My partner and I had dinner at King & I last night, and discovered that Tom has sold the place. Well, they're off to a really bad start. Read on...
The first indication was the reconfiguration at the front door. We've been eating there for about 25 years, and immediately noticed that the desk had been pushed back from the window, and a new staff was in place. We weren't altogether sad to see this. As my first review stated, the former owner was always irritating, and it would be nice to see some fresh blood infused into the place. Tom had left the place pretty much the way it had been for the past quarter century, and its curb appeal could certainly benefit from some updating.
The first clue that things might not be moving in the right direction was the new menu, whose teeny tiny writing was impossible to read--even with my reading glasses. My partner, who doesn't need glasses, couldn't even read the descriptions on it. Makes one wonder if this is another ""restauranteur"" whose only credential is the fact that they know how to cook, so why shouldn't they own a restaurant?!
Well, between the two of us, we figured out what to order, and were surprised to hear the server ask if we wanted brown or white rice. Nice move offering brown rice, which the previous owner was presumably too lazy to make available. Really? In today's healthy eating society?
So, this seemed like a nice change--on the front side, anyway.
My chicken in clay pot arrived with an egg plopped in the center of it--runny yolk and all. Yuck! Very unappealing looking. Fortunately, when I stirred the soup, the heat cooked it so that I could get past the sight of it. I'm sure this is common in Thailand and China, but having eaten this dish (in the seafood preparation) many times over the 25 years visiting the restaurant, it came as quite a surprise to be served an egg in this manner. It frankly grossed me out. But, I tried to be a good sport and remain optimistic. That said, it had a strange effect on the taste of the soup, and if I were returning, I would definitely ask that it be left out the next time.
My partner's garlic scallop dish was ok, and the rolls we ordered were the same as they always were--delicious. Glad they've retained some of the recipes, anyway.
The service was good until we got the bill. I knew something was up when the staff kept staring in our direction after the server dropped it off. When my partner realized they had added $4 in charges for the brown rice we opted for and questioned the server about it, he said there was a surcharge--$2 per person. Well, aside from the fact that white rice is offered for free, and brown rice, which doesn't cost that much more to buy than brown rice, should not be that expensive, there had been no mention of it when the server asked us which we wanted. Lots of Asian restaurants in town offer either one with no upcharge, so this was a surprise.
They obviously anticipated our issue with the bill, because someone else on staff, a man who presumably was the owner or manager accompanied the server when he returned to pick it up. When the server explained that it was $2 more per person, I asked why he hadn't brought this to our attention when he asked which one we wanted, and he said it was his first day. Yet, the owner/manager said nothing about taking it off the bill, even when I mentioned that the scenario was just the kind of thing that would make us never return to a restaurant. I looked at all the empty chairs, and realized just how doomed the place is. I'm sure the previous owner will be serving up his original dishes again before long, after he takes possession of the place again after they're through remodeling and ruining it. At least it will be more appealing after the upgrade....for now, we won't be going there. If they're stupid enough to lose the previous owner's patrons over $4 worth of rice, then who knows what could happen in the kitchen. For now, we'll be staying away. Too bad.