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Kicky’s Restaurant

November 4, 2007

After our Mall excursion, we decided to dine out this evening opting for the new kid of the block – Kicky’s on Route 34 in Aberdeen. I’m going to be generous and say overall it was an okay experience. It certainly wasn’t my worst experience dining out, but not my best either.

The decor is quite sleek and interesting – especially the banquets and the 10-person glass enclosed table. The food is actually pretty good, too. The only area that needs improvement is service. While there appeared to be sufficient servers, it seemed some signals were crossed.

Our server was courteous, I’ll definitely give her that. There seemed to be some confusion with our water, though – you see we ordered a bottle of sparkling water. Almost immediately after she scurried away from our table – the water guy comes to fill our glasses with regular water. We didn’t stop him thinking that once our server came back with the bottled water we would simply say we needed other glasses for the sparkling water. She did notice our water-filled glasses and said, “I’ll be right back with glasses for your bottled water.”

When she came back, she went right to serving the other table beside us. That’s fine, I thought. When she’s done there she’ll go get the other glasses. Nope. She did come over to our table to take our order and rushed away without mentioning anything about the other glasses. OK, whatever. No biggie really. We chugged the regular water and replaced with the sparkling water.

Our appetizers did not come together, though. That’s a bit of a dining out pet peeve of mine. I think most courses – especially appetizers – should be served at the same time and definitely when it’s only a party of 2. I don’t think one person should start eating before another. Especially in a “nice” restaurant, but I digress. ;)

Furthermore, it was served by one of the hostesses. So when our server came back, she apologized for not bringing extra glasses for the sparkling water and not serving the appetizers together — but blamed other people for it. Service is a team effort, I realize, however blaming it on other people just made *her* look bad. She should have simply apologized and left it at that.

Anyways, all that aside, like I said it was okay. Not great, but not horribly bad either. I think for what we paid for it should have been a great experience, though. I know they are new and are probably still working out the kinks, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt this time. We still tipped our server accordingly. But I’m not sure we’ll be back any time soon.

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19 comments

  1. Hello Maryilyn,

    Please accept our apology for any inconvenience caused. More importantly, thank you very much for your comment on the service level. We positively see this as a room to improve. Your comment is exactly in line with what we have been implementing among the people – every one in the restaurant – It’s a team effort.

    Your comment, better yet, offers a third-person perspective & we can show them what is expected, not only from the management, but also from valued customers. You comment will become a great tool for us to re-inforce our management objectives – without you, we will not be there!

    We appreciate that you took your precious time to make such great comments. It is especially imperative for us to hear our customers’ voice than never hear it again & never see them again! As per the last few words on your comment, you wrote: “not sure you will be back any time soon.” We sincerely hope we can see you again some time soon. Please mention my name, Po. I’m sure it will be a great pleasure to meet you in person.

    Once again, thank you very much! We are looking forward to seeing you again!

    Po


  2. Po,

    I appreciate your taking the time to comment and apologize.

    It’s refreshing to hear that from a management perspective you’re dedicated to hearing customers comments and using them to improve the restaurant.

    Overall, I think Kicky’s is a very nice restaurant with lots of potential. As noted, the decor is quite interesting and the food is really good, too. We had no issue there. I know service is a challenge – having worked in food service at one point in my life I know that first-hand – so I hope it didn’t seem like I was “coming down on” your staff.

    Let me reiterate that the hostesses, server, and water guy were all very courteous. I just think timing needs to be re-evaluated and tweaked. Timing is everything they say. :)

    In any case, thanks to your pleasant response (and the quality of food is definitely good!), I would certainly consider dining there again. I just don’t think it will be in the very near future due to budgetary reasons. I should have made that more clear in my original entry.

    When we are ready to try Kicky’s again, I’ll ask for you and say hello. :)


  3. Hi Marilyn,
    I whole-heartedly agree with you on “Timing is everything”.
    Yes, I’m sure it will be wonderful to say Hello to you in person.
    Have a great day. Thanks.
    Po


  4. Marilyn,

    Enjoying your blog. Really nice to read a blog from someone living in the Matawan-Aberdeen area. I live in Aberdeen.

    Thanks for the review of Kicky’s. I was really curious about what type of cuisine the place serves.


  5. Amy,

    I’m glad you found my blog and that you have been enjoying it. I like sharing my observations and experiences with others.

    Kicky’s offers an American-French menu as well as a Japanese menu, so if that sounds up your alley, go for it. :)


  6. I went to Kicky’s after reading your review and to be honest i was really dissapointed. Three of us started with the lobster bisque and one had the miso soup which were all excellent. For a party of four we ordered the pork chops, filet mignion, salmon and Terriyaki chicken(asian menu) and were let down on each. We had been excited as it was all organic and had excellent descriptions.

    The mashed potatoes were cold on every dish that had them, chciken was cold, the pork chops were under cooked and bloody, and nothing stood out as great. We told the waitress about the pork chops because my faincee wasn’t going to eat them as is (forget her name but slightly heavy set) and she apologized but then just walked away without doing anything. She came back to get the plates when the others had finished and laughed “Not very hungry huh.”

    The man and women who we think are the owners were there at the front desk but to be honest i was a bit too upset to say anything. We paid and left. They did say goodbye on the way out though.

    The restraunt itself used to be a Boston Market and the signage and decor on the outside still looks very fast foodish. Not very impressive especially when your paying $ 25+ for an entree. You could tell the people walking in didnt know what to expect. No liquor license, the styrofoam ball/light over the waiting area was a bit out of place, and it seems this place is trying way to hard to be casual fine dining. Nothing we ate deserved the price. The asian menu was more down to earth for what you get but wasnt stellar.

    The good: inside was very well kept and had a nice decor. Was slightly noisy but had a nice vibe to it. Chef did come around to one table (maybe his friends) which might imply a sense of caring about the food but didnt show it anywhere else.

    Overall: Pine tavern. mahzu, and other restraunts do it better for less. I am hoping I caught them on an off night but I was far from impressed.

    PS get rid of that styrofoam packing peanut lamp. If you want top dollar you have to supply a product that is top dollar.


  7. Michael,

    Thanks for posting your review. From the sounds of it, I think we might have had the same server. She should have taken the pork chops back to the kitchen and had the chef make your fiancee a new entree. That’s unacceptable.

    As I have said in my original review and in response to Po (the manager)… service is so key! It’s a shame in your case the food did not live up to your expectations.

    They are new so I am hoping they will work out the kinks. However, sounds like they have some way to go.


  8. Hi Michael,
    This is Po. I’m quite upset about what happened to your table. May I please know which day your visit was? I need to investigate it.
    Thank you so much for your invaluable feedback.
    Po


  9. Hi Po,
    I am not exactly sure but i believe it was the 10th of November (might have been the 3rd). It was a Saturday night. It is nice to see that you are willing to look into this.

    Mike


  10. Hi Michael,
    It was the 16th, the weekend prior to your visit. It was the day that I was busy working on some important restaurant-related layout with the Chef in the front. Nonetheless, there is no excuse to deny the fact that we had dissatisfied customers. Instead of trying to explain the details, I cannot agree more with Marilyn on her notion of “She should have simply apologized and left it at that.” We apologize for what happened to your table! I wish that the issue was escalated immediately so I had an opportunity to correct it at the “scene.”
    Actions had been taken & will continue to be re-enforced.
    I saw your similar post on Yelp. I can imagine it takes some unhappy customer to be willing to spend the time to search & write us up everywhere possible. Once again, we apologize for anything that happened to you & your friends and hope to serve you again to change your impression on us. Please let me know so that I can take good care of you the best I can on your next visit.
    Po


  11. We have changed the Cuisines we used to serve in the past. It’s now a Pan-Asian Cuisine & Japanese Restaurant. We basically did away the French-American side of the Kitchen. As a matter of fact, it is the original concept of the restaurant but somehow got off-tracked. Well, simply put, we are now back on track!
    There are quite a few reasons supporting this major decision. But most of all, thanks to your as well as many other customers’ comments.
    Through this change, we have larger vaiety of foods; and better yet, a lower price point for each Menu item. Hopefully, this will draw more satisfied customers to visit us in a more frequent manner.
    As far as the service is concerned, we will continuously watch out for any feedback & correct them accordingly.
    Just like any other businesses, to survive is to change.
    Thank you all very much!
    Po


  12. Po,

    I noticed that you put up a new sign out front and saw no mention of the French side. Thanks for coming back here to explain that and all the changes. Perhaps my fiance and I will visit again soon. I’m curious to taste the changes. I’ve perused the new menu on your website and it sounds right up my alley!

    Take care,
    Marilyn


  13. Besides the new menu, we’ve been offering special menu items every day. People seem to like our new offerings.
    Sometimes, we’re a bit backed up in the kitchen when it gets busy but thanks to the patient customers, they’ve been very forgiving. There are still so much to be improved. I must admit that running a business is tough, maintaining it in good shape is even tougher. With better workflow management, hopefully, we will see a difference within the next week or so. But we feel we’re so blessed & remain very positive about the business.
    It’s our pleasure seeing feedback from customers like you that cares. Hope to see you in person soon. Many Thanks. -Po


  14. Po – I just happened to come upon this blog page and read some of the reviews of Kicky’s. My boyfriend, Dave and I, had dinner at Kicky’s three different times and each time I had no complaints. Your sushi is excellent! and very fresh! I work in the bergen county area and my friends and I have tried a varitey of sushi establishments and at this point, I rate yours #1. Mahzu’s doesn’t even come close (whoever mentioned that in their blog). We enjoyed New Year’s Eve dinner there and will back this Valentine’s Day to now try the Pan Asian menu.
    The comments regarding the outside look are correct, maybe in the warmer weather you might think about adding sometype of greenery, small bushes to the outside by the tables with the windows. Good luck with the business. You are certainly on the right track.


  15. Colleen,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. I think Kickys has potential. When we dined there, we had absolutely no problems with the food really. As noted in my post and subsequent comments, the service was definitely an area that needed attention. I expect that if I’m paying over $100 for a meal (for 2 people), that service be outstanding. I chalked it up to them being new, but it sure didn’t leave us feeling we had to run back and try them again. Which we have not yet. Mostly due to wanting to try other restaurants in the area.

    I have considered going back again – especially since they have changed their menu to strictly Pan Asian and focusing on the sushi menu. That sounds promising to me.

    Po seems quite gracious and willing to devote time and attention on the areas that need work. So I’m sure when he gets around to reading your comment, he will appreciate the feedback.

    The Asbury Park Press recently reviewed the restaurant and it was actually pretty good. They, too, think there is promise for this dining establishment. So, given time and attention, I think Kickys will survive and do well. I only wish them the best. Thanks again!


  16. We went to Kickys last night and the food is really superb. I work in Manhattan and am quite spoiled with the variety, standard and freshness I normally get there. We were truely impressed with the experience. The decor and service ware is really unique and high end. The food was extremely fresh and tasty. (This is very important when sushi is on the menu.) We tried a couple of specials and were very happy with the inventivenss and combinations. I liked that it is Pan Asian. The adults can go for the sushi rolls and the kids can enjoy the Thai / Vietnamese not just the good old chicken teriyaki. I would say this is one of the only restaurant that does it quite well in the area. The restaurant is certainly not Manhattan prices but the quality of the food is so excellent and so close to home. I will definitely go with my family again.


  17. Hi Serena,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As noted in a previous comment, I look forward to going back and trying them again. Upon our first (and only) visit, the food and ambiance wasn’t the concern, it was the service. I hope they have addressed that successfully now that they’ve been open a few months.

    I’ll be sure to post again when we do go back.


  18. I just recently tried the food at Kicky’s and I have to say it is quite good. I got takeout consisting of Pad See Ew, Viet Porkchops, and Fried Rice. I admit, they’re not as great or authentic as respective ethnic restaurants, meaning a real Pad See Ew at a real Thai restaurant would be much better. But all things considered, the food was pretty good and the price point too, then again I live in NYC. That being said, I was floored by the decor as soon as I got inside. It was about the equivalent of a fusion place I’d find on the Upper Eastside. I couldn’t help but think that the choice of location for putting up a restaurant like Kicky’s was a risky venture, especially in a place like Aberdeen. Not that I don’t believe that Aberdeen doesn’t have any hip people, mind you. That being said, no one driving past on Rte. 34 would really expect the ambience to be like that until they got inside. The question is how to get more people to go in? The building from the outside isn’t representative of the atmosphere inside. The bathrooms are exquisite and the little cute wooden springy dolls that hold up “reserved” signs were a great detailed touch. Personally, I think advertising needs to be targeted towards a young professional demographic, 20s-30s. But I’m no restaurant owner and I don’t mean to sound condescending even though I know it comes across that way. I wish the owners/managers much success at Kicky’s


  19. We must have missed out on the initial “working out the kinks” period that Kicky’s — as with any restaurant, I imagine — went through when they first opened. Since last summer, my husband and I have dined there, we’ve gone with our children, I’ve brought groups of girlfiends there at least twice for birthday celebrations, and we’ve recommended it to other friends, who have returned a number of times with yet MORE people! Each time, the food has been delicious and perfectly prepared and the service was excellent. Po, the owner, has been very gracious about answering the couple of questions that we e-mailed through their website, and responded within minutes. Juliana is the server we had almost every time, I believe, and she’s a delight. We love the interior decor and our only suggestion, which has been mentioned before, is that they should improve the exterior design and landscaping to make it look less like the fast food place it used to be. Sorry to hear that others have had bad experiences, and I hope they have been the exception rather than us. :-)



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