Elements Kitchen: Getting Closer to Their Element

I initially went to Elements Kitchen on February 2nd with The Minty, but I never wrote about it. Not because I am afraid of writing a bad review but they were only open for a few weeks and I could tell they were not at their stride. We sat in the bar and we were virtually ignored, glasses were dropped, and the price point was very high. This, aside from the School Cafe at Le Cordon Bleu, are the closest places to eat by my house so I really needed this to be good and I was anxiously awaiting their opening for months. I am a long time fan of Elements Cafe, so I know they can create awesome food, it is just ironing out the problems that a full-scale restaurant has. My initial problems was the server, the fact that we paid $9 for Duck Confit “Eggrolls” (plural) when it was only one egg roll cut in half, and all of the food was served lukewarm. The Oyster and Mussel Chowder with pork belly had great flavor but it was not hot enough. Also we got the Elements Burger with oxtail, foie gras, an heirloom tomato and fries. This was priced at $15 which didn’t quite make sense to me when one egg roll is only $6 cheaper. I am not asking them to raise the price but the pricing seemed very inconsistent. Minty and I shared all of this food and I cut the burger in half. It was very uncouth because later I felt like a horrible person when she said she didn’t have any foie gras and I had a huge piece on top of my burger. Relax friends, my cutting privileges have been revoked.

Nothing I ate was bad but nothing was THAT hot (literally and figuratively). It was one of those nights where Minty and I had a choice: we could either keep ordering more and hope for something to be better or we could cut our losses and say goodbye. We chose the latter and grabbed sushi. Here is the Minty’s recap of the evening and the meal. As I mentioned, this place is in my hood and I really want to love it. They started a great special on Wednesday three weeks ago where they pick an ingredient and do a sketch on it and make 5 plates for $5 each. The first week the ingredient was avocado, which is the only fruit I don’t like. I grew up in Santa Cruz with avocado trees in my backyard and even now when I go home my mom asks, “Have you grown up enough to now love avocados?” The answer is sadly no. It’s the color and consistency that I can’t get passed, although I now endure pieces in my sushi and tacos. Anyway, I was not looking for 5 plates dedicated to this mushy green ingredient. The following Wednesday was shrimp, which I would have been totally down for but that was a night that I was going to consume over a pound of shrimp at my favorite restaurant Boiling Crab. Finally, this Wednesday (yesterday) the ingredient was scallops, one of my favorite foods. I had our finance intern, Maria, and our newly crowned CFO, Meryl, with me so I asked them to join me. Plus if you RT the special on their Twitter you’d get a free plate. We walked in and there were these beautiful green couches in the bar/lounge area, that I hadn’t seen before. According to the chef, the host, and the server that greeted us they had just arrived and we’d be the first to sit on them. I was impressed by the attention this time around.

Our server was very sweet and brought us out a bowl of taro and plantain chips. She was informed about the Twitter special and I had each of us ladies pick a plate. My new saying in 2010 is that, “I am so over eating cooked seafood.” I ordered the scallop sashimi and then the girls got the seared scallop with a macadamia-crusted Belgian endive (seen in the main pic) and the sherry-glazed scallop with noodles and chorizo. The other two scallop dishes on the menu were plays on the ingredient one was “scallop potatoes” and the other was a dessert plate with bananas that looked like scallops.

We were enjoying ourselves. We were the first people in the restaurant and we got a lot of attention. I am not used to having co-workers besides Josie so it was nice to hang out with the ladies outside of the office. Although, I am sure I was driving them nuts that night because Josie and I were on g-talk and I was LOL’ing every two seconds in the office…I even choked on a Starburst. I hope the girls are ready for it, because starting on Tuesday Josie will return to the office full-time and the giggle fest will continue. Anyway, the time was passing and our small plates still hadn’t arrived. After a half an hour our server came up and said the sashimi won’t be ready for a while. I was bummed, that was the dish I really wanted. My dish was the easiest, it didn’t even have to be cooked. I ordered the bananas instead. Our waitress kept checking in on us and apologizing and after 45 minutes of sitting in the lounge our two small plates arrived. They were good but by this time it was almost six and my hunger was growing.

The food was really good. The scallops weren’t over cooked (my biggest complaint) and it was yummy but if I didn’t enjoy my company it would have been way too long to wait. Also, I knew I would be trying a sampling of a new truck called Shrimp Mania later that night so I wanted to eat very little at Elements or else I would have ordered an entree after these “sketches.”  Only a few minutes later the dessert plate arrived, it was good but nothing special.

To sum things up, the service was a million times better the second time around. There are still some glitches but after I took a trip to the bathroom I saw how far the bar is from the kitchen, and it makes sense that it may take a while to get the food. The food is good and I much preferred trying it for only $5 a plate. I will go back and want to sit in their actual dining room to see if there is a difference. Anyway, they are heading in the right direction. I liked that the chef came out and the new comfy furniture that we were the first to defile. I will be back and I am sure that the glitches will be worked out. Here is our lovely intern Maria on the new furniture.


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