A friend of mine who works overseas, RP, had come back for the holiday season, so I made arrangements to meet up with him over lunch downtown. Since he misses good Italian food, I suggested going to Italian Kitchen.
Although just a couple of months ago my office ordered catering from IK2GO, its to-go, catering service, it’s been a number of years since I dined at the restaurant. I remembered at that time I wasn’t too happy with the food quality, so this would be a redemption for Italian Kitchen to win my heart back.
Because it’s a lunch on a work day, there was no fancy 3-course meal. We just each ordered a pasta dish. I chose the Spaghetti & Spicy Kobe Meatballs. This may be the simplest, most basic dish on the menu, but the meatballs are one of the restaurant’s signature, popular items, and you sure hope that they wouldn’t screw up the spaghetti. Well, they didn’t disappoint. Our server told me the meatballs are the size of a golf ball; I want to say they’re bigger than that. Solid quality – meaty and moist meatballs with a very subtle hint of heat. The spaghetti was al dente and not dry. I like the herbed ricotta on top that added extra creaminess to the dish. I personally would wish to have a bit more tomato sauce. The plate may not look like much, but it’s actually quite filling. I ended up with one meatball and a bit of spaghetti left (Did you know that you get a nice, re-usable doggie bag if you order take-out/have leftovers from any of the Glowbal restaurants? It’s not the ordinary plastic bag.)
I also tried a bite of RP’s Pappardelle Lamb Sausage. The lamb sausage was well-seasoned and the sauce was flavourful, a bit tangy. I found the sauce to be a bit oily but I like that the dish had the right amount of sauce to go with the pappardelle, more so than my spaghetti.
On the menu there’s a section called “Lunch 45”. Without any explanation from our server or in print, I assume that any item from this section would allow you to be in and out within 45 minutes. Our two items were off the regular Pasta section, so I had worried that it might take awhile for our food. To my surprise, we were out of there within an hour. I think the key is to get there early, to beat the lunch crowd. We got there at around 11:45am and the restaurant was at 30%, but it was slowly filled up to about 75% by 12:30pm.
When I went to Trattoria, also part of the Glowbal Group, I remembered its servers were warm and friendly, despite it was on a busy Saturday evening. On the contrary, on this Wednesday afternoon when the restaurant was not that busy, I felt a bit of coolness from our server. I might be too sensitive, or that the two restaurants have different serving style, but I wasn’t too pleased with the service. I hope it had nothing to do with the fact that my friend didn’t dress business-like.
From this lunch I think Italian Kitchen has won my heart back for its food. Service, still a bit iffy about it. Overall I prefer Trattoria over Italian Kitchen. However, I wouldn’t mind ordering through its IK2GO service, to minimize interactions with its servers, to get my pasta fix on a work day.
1037 Alberni Street, Vancouver