not the kitchen.


I totally agree with you. On the other hand, I think that there is no need to give people insane portions of food because I don't want to be eating leftovers for three days after my meal. That's just my own personal preference, so feel free to wax poetic if you choose to disagree.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby gemini child » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:29 pm

I went there on a Thursday night. While the food was good, the service was not. It took FOREVER for them to bring us our drinks. I also thought the whole scene was a bit pretentious.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby swoon_queen » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:38 pm

gemini child wrote:I went there on a Thursday night. While the food was good, the service was not. It took FOREVER for them to bring us our drinks. I also thought the whole scene was a bit pretentious.


Interesting-- what time you were there? I've heard this from friends of mine as well but I've always left pretty early (8 at the latest) and wonder if it's more of a late crowd.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby gemini child » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:33 pm

It was probably around 8:30 when we got there.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby Athena » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:11 pm

I was a bit disappointed in the Underground Kitchen. I went there last night with my husband. There was no hostess stand so there was some confusion about where to wait but we got our names on the list and were told a half hour wait. We did get seated in a bit over a half hour, but it could have been half that if they had turned over the tables quicker. I understand not wanting to overwhelm the kitchen but it seemed very slow to me. Once we did get seated the service was excellent.

I had the Bunny in Bed appetizer to start which was very good. The sausage was well spiced and went well with the puff pastry and cheese sauce. My husband had the chicken wings. He said the sauce was good but the wings were just okay. For my main course I had the duck. Parts of it were very good but there were several pieces of duck that had been overcooked and dried out. My husband had the pork chop with mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was good but not as good as Graze's. The pork chop was perfectly cooked but could have used more seasoning. The spinach was overwhelmed by the sauce it was in. Desert was a Clementine cheesecake. It was very orangy and quite refreshing as a light desert.

I didn't have a bad meal or anything, but I was expecting a bit more. There's just too many options on the square now.
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Re: Underground Kitchen So So

Postby aimless » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:47 pm

I ate at Underground Kitchen last night with a friend. I arrived early and the restaurant was almost empty. I had heard that the restaurant was cold. It was. They have hung a curtain inside the doorway but there is still a cold breeze blowing and it can be felt throughout the space. If they last til next winter it is imperative they address this problem.
The restaurant is lovely. A great use of the space. Loads of natural light and a bright and airy feel. I enjoyed the presentation and the dishwear they use. The bar was especially comfortable and attractive.
As for the staff... the bartender was incredibly friendly and helpful. He mixed a good drink, too. The hostess was cold and unengaging. During the night the 4 owners strode past our table numerous times, never stopping to say hello or ask how things were going. That was a huge missed opportunity. Our waitress, Kate, was fabulous. (It was her last night there so do not look for her in the future.) Our service was prompt, knowledgable and friendly.
We started with the Vegetable Board ($15) which got mixed reviews. The parsnip pate and the lentil and bean salads were the stars. The carrot dish and "almond cheese" were pretty tasteless. We appreciated the small serving of bread that came with the dish. We ate a special appetizer, Lardon Stuffed Dates which came with a light salad. The dates were yummy and at $5 this was a good bargain.
For the final course, my friend ordered the Cavatelli ($15) which was totally unremarkable. You could not taste the "pumpkin butter" and the sausage was nothing to write home about. I ate a special for the evening ($16) which consisted of two small skewers, one with duck loin and the other with rabbit livers. The highlight was the rabbit liver. The duck was dry. It came with a very boring light salad.
As for the portions, I am sorry, they are just too small. I am not a glutton and do not want some plate loaded with heavy foods. But I should be full and satisfied after eating appetizers and an entree. I felt my entree should have been at least doubled and served with a carb as part of the dish. I had to restrain myself on the way home from stopping at Monty's for a big piece of pie.
So, I want to go back, maybe just for appetizers. I definitely will go back to the bar. Hopefully in time, the servings will increase a bit. Then I will be good to go.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby LargeMarge » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:28 pm

I went to Underground Kitchen at 7:15 at on a Friday night with my boyfriend. We were seated immediately. Unfortunately, we were seated at a shared table. There was one place setting between us. The problem was that it was bench seating. It made it awkward to get in and out. Also, every time the person at the other end of the table moved, the whole bench shook. She wasn’t heavy; the bench just wasn’t that stable.

The restaurant is loud enough so that my dining companion couldn’t hear the server. We really couldn’t have much of a conversation. I got a mixed drink that was quite good. He got a beer. He was not impressed with the beer selection, but he is a beer snob. The beer he ordered was not as described. I ordered the wild rice cake ($15?). He ordered the pork special ($18?)

Service was pleasant. We were not waiting long before our entrees arrived. My entrée was on the small side, but it was adequate for me. My dish had a poached egg on top. It was poached perfectly. However, there was no salt on the table. I like my yolks salty so I was disappointed that I had to ask for salt.

His pork entrée was so small that I almost gasped when I saw it. I had always heard that a serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards (for dieting purposes, not restaurant purposes). This was less than deck of cards. The flavor was fine but not outstanding. We ended up stopping at a bar to get him a burger on our way home.

We were both disappointed and won’t be back.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby hmmmph » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:02 am

I feel the need to post an update to my previous post because I've made a couple more trips back to Underground Kitchen and have been pretty disappointed.

Once I went with a group of eight people on a Tuesday night and the service was awful. The server came by and took our drink order then disappeared for 20 minutes without coming back to find out if we wanted appetizers. From the time we were seated until we actually had an opportunity to order food it was a 30 minute wait.

In terms of the food, it was hit or miss. My friends really enjoyed the brussel sprout hash and the flatbread special, whereas another friend was served veal that was so tough he couldn't even cut it with a steak knife. My gnocchi was leaden and bland.

Another trip back with just me and another friend was marred by the blasts of cold air from the door in the side room (can't they just put up a sign instructing people to use the other door that has curtains in front of it???) as well as the fact that they kept running out of the food we ordered (we were there at 6:30pm on a Friday). I guess I just don't get it. Those experiences have made me drop Underground Kitchen from a destination restaurant to a "I guess I'll go there if I have to" restaurant.
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MASSIVE FAIL

Postby bmasel » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:42 am

The service was even worse than the food.

After the opening of the Film fest e stopped down the block last night with the Black Tuna, who's intro'd "Square Grouper."

3 of us are squinting at the menus for 20-25 minutes, unable to read the tiny print in the dark. Efforts to flag help are unproductive, so we're lifting candles for each other. (Restaurants that like to serve in the dark should provide penlights.)

Finally, "any questions?" I ask what will work on my medically dictated soft diet, get one suggestion, and she's already scanning the place for another table to head to.

"How about the mushroom/bread pudding?" "That's soft," which it indeed is, but no mention that the serving's tiny, and the only accompaniment is a super crunchy carrot salad. The pudding's also very bland, but I'd have lived with that.

It's another 20 minutes before we see our server. Our guest has only had 1 spoon of his White Bean ad white sausage dish. complains that the beans are way undercooked, the shells come off hard, the sausage is tasteles. he's offered another dish, but no refund. With an early flight out he passes.

All in all, the worst Madison dining experience ever.
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Re: MASSIVE FAIL

Postby lolagirl » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:27 pm

bmasel wrote:The service was even worse than the food.

After the opening of the Film fest e stopped down the block last night with the Black Tuna, who's intro'd "Square Grouper."

3 of us are squinting at the menus for 20-25 minutes, unable to read the tiny print in the dark. Efforts to flag help are unproductive, so we're lifting candles for each other. (Restaurants that like to serve in the dark should provide penlights.)

Finally, "any questions?" I ask what will work on my medically dictated soft diet, get one suggestion, and she's already scanning the place for another table to head to.

"How about the mushroom/bread pudding?" "That's soft," which it indeed is, but no mention that the serving's tiny, and the only accompaniment is a super crunchy carrot salad. The pudding's also very bland, but I'd have lived with that.

It's another 20 minutes before we see our server. Our guest has only had 1 spoon of his White Bean ad white sausage dish. complains that the beans are way undercooked, the shells come off hard, the sausage is tasteles. he's offered another dish, but no refund. With an early flight out he passes.

All in all, the worst Madison dining experience ever.


That's a damn shame, Ben. I wish you the best right now, and obviously this was not even close.

There's been a lot of reports here noting less than exemplary service at the UK. I haven't been because the reviews I've read of both food and service don't really appeal to me. Has anyone had a good experience there recently?
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby juice » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:27 pm

Does anyone else think it unfair to complain about their handling of your "soft diet?" Have you ever had a good meal with that request? Good dishes are all about contrast, ie: richness balanced with acidity, soft balanced with crunch, so basically you yanked the chair from underneath them. Do let me know what restaurant can pull off a good meal for you though.

Anyways, I'd just like to say, I think UK is what it is. Sometimes good, sometimes not. I'm not expecting greatness so I've never been disappointed, and either way, not really breaking the bank to eat there. Recently tried beef pretzel dogs, which were decent, not outstanding, but great company to beer. Their flatbread pizza has always been solid also, and I'm hoping to try some even better dishes once the growing season is under way.
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Re: Underground Kitchen is sublime

Postby scratch » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:33 pm

juice wrote:Does anyone else think it unfair to complain about their handling of your "soft diet?" Have you ever had a good meal with that request? Good dishes are all about contrast, ie: richness balanced with acidity, soft balanced with crunch, so basically you yanked the chair from underneath them. Do let me know what restaurant can pull off a good meal for you though.

Anyways, I'd just like to say, I think UK is what it is. Sometimes good, sometimes not. I'm not expecting greatness so I've never been disappointed, and either way, not really breaking the bank to eat there. Recently tried beef pretzel dogs, which were decent, not outstanding, but great company to beer. Their flatbread pizza has always been solid also, and I'm hoping to try some even better dishes once the growing season is under way.


"Anyways," the soft diet request was just one negative point raised in a series of postings from diners dissatisfied with UK in one way or another, so no, I don't think that complaint was unfair. And yes, it "is what it is" like practically every other thing under the sun "is what it is," but apparently what it isn't, at least according to posters to this forum, is a pleasant and rewarding dining experience.
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