Food: Lauvand has a long history cooking creative, upscale French and creative international food, and Le Ka follows that path but also skews slightly Asian. Frankly, a whole lot of ground is trying to be covered here. From the review: “You sense just looking at the menu that this may be a restaurant that's trying to do too much, trying to be too many things for too many people: cheese, charcuterie, pizza (“or flatbread, the way you wish to call them,” according to the menu), small plates, large plates, $90 steak for two, raw oysters, sliders, pasta, Thai curry mussels, Spanish calamari, octopus with kimchi, uni with oxtail and congee.”
Does it work?: Yes and no. Lauvand is a formidable chef, and some of the food here is astonishing. But some is lackluster or feels rushed, which is no wonder with a menu (and a dining room) this sprawling.
Looks: From the review: “There's the decor, the open kitchen, the glittering bar with neon yellow back-lit liquor bottles, the soaring ceilings, the filament light fixtures, the white-on-black tables and chairs. For all its ubiquity, it's a model that still works and somehow remains on this side of total cliché. It feels exciting and familiar all at once.”
Service: In a word, verbose. You get a lot of spiel at Le Ka, and not always a lot of actual service to back it up. Expect waiters to say things like “mouthwatering” a lot, and deliver an opening speech that might take 10 minutes while their other tables wish someone would clear their plates or bring them more water.
Takeaway: 2 stars (good). There are quite a few dishes that are worth visiting Le Ka to sample, and it's a fun space full of swank energy. The cocktails and wine list are both pretty great. I wish Lauvand was able to focus more, and I really wish the waiter would chill out and leave his acting career at the door.
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