The Kitchen can be a fun experience, but it's important to keep a few things in mind. First, it's best to reserve a table here for a leisurely evening catching up with friends — not when you want to dine and dash. On one evening, 30 minutes passed between when we placed our orders and when we received them. (This didn't bother us, as we anticipated a lag and the canapés made it seem much shorter.) Also keep in mind that delivering hors d'oeuvres creates more work for servers, and they can't be everywhere at once.
Executive chef Wade New's menu is very short and, to its credit, highly seasonal. With one exception — its signature fried chicken and waffles — it's mostly based around proteins. The staff gives you a list of the options — hanger steak, pork chop, veal rib chop, salmon, a fish of the day, a vegetarian plate — and tells you how each is being prepared; they'll also tell you about any other specials that evening.
No one asked us about dietary restrictions, but speak up if you have any. Not just because of the hors d'oeuvres, but also because of the family-style sides that they'll bring to your table. These included potato salad on one evening and black-eyed peas on another; both tasted strongly of bacon, dismaying friends who don't eat pork.
Those who will enjoy The Kitchen the most are people who will be charmed by the retro atmosphere (complete with the same green-lined plates that are probably in millions of American households) and the ability to visit the small kitchen (you'll need to, to get to the bathroom). Also, it's helpful if you're open to trying new foods. While the passed canapés are intended to evoke the '30s, the five items we were served on each visit evoked flavors classic and modern: One dinner included a truffled deviled egg and chicken liver mousse with apple slaw on flatbread; another brought salmon tartare on a lotus chip, cold cucumber soup, and a dollop of macaroni and cheese on a cheese crisp.