July 1, 2005 2:40 AM | By Adam Roberts | 6 Comments

Ground Meat Thursday: Lunch at Kitchenette and Dinner at La Palette (Featuring the Thursday Night Dinner Song "Grind Your Meat")

A long time ago in a land far away my friend Annette took me to lunch at Kitchenette near the World Trade Center. This was after September 11th but before I moved to New York and I remembered the place as a very cute, very cozy family type joint with breakfast food and biscuits and lovely looking home baked goods. Today I invited Lisa to escape her office for a bit and join me on the 1/9 train for a ride down to Chambers street and West Broadway where Kitchenette is located. Here's the view upon our arrival:


People really love Kitchenette. I just Googled it and raves appeared from Chowhound and The Girl Who Ate Everything. I raved about it a few years ago but let me tell you right off the bat today's experience was pretty sucky.

First of all the service sa-HUCKED. This guy (he seemed nice enough) was the waiter for the entire restaurant and it took forever to get his attention at every point in the meal: to get our menus, to get water, to order our food, to get our food, to have our food cleared and to pay the check. Each time I tried to catch his eye and when I did he looked flustered. It's never fun when your very busy waiter makes you feel guilty for wanting him to be more attentive; it's like going to therapy while your therapist is giving birth to triplets. (Ha, ok that's a stretch but I enjoy it.)

Now if we'd ordered breakfast food maybe we would have loved the Kitcenette experience and longed for a return visit. As it stood, I ordered turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy for $9.50:


(Take note: this constitutes the FIRST ground meat of the day. It's ground meat Thursday and there's a song so you really have to pay attention.)

This dish was fine. I liked it fine. Considering it was turkey, I suppose it was better than fine because it tasted worse for me than it was. But at the same time it also tasted like cafeteria food. It's like you pay a lot of money to eat the same dishes they eat in prison or high school or a high school prison.

But Lisa's dish. Ugh. Now Lisa ordered a veggie burger and when it came I think I was more grossed out than she was even though she was, as you can see by this picture, a bit grossed out:


On the bread was a mushy mound of lentils, rice and carrots.

"This is not a burger," said Lisa, sadly.

It surely wasn't. I appreciate the fact they were trying to assemble something new or different or maybe even (in their minds) texturally interesting, but if you advertise a veggie burger people are going to want a veggie burger.

Lisa made her way through it and as I kept shaking my head and saying "I can't believe that's their veggie burger" she said: "I think you're more bothered by it than I am." She wasn't grossed out but she was in no way impressed. "It's just really bland," she said, "it doesn't taste like anything."

After spending 10 minutes to flag down our waiter for a check, we went to the pastry counter and ordered what Kitchenette's best known for: pastries. We took these outside and snapped photos. Here's Lisa's cupcake: (haha, imagine if I REALLY showed you Lisa's cupcake)


And here's my Linzer cookie:


I don't know if Lisa liked her cupcake because she took it back to work. My cookie was very good but I'm not rushing back there to have another.


Now then: part two in our Ground Meat Thursday. Tonight I joined Patty and Kirk for dinner. We whipped out or Sietsema guide and meandered around Greenwich Village looking for a place to eat. This exercise can either be really fun or really frustrating. Tonight started out fun but then grew frustrating. On the way we saw Natalie Portman, shaved head, eating at The Spotted Pig. We ended up on Greenwich Avenue and ate dinner at a Franco-Brazilian fusion joint called La Palette:


The menu had the weirdest mix of food. There were crepes, there was steak, there was pasta, there was beef stroganoff. When the waitress came I asked her what was her favorite thing on the menu and without a beat she said: "The burger." When I asked her why she said: "We grind our own meat here" (**Ground Meat Thursday!) "and they put all kinds of flavors in and they put an egg on it and it's just really good."

Indeed she was right. Check out my burger, yo:


It was mighty tasty with the egg and the fries and the salad. A nice conclusion to a ground meat Thursday that had a bumpy start.

And what better way might one memorialize a day of ground meat than through the magic of music? I made the following track on Garageband. It's 55 seconds long and has me singing in a high falsetto and rapping. (Actually, it's not much different than my second burrito song, except this one's got a 70s Boogie Nights vibe.) Hope you enjoy it!

Listen to "GRIND YOUR MEAT."


Adam-you should definitely check out the breakfast fare, it's really excellent, and cheap for the amount of food you get. I don't know much about the downtown Kitchenette, but the uptown one is awesome and people love it.

AG - and you thought your ricotta cake looked like vomit? Poor Lisa looks like she's got maggoty barf on toast!

Glad that the burger was good later, though!


I just discovered your site through Chocolate and Zucchini. I now come here whenever I need a good therapeutic laugh - this is hilarious!!!

I remember people raving about Kitchenette's brunch. I tried to go twice for brunch (before 9/11...) and could never get a seat. So eventually I gave up. Oh. Well.

Burger with an egg on top is a common Russian dish - and it's served without a bun...

Adam - hope you remember me, I'm Lauren's friend from DC...anyway, I lived in New York for 3 months and a short trot away from the Kitchentte and I must say I was not impressed at all when I went there. The food was bland for the price and the restaurant had an inordinate amount of flies regurgitating on the pastries (I'll take my cupcakes sans fly barf please).

I do highly recommend, however, the blood orange margaritas at Carne in the Upper West Side if you haven't been there already. Ciao!

Sign Up for the Amateur Gourmet Email Newsletter:

Follow Me: