This past Friday night, we (and by we I of course mean Mrs. G-LO, The Boys, and I) took my Mother-In-Law out to dinner for her birthday. After scouring the interwebz for somewhere new to try, Mrs. G-LO settled on a BYOB in Glendora, NJ called Kitchen 519. With a plethora of solid reviews from all of the major user review websites ( 4.5/5 on OpenTable, 4.5 stars on Yelp, and 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor), we felt pretty confident that we were gonna be dining at a winner. Sadly, our dinner turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag…
Given that this was a birthday dinner, we decided to take it easy since we knew we’d be ordering dessert, so we only ordered two smallish apetizers: The Crab Nachos and a side order of the Smoked Gouda Mac N Cheese. The Crab Nachos tasted ok overall, but the presentation was way less than inspired and didn’t look much better than the tortilla chips with cheese whiz that they serve at our local pool. Our feelings about The Gouda Mac and Cheese were about the same. The flavor was ok, but it was a slimy mess to look at and the pasta was a little too firm for our taste, plus there wasn’t all that much of it, i.e. the pasta to cheese sauce ratio was all out of proportion.
The entrees were the strongest part of the meal. The Boys both ordered the Steak Frites which consisted of “seared & sliced 7 oz flank steak, red wine demi glace, and garlic fries”. They both seemed to enjoy their meals even though the steaks were served rare instead of medium, which is how they asked for them to be prepared. I ordered the Macadamia Crusted Chicken and the ladies (Mrs. G-LO and my Mother-In-Law) both ordered fish dishes (Grilled Salmon and Grilled Cobia that were both served with potatoes and local corn). All three entrees were well prepared and we had no trouble cleaning our plates.
My youngest ordered a Hot Fudge Sunday, my mother-in-law ordered a bowl of vanilla ice cream, my eldest ordered a Vanilla Creme Brûlée, and Mrs. G-LO and I decided to split a Banana’s Foster. It’s pretty tough to screw up a Hot Fudge Sunday and a bowl of vanilla ice cream so there isn’t much to say about them other than my dining companions seemed to enjoy them. While my eldest had no trouble finishing his Creme Brûlée, I thought it was just ok due to its artificial vanilla taste and a texture which I found to be a bit grainy. He liked it though, and I guess that’s all that really matters.
Before I get my review of the Kitchen 519 Banana’s Foster, here’s what the folks at Brennan’s of New Orleans have to say about this dessert:
In the early 1950’s, Owen Brennan decided to name a dessert after his friend and fellow member of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Richard Foster. At the time, Owen’s younger brother, John (Ralph Brennan’s Father), was running “Brennan’s Processed Potato Company,” a produce company with a surplus of bananas. Owen asked his sister, Ella, and Chef Paul Blangé, to come up with a new dessert using these bananas.
What they came up with is now the world famous Bananas Foster. The dish was originally invented at Brennan’s Vieux Carré Restaurant on Bourbon Street, across from The Old Absinthe House. Bananas Fosters’ popularity did not fully take off until Brennan’s began “Breakfast At Brennans’ with Fosters as a signature dessert.
And here’s what the Kitchen 519 version was SUPPOSED to look like:Sadly, the Kitchen 519 Bananas Foster that was served to us was a complete disaster. The bananas themselves were very discolored (almost black) with zero flavor, the ice cream was almost completely melted, the cinnamon sugar shell that was supposed to hold the bananas, Rum sauce, and ice cream was soggy and flavorless, and as far as the rich, buttery Rum sauce, it was pretty much non-existent. This is a dish that’s supposed to be made to order and served immediately (at Emeril’s in New Orleans, they prepare it tableside!). The bananas and Rum sauce should be served very warm and the ice cream should be firm and very cold. This past Friday night, the Kitchen 519 version missed the mark by a mile. And do you know how I know that even the waiter thought the Banana’s Foster was a mess? He never came back to ask if we enjoyed our dessert. He just left the check and hoped that we didn’t send it back. We absolutely should have.
I’d say that “a mixed bag” is a fair description of our dinner at Kitchen 519. While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be revisiting this restaurant, if we do decide to give it a second chance, next time around, we’ll stick with the entrees.