Seattle >Food & Dining > Qdoba
1312 NE 43rd St, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810547.659895 -122.313690
Neighborhoods: Northeast, University District, Northeast Seattle
Poor service, slow service, misleading advertising – "Hi, your add says you give tokens for parking." "We ran out," the waiter says, turning away. "Can you give me the three bucks so my car isn't towed?" Shrug. Walks away. "Excuse me, can you get the manager?" "He might be over there." I go over there. "Hi, your add says you give tokens for parking." The bartender turns away. "We don't have any." "Can you give me the three bucks so my car isn't towed?" "No." "Can I speak to the manager?" "He isn't here." "Can I have his card?" "Yeah, wait here." Five minutes later: "We don't have any cards." "Can you give me cash on my card so my car won't be towed?" "No."
Once I slog around to get $3 cash for the parking box, I wait 30 minute just to flag down a waiter and order, then another 45 (seriously, 45!) minutes before my sandwich comes.
Yeah, I'm so going back to this place.
A very unfortunate fall for a previously great place – Kai's used to be fabulous. I used to go there every other day for lunch while attending UW. I used to tell my customers to go there for some of the best food this neighborhood had to offer. I used to crave Kai's.
What happened? A year ago, every single offering on their menu was scrumptious. These days, the menu is scaled back and what is available is not very tempting. They used to have the best crab cakes in town, but five of the last six times we have ordered them, they were still cold in the middle. On Valentine's Day, the place was pretty empty, but it took about an hour to get our food. The bartenders are either oblivious or out of control, but either way, they are unattentive to the small number of customers seated at the bar. Last week they wouldn't do takeout for fellow service industry workers on the Ave (who otherwise couldn't eat in because we were working), and dining there last night was just the last straw. The food was very bland, unappetizing, lukewarm, and certainly not worth the price.
I miss the good Kai's, but I won't be going back.
Very good inexpensive food! – I have never had a problem with service at Kai's. Maybe the secret is to go often and get to know the wait staff by name. I always order Manny's Pale Ale and it's brought to me before I sit down. The seafood dishes are incredible and very inexpensive. Kai's is one of my favorite places to go in the U District,
Great deals, great food, uneven service – The first time we went to Kai's, in September, it was Wednesday night around 5:30pm and I had the very best caesar salad I've ever had, bar none. And it was only $4! I had a bowl of steamed clams to go with my salad for another $4 and those were good too (one or two had a piece of grit - no big deal). Mixed drinks are generous. The service was awesome - a woman, dark hair with a short haircut.
The second time we went to Kai's, in October, '06, well... the food was still pretty good but the service was the worst I've ever had, bar none. Here's the scoop: Again Wednesday night, around 5:30pm. We sat just as another couple was sitting down and the place was half-empty. How long did it take? The other couple had their food before the same waitress even took our drink order, that's how long it took. This review can only be 2000 characters, so trust me when I say the service sucked and there was no visible reason for it; the waitress was joking with the bar staff, playing around, talking to other employees, basically doing everything except waiting on us. So the service wasn't bad across the board, just us! She did no check-back, no bill (was given to us by another waitress who we flagged down in desperation). Our waitress spoke *maybe* 6 words to us the entire night: "What can I get for you?" It was so bad that I asked my boyfriend ?did you date and dump her?? Her attitude seemed personally resentful and very strange and unwarranted.
So, one excellent visit, one poor visit. I had to go back a thrid time!
The third visit was 2 days ago (Monday night). At 5pm the bar area was almost full and there was only one guy working both the bar and the floor. He came right away to take our drink orders and deliver menus. He had a LOT to do and was doing it so that we didn't feel neglected. The giant hunk of salmon added to my caesar for a scant $2 was AMAZING and it was delicious (a bit on the inside was undercooked but at $2 I feel bad about mentioning it). Nice job.
i'm gonna say no.. – It's unfortunate that I write with this tone, because I feel as though I wasn't able to give Kai's the right review when it was in it's "prime". When the restaurant first opened, one of the co-owners was a good friend. I had not made it into the restaurant however, until after the management had changed hands. I went in with a friend after work, to be greeted (or not), by an unfriendly waitress who took quite a long while before she offered us a happy hour menu. After impatiently standing by our sides while waiting for us to order, she returned with our two rather stiff drinks. I do enjoy a stiff drink, but I prefer to have them with a good snack or meal. Unfortunately the gyoza was drenched in an abnormally large amount of oil, and the rest of the dishes were not memorable..so I'm not convinced that that speaks well of them. Regardless, I don't think that I'll be returning here anytime in the near future. I may at some point to give it a chance, but I would rather support a restaurant like Flowers or Ruby's up the street.
Good happy hour, drinks are well-made – I love the happy hour here! The potstickers are the best around, you gotta try them, and the chicken or the burger can be a light dinner for only about $4. Service from the waitstaff is mixed, but drinks are usually made just right. The atmosphere is warm and intimate, making the place for a date or a small group of people. Especially at night, with the candles lit, it's a nice place to go get a nightcap, even if it's crowded and a bit loud. Not the best place to go with a huge group of people, the tables are pretty small. I highly recommend Kai's over any of the dives on the Ave!!
I had a great time at Kai's on Tuesday! – A couple of girl friends and I had a "girls night out" at Kai's on Tuesday and it was great! We sat in the back on the comfy couch and had a great dinner. I had the short ribs and they were to die for! The drinks were stiff and cheap 4$! Our bartender was really helpful, even though it was busy. Everytime I have gone to Kai's it's been great.
Editorial Review – U-district restaurant attracts eclectic crowds to a menu of European and American cuisine and twice-a-day happy hours.
Very poor food, service was so so. – I brought some out of town guests here because it was close to the hotel that they stayed at (the Watertown, highly recommend it!). We walked in the back door, and despite the loud door chimes and eye contact with folks in the kitchen, we had to search out service after sitting for 10 minutes waiting. We ordered the "tiger prawn" appetizer, for our meals we ordered large cesar salad with prawns, small cesar and buffalo wings, chicken sandwiches for the pair in our group of 4. The "prawns" came up last, were puny in size, cold, with bland sauce. The salads were flavorless, the sandwiches appeared to be OK. The wings were fair, though also getting cold. After having so many nice meals throughout the city with our guests, this was a big disappointment. I wouldn't recommend going to Kai's for anything but their drinks, which were well poured.
Best of both worlds – We had a great time at kais the new menu is incredible. The drinks are refreshing and the service is prompt and professional. The other positive is there are two seperate bars one is smoking and the other is not!!
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