First Look: Open Kitchen Is A Gussied Up Generic Deli With Good Coffee

The newest addition to the genre of lunch spots serving many different types of things and having a by-the-pound buffet is Open Kitchen on William St. (at Beaver). The place occupies a huge retail area on the bottom floor of the William Beaver House condo building, and it’s perhaps the least-crowded lunch experience I’ve had.

Not all of the stations were up and running (still to come: Stir fry, ramen and specialty sandwiches), but most others were, along with the buffet which featured items that looked a bit tastier than the usual offerings. Prices are a bit higher than at the generic delis in the area, but the surroundings are also nicer, and they serve fancy Intelligentsia coffee. The good and bad about my lunch experience on what was essentially Open Kitchen’s opening day, straight ahead.

The options at Open Kitchen are a little overwhelming and it’s easy to stand in the middle of the wide open, white-tiled space and wander aimlessly from station to station before finally picking one with the shortest line. Many of the options are more than $10, but you can get burgers for $8-$10 depending on toppings, sushi rolls for as little as $4.50 each, shawarma or falafel pita sandwiches for $9 or a sandwich from the carving station for $9. Other cheaper options were not yet up and running. I zeroed in on the carving station, eyeing the slabs of meat on offer.

That was when my lunch took a turn for the weird. I asked the man behind the counter for roast pork in a sandwich but was told that wasn’t possible. What? I then switched to rotisserie chicken in a sandwich ($9), and a pile of chopped up chicken was placed on a brioche bun then topped with lettuce, tomato and raw onion (no sauces were offered, but I dumped some in my container from the bottles at the buffet).

I don’t know that I would get a sandwich from the carving station again, although the prime rib did look appealing. At $12 for a sandwich, it’s a bit out of my price range. The chicken and lamb shawarma spinning across the room looked intriguing as did the salad and sauce options that included fennel slaw and eggplant mousse.

Has anyone else checked out Open Kitchen since they opened? Thoughts?

Open Kitchen, 15 William St. (at Beaver)



  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I dined at Open Kitchen recently and was not impressed. Upon walking in, you are overwhelmed with the layout, that doesnt seem to have any kind of discernible order in which it was set up. Random food buffet in the corner and random drink displays. Moving past appearance, cosmetically, the food looks to die for. I settled on the prime rib with mashed potatoes and corn. My partner had the prime rib with sweet potato and macaroni and cheese. (Heavy, I know, but how else do you get a taste of a place?) Again, the food looked wonderful on our plates, but thats where it begins and ends. The meat was dry, and what wasnt dry was all fat. Both of the potatoes had no flavor whatsoever. It was as if they merely mashed up the potatoes and stuck them in the bins under the lights. The corn was soggy and seemed to be more soup then anything else due to the amount of water it was sitting in. Finally, the macaroni and cheese had no flavor, texture, anything. Disappointing, to say the least. At the prices that Open Kitchen advertises, I expected bountiful flavor and for the meat to be tender and juicy. This place has a long way to go, they should start with a new chef.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    They do have good coffee, and that’s it.

    I tried the food and it’s not good. I had the rotisserie chicken. The chef cut a chicken to prepare my platter (because I asked for a leg & thigh) and the chicken was NOT COOKED. Of course I wouldn’t take uncooked chicken, but that left me with dry, room temperature chicken breast.

    My friend ordered the special of the day prime rib sandwich, which looked delicious from afar. She took a bite and it was RAW beef. It was not medium rare or rare, it was raw. That took away all of our appetite, so no comments on the sides that came with the chicken platter.

    But coffee was good, they use intelligensia beans.

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