First Look: Kitchen on West Street

| July 20, 2018
Rams Head

Got the chance to check out the new Kitchen on West Street for dinner the other night.  Kitchen is the full service restaurant located in the new Hilton Garden Inn & Suites (formerly O’Callaghan Hotel) in Annapolis.

I wish I could say that it is more than an OK hotel restaurant, but I can’t. At least not yet. Having just opened at the beginning of June, they are likely still ironing out the kinks, so I will definitely give them a second chance. As to the experience…

The Good…

Perhaps the best french fries in Annapolis. Steak fries, perfectly cooked, hot and steaming.

A well poured drink. I had a Tanqueray and tonic and it was a generous glass served with a generous portion of gin and full slice of lime. Well done. I know it is a boring drink, but I am a boring type of person. The drink menu is heavy on the martinis and craft cocktails reaching into the high teens. Gin and Tonic : $8

The Bad…

When we entered, we stood at the host/hostess stand for a few minutes and the bartender yelled over “can I help you?” I asked if we were to seat ourselves and he said yes. We looked around, spotted a table and saw there were no menus, so we grabbed a pair from the hostess stand.

We ordered wings (8 per order) as an appetizer to split and they were ok. Sloppy, wet wings that were a bit undercooked. The celery was great. The “blue cheese” dressing was too runny and could not stick to anything without dripping. At this time, we also noticed that we did not have silverware, so we got up, returned to the hostess stand and grabbed a few bundles. I thought it odd that a place that bills itself as Chesapeake centric did not have an Old Bay flavoring of wings–the selections were traditional and Carolina BBQ. Wings $12

Onto the main event. The most interesting part of the menu was the appetizers. The main portion was divided into sandwiches and entrees. I ordered their “signature” grilled cheese which comes with bacon, and a berry compote. I asked to have a slice of tomato instead of the compote. The sandwich came and the cheese was warm, but not melted, and oddly enough the slice of tomato I requested was served on the side in a separate dish. Now, granted, I may not have specified I wanted the tomato on the sandwich, but…really?  The bacon was not cooked well and when I bit into the sandwich, the bacon slice slid out from inside. Pretty disappointing. Grilled Cheese : $13

My companion went with an appetizer as her entree and a side.  The Brussel sprouts were “fine” in her words. Nothing special with bits of bacon and a very slight crumbling of blue cheese. The saving grace there was that we made the happy hour pricing and the $9 entree was slashed to $6.  She also ordered a side of fries and was in complete agreement that they are on the top of their fry game. Sprouts and Fries: $9

Comments… If Kitchen on West Street is striving to be anything other than a mediocre hotel bar, they will really need to up their game. A lot. Within a literal 2-minute walk, you have Lemongrass, Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, Sailor Oyster Bar, The Light House Bistro, BAROAK, Miss Shirleys, Carpaccio, and Fado.

The bar itself had a very cool vibe to it and bonus points for the coat/purse hangers and power outlets at each seat. It looked like it could be a cool place to hang out, but the clientele tonight was a bunch of guys who had checked out and wanted one more drink before their Uber arrived to pick them up.

The rest of the decor was non-descriptive. On one wall, there were dozens of photos of local scenes–the domes of Annapolis, a sailboat, the Blue Angels, a Mid, etc. But generally the feeling and ambiance was akin to Gate 17 in Concourse B at BWI. Gray, blocky, and very metallic.

The restaurant blended into the hotel lobby as well. While searching for a seat, we peeked over a half wall looking for a more comfortable seat only to discover it was couches in the lobby and not dining tables.

Kitchen on West Street is open for breakfast and dinner only it appears. Obviously I have not tried out the breakfast, but again, Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge, BAROAK, Miss Shirleys and even Rubens might give them a run for the money.

All together it was $53 for two appetizers, two drinks, and a grilled cheese sandwich. As I said, I will be back as it is never fair to judge someone on one visit; but it will be with a critical eye. Hopefully it will be better the next time around!

  • Kitchen on West Street
  • 174 West Street
  • Breakfast: 6-10am (M-F) and 7-11am (Sa-Su)
  • Dinner: 5-10pm (S-Th) and 5-midnight (F-Sa)
  • Happy Hour: 4-7pm (M-Th) and all day Sunday

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