"There's a palpable energy at R. Kitchen, some controlled and some unbridled," starts newcomer City Paper critic Katherine Connor. The writer and her friends inspect the show and the food at the interactive restaurant. Chefs at R. Kitchen prepare the evening's meal before the guests, sort of like a fancy Japanese steakhouse, but without the bad egg roll jokes. Because of this dynamic, the experience can change from night to night. On Connor's first visit, owner Ross Webb is behind the line, and he easily charms the guests. On her second visit, Webb had an evening off, so it goes a bit differently:
While the evening was executed properly and we had excellent service, the entire room had a different feel and lacked the energy and charisma that Webb imbues ... And given all that Webb does do, it would be impossible to expect him present every night.
Connor tells the readers to think of R. Kitchen as a "casual cooking party" — sometimes the dishes go awry, but if the host is "affable and entertaining" (and you pay a meager $25 for five courses), does it matter that much?
Writer Hanna Raskin cooks her own dinner this week as she attends an evening at In The Kitchen With Bob Waggoner. The restaurant is not so much a restaurant but a cooking class combined with a dinner party. Raskin finds Waggoner to be a gracious host and "... an instructor who was deeply attuned to the needs of his students ..." The critic fully enjoys the evening and cheerfully declares, "If you can find room for it in your luxury budget, you definitely don’t want to be the last person to check out In the Kitchen."