Kitchen Table Squared’s food is magical, the service is not

Kitchen Table Squared excels at culinary creativity. Chef Javier Chavez borrows elements from Latin and Hispanic traditions, tucking little surprises into his interpretations of the classics. But while the back of the house delivers a stellar performance, the front of the house still appears to be in rehearsals.

Consider the mixed green salad ($5), the name of which belies its departure from the mundane. Roasted tomatoes, carrots, figs, apples and sunflower seeds (lots of sunflower seeds) had been layered into a glass jar, which was deconstructed into a bowl at the table and tossed with a piquant pear vinaigrette that skillfully balanced the sweeter elements.

But the salad’s description on the menu listed white-chocolate popcorn as the first ingredient. Popcorn in savory dishes isn’t unheard of — chefs are playing with that prodigious crunch — but it is offbeat enough to draw attention, so it was somewhat surprising when the salad arrived without it. When asked, our waiter said they had run out, so the chef added more sunflower seeds and croutons. Definitely not the same — not in flavor profile or texture — and certainly not as novel as white-chocolate popcorn. Restaurants do run out of things, but when it’s a star ingredient, the dish should go on hiatus.

The salad was still good, but an entree of zabuton steak ($24) was better. Though zabuton or “pillow” steaks — named for their square shape, and cut from the upper part of the chuck — are uncommon in Las Vegas, thorough marbling packs them with flavor. The real genius of this dish, however, was that it had been sliced and served on a bed of garlicky creamed spinach and piled with wilted arugula and red onion that cut the richness. Though the steak was supposed to be served with a quail egg, it was nowhere to be seen.

Crab bisque ($8) was the kind of soup sailors dream about, filled with chunks of sweet, briny crab meat in a rich, creamy bath with a distinctive note of brandy. The promised crab fritter was absent, though, and worse, the bisque had skinned over, a sign that it had been sitting too long.

Two visits were equally beset by timing issues, beverages arriving 20 minutes after seating (one at a time) and everything that followed lagging behind. That took the sheen off an excellent starter of chicharron tostadas ($8), the crisp, bacony bases just stout enough to balance a lively layering of zesty chicken tinga, fiery jalapeno cole slaw and earthy black beans.

Onion soup ($6) was excellent. The deeply flavored veal stock was a touch worthy of Escoffier, with assertive Gruyere, and firm, mellow caramelized onions. A crispy-skinned chile-rubbed half chicken ($22) had flavor sparks from cilantro and lime. Skewers of chicken with a pineapple-chile glaze and shrimp with a garlic-lemon glaze ($21), cooked and served on a flat Himalayan salt block, were moist and thoroughly infused with flavor, the shrimp so sweet it was reminiscent of scallops.

But throughout dinner, our waiter repeatedly used words such as “long-awaited” and “finally,” not only to us but to all tables within earshot, which is never a good sign. We appreciated his extremely pleasant demeanor and profuse apologies, but there are systemic service problems at Kitchen Table Squared. The restaurant grew out of Kitchen Table in Henderson, which only serves breakfast and lunch, and there’s a lot more going on here.

But while Chavez is creating his dreamy cuisine, he needs somebody who can deliver on the details and instill a sense of urgency in the staff.

If you go

■ Kitchen Table Squared, The Grammercy, 9205 W. Russell Road; 702-982-8218

■ The essence: The kitchen gives a stellar performance, but the front of the restaurant is still in rehearsals.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like