By Anika Hazlewood
Walking up to the newly opened Khemistry Bar, an American gastropub and restaurant, located at 216 Malcolm X Boulevard in Bed-Stuy, was exciting!
As there was no visible sign posted (at least not at the time of my visit), it gave me the feeling of discovery, and my initial impression was favorable: The lighting was friendly; the dining room was a combo of modern and rustic; the space overall, small but ample. There is also rumored to be an expansive backyard space that sounds promising for the summer.
After being introduced to the extremely friendly staff, I took a seat at the bar. I soon found out that although cute, the wrought iron barstools were not the most comfy. The menu was small and straightforward with just two starters, three mains and one dessert.
The 'dance' music playing in the background was at hard angle to the sophistication of the decor. But in all fairness, it was barely audible-- drowned out by the conversation happening between the kitchen and dining room staff. Hmmm...
Opting to be seated at a table, I ordered both starters (the crostini and the butternut squash soup) to share with a friend. We each ordered the half chicken with lemon and thyme as our main course. The butternut squash soup was lackluster and the crostini, basic. If there was another ingredient present in the soup, it was a closely guarded secret as all we detected was squash. As for our chicken, it was juicy. That's it. It was juicy chicken.
I asked our waiter for salt and pepper to which he replied "We don't do that here." After a lengthy explanation as to why they do not make available condiments on the table, another server found some and brought it to our table. Our asparagus was quite overcooked, as opposed to the potatoes, which were undercooked.
With such a straightforward menu, I expected culinary genius. But I was disappointed. Not only that, there was a young woman sitting next to us who brought her child in to eat but struggled to find anything on the menu suitable for her little one-- except the chocolate chip cookie (the only dessert item on the menu).
The air was humming with the excitement of a new restaurant opening, which was endearing. However, the food was bland; our (primary) server was a 'close-talker;' the seats were uncomfortable and the music, inappropriate.
What was so unfortunate was how well-intentioned the staff seemed. They were hospitable and sweet.
In my opinion this place fell short. I left feeling like I'd left a friend of a friend's house party, to which I'd arrived early ... so ... they were not quite ready yet? Awkward.