There are a few things that I like about Boulder and many that I don't. For example, it bothers me that Boulder exists where it does, snugged up tight against the base of the Flatirons, frantically humping the leg of a mountain range that would be that much more splendid if the whole town just buggered off to the plains. But then, I like the view of Boulder as you come up over the big hill on I-36 and see the town all laid out with its predominantly low-slung buildings and tidy landscaping. From a distance, it looks so idyllic -- like a fantasy postcard painted by a landscape artist dosed to the gills on NyQuil and Prozac. The town is filled with pretty girls, and that's good. It's also filled with pretty boys, all carrying Rollerblades or freshly returned from a thirty-mile hike and a spa visit, and that's not so good. Makes the pretty girls that much less likely to shoot a smile or pass the time of day with a scowling, scrofulous, chain-smoking, perpetual ex-New Yorker with a fatal allergy to any outdoor activity that doesn't involve a barbecue and a wet bar.
That was the start of Jason Sheehan's review of The Kitchen penned back in 2004. He didn't like the restaurant much more than he did Boulder, and last month, when he asked readers to suggest a place for his last Westword review, several recommended the Kitchen - none more eloquently than John Broening, exec chef of Duo and Olivea.
In a largely laudatory goodbye to Sheehan, Broening offered this: "I think your trashing of the Kitchen was unforgivable: The Kitchen has single-handedly changed the restaurant scene on the Front Range, and to dwell on what seemed to you like their sanctimoniousness was to miss the point completely."
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Sheehan didn't get back to the Kitchen, though; instead, he went with Ondo's, which he reviewed in our January 7 issue. So while we continue to search for Sheehan's replacement, we dispatched Juliet Wittman, a Boulder resident who's written about food as well as theater (and just about everything else during her years at Westword) to take a fresh look at the Kitchen; read her assessment here tomorrow.