What comes to mind when you think of when you think of a diner? Greasy, fast, retro, late-night? I was expecting all of this out of the Central West End’s newest restaurant, Kingside Diner, but I was left a little disappointed.
The theme of the restaurant is supposed to play off of its neighbor, the St. Louis Chess Club. However, aside from the name, a few catchy menu items, and a couple of TVs on the chess channel, the theme seems to stop there. Rather, the inside feels more like a modern, casual restaurant instead of a bustling diner.
Our experience was off to a bad start when the not-so-friendly hostess took our name and told us that it would be 20 minutes until we would be seated. This would normally not be a a big deal except there were multiple tables inside and out that were unoccupied. We were told that there were just not enough people to wait on all of the tables and that more servers should be arriving soon. Knowing it was a Sunday morning on Father’s day, you would expect that the restaurant would be fully up and running.
Once we were seated, we looked over the large menu of breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, chili, salads, and daily specials. We decided to start off by splitting the cheddar drop biscuits. I chose a burrito filled with eggs, spinach, tomatoes, red onion, and buttermilk basil which was served with a side of hash browns. My husband went for something a bit more unusual, Grandma Rosie’s rolled cabbage. This Eastern-European inspired dish consisted of beef stuffed cabbage and tomato sauce served over a bed of mashed potatoes.
Our food took a full 30 minutes to arrive and I was brought someone else’s order. The mix-up was quickly corrected and we were finally able eat. Luckily the disorganized feel of the restaurant did not ruin the taste of the food. The buttermilk basil on my burrito was what made this dish stand out. The tortilla was warm and fresh, the eggs were well cooked, and the portion was just right. The hash browns were both crispy and greasy, just like I would expect at a diner. However, I didn’t love the cheddar biscuits as much as I expected. They were dense and dry but in their defense, I did not top mine with the creamy chorizo and sage gravy. My husband loved the gravy and put the left overs on his mashed potatoes. My husband also enjoyed his cabbage dish because it reminded him of something his grandmother would make. I did not grow up with anything close to this and it didn’t suit my taste quite as much.
Luckily the best part of our meal was the food. The menu is well priced and the restaurant is family friendly (although I did overhear the hostess say that they ran out of highchairs). Although Kingside Diner has been open for a few months, the kinks in the service need to be worked out before I’ll be back.