Restaurant Reviews

A Fired-up Kitchen

Vincent Foti's 4-month-old Kitchenetta, just south of Oakland Park Boulevard, takes the same Neapolitan-inspired cuisine served at Salerno's and puts it through a wringer of fabulosity. No elastic waistbands here. High concept reigns in the flat-screen TV on the wall, in the acid orange-and-green colors splashed throughout the restaurant, and in the jeans-and-sneakers attire of the waiters.

You'll see lots of Vespas in the parking lot and enjoy people like Jimmy Scott on the sound system -- if you can hear him through the din created by the Philippe Starck-inspired atmosphere that's complete with metal chairs, tables on rollers, finished concrete floors, and exposed ceilings. (Smart option: Eat out on the covered patio, heat and humidity permitting.)

Noise not a problem? Then you'll not mind that the kitchen still seems to be a work in progress. Thumbs up for the $9 Caprese salad (the homemade mozzarella makes a great way to start a meal), the properly al dente pastas (averaging $13 for individual servings, $25 for the huge, family-sized portions), and the heavy-on-the-reds wine list (if you've got the bucks, try a Montalcino).

The gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream sauce ($13) delivers as well. But the red sauce, so important in this cuisine, can have a bitterness that dims the pleasures of everything from the heavily fried risotto balls ($7) to Grandma Uvari's Italian/American meatloaf ($14, or $27 for family sized). And the waiters, while friendly and knowledgeable, have a casual approach bordering on the forgetful -- like those bread crumbs on the Italian broccoli and garlic side dish ($7). The staff manning the complimentary valet service could also do with some serious performance appraisals -- or better yet, the ax.

With dreams of interactive web cams and public offerings, Foti has big plans to expand Kitchenetta up the East Coast and into Los Angeles. Though we wish him luck, some improvements need to be made. We'll come back when more of the kinks get conked.

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D.B. Tipmore