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“Sunday lunch was fine”
Review of Kafe Kokopelli

Kafe Kokopelli
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Ranked #2 of 61 Restaurants in Dade City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $28
Cuisines: Healthy
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Located in Historic Downtown Dade City Florida, Kafe Kokopelli resides in a 101 year old red-brick, vine covered building that was constructed in 1916. Originally built as a Model-T Ford Sales and Service center it was home to the local Ford dealers until the mid 1970's. Saved a few months from demolition, the building was restored and converted to house what is now Kafe Kokopelli, a favorite of locals and visitors from all over the country.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

I read several of the reviews and was surprised that so many customers were unhappy. I have to say we were pleased with our late lunch. I had half a Cuban sandwich, which was grilled panini-style. It was plentiful and good. I had the half and half, and chose Caesar Salad instead of soup. If you don't like garlic, you won't like the Caesar. I love garlic and thought the salad was great. I also had a glass of the house wine. My husband had the Reuben sandwich with homemade chips and iced tea. He thought it was good. Our service was also fine. The bill with tax and tip was $32. Not cheap, but about what we expected.

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Thank Diana K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 1, 2014

My husband and I were looking forward to a romantic New Years Eve. We made reservations several days ahead of time and were told we would be seated in the bar area. We arrived and we were told there was no room in the bar so we were seated in the middle of the dining room. I asked if we could be seated at a table next to the wall and the answer was that was all that was available unless we wanted to wait. There was a booth close by that was vacated and stayed that way throughout our meal that would have been perfect. I sat down because it was obvious that this host did not want to bother with us. I ordered the veal dish at 7:55 pm and the waitress said they were out of veal. The bread and gator appetizer were delicious. My husband and I both ordered the shrimp scampi. They say the pasta is homemade but mine tasted like package pasta. We asked for some parmesan cheese to add some flavor to our rather dry, bland pasta dish. The waitress brought us a small dish with about 3 tablespoons of cheese in it. We were not told there would be an up charge for the cheese but when we got our bill we were charged $3.00 for the cheese. We ordered the bread pudding to share for dessert. It looked beautiful on the plate but it consisted of a small muffin size bread pudding which would be nice for one person but not enough for 2 people.
Overall, the food and hospitality were a disappointment. I have worked in the restaurant business and know how important is to treat every guest special and to serve good food. Sadly, we will not be back to Kafe Kokopelli . My recommendation to them as a retired food professional is to change or enhance their existing recipes and train their staff to be more attentive to their customers.

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Thank Marcie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2013

The saying "things never stay the same" is true. My husband and I have always loved Kokopelli but it's just not the same. I am not one to complain about a meal but this needs to be said if the new owner wants to stay in business. We started with an appetizer of my favorite spinach and artichoke tip. Rule #1 for a dip is that it should not have to be cut with a knife to eat it. There was Zero flavor. We both ordered our favorite prime rib. I requested an end cut. My husband requetsed a baked potatoe rather than the mashed potatoes that came standard with the meal. The waiter quickly came and told my husband that baked potatoes were not ready yet....it was 6:15 on a Saturday night and baked potatoes not ready? Very quickly out came our meals....bummer is all I could think of. Mine was not an end cut and when I asked the waiter about that he said that they did not have anymore (6:15 on a Saturday night and you ran out already?!) and he said " I guess I should have asked how you wanted you meat".....yep I agree. My husband had requested his prime rib to be braised....burnt is how it came, the mashed potatoes were cold. The waiter did come and check on us and we had to tell him like it was.....terrible. I inquired about the salad we used to get with dinner and he said that it is not included with the meal any more but rather as a menu item. He explained that the new owner did that to keep the prices down. I don't know which prices on the very limited menu are lower because all of items we ordered were higher! We both agreed that the waiter was great and full of great excuses for the changes in the menu. Last disappointment came when we were not even done with the meal, the waiter kindly brought our bill! Guess it was time to leave-45 minutes from sitting down to walking out the door- phew that was a quick romantic meal! Btw-no desserts on the menu any longer.

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2  Thank Wshadetree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

We had the misfortune of dining at Kafe Kokopelli's on Monday 12/23. We started out with a pitcher of Sangria which was mostly ice and barely got 4 small glasses of watered down Sangria for $16. Next we ordered Fried Green tomatoes which consisted of three slices of tomato with goat cheese added, it certainly wasn't worth $11. My husband's grilled " Grouper?" was fishy smelling and barely edible. Our server Kristie was a delightful young woman.

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1  Thank Mary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

Our hopes for a fine dining experience at this otherwise well-reviewed establishment were dashed upon the rocks like the Costa Concordia but the captain didn't flee, he just didn't pay attention. Our lovely and personable server was a charming young lady who was either over-tasked, inept, or a combination of the two.

As an opening beverage I decided to splurge and have a glass of scotch, my favorite distilled spirit. They were out of my first choice, so I went for the second choice--neat, with a water back. I received a glass of scotch and a glass of ice. Technically ice is water in a frozen state, but I meant liquid water when I said "water back". When I told the smiling, personable server that I would trade her the glass of ice for a glass of tepid--room temperature--water she brought me a glass of ice water.

At this point it was clear to me that the SS Kafe Kokopelli was leaderless: the bar staff doesn't know how to server "Glenfiddich, neat, with a water back." That's the way to order scotch in an establishment which purports to be upscale or upper-mid scale. I attempted to educate the server that cold diminishes the flavor of food and drink and that I just wanted a glass of warm--room temperature--water. She brought me a glass of warm--about 100 to 110 degree-- tap water.

The eclectic arrangement with which the items of decor were displayed makes for an interesting and unique ambiance. The bread--let us break bread at Kafe Kokopelli--is heavenly!

Of the four of us in the party, one was pleased with her meal of gnocchi, another was disappointed with her scampi from a value perspective. It was "adequate" but "Scrimpy Scampi" might have been a better way to describe the meal of pasta with seven shrimp--which were not large. The flavor was good, but nothing for which one would cheer. Since this diner was, is, has been for over 33 years, and will be forever my Dear Sweet Wifey, I see Pasta Weesie at Carrabba's in my near future.

The two others in the party had "Prime Rib", which was nothing more than a rib steak evidently cooked on a flattop grill. If one searches the web for "prime rib" one is overwhelmingly rewarded with hits featuring a standing rib roast*. Not so at Kafe Kokopelli, where "Prime Rib" means "flattop grilled steak". As those who are steak aficionados know--and our server does not eat red meat nor has she studied it as a professional food server might--grilling a steak in this manner is a means to minimize the flavors which using a gas- or wood-fired grill brings to exquisite fullness.

When ordering the "Prime Rib" one in our party asked for the "end cut," as he likes his meat well done. At the conclusion of the meal when we told the server we had expected standing rib roast she said she thought that was strange because when she asked the cook for an "end cut" he told her there weren't any. That should have been a strong clue that there was a serious miscommunication perpetrated by the menu: only roasts have end cuts. While initial responsibility falls on the server and the cook for this failure to communicate, ultimate responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of management. When one orders something which CANNOT be on the menu there is an urgent need to see what the misunderstanding is.

One of us (your correspondent) did not eat his "Prime Rib" and left roughly 75% of it--and the potatoes--on his plate with the knife and fork neatly arrayed to indicated "finished." Several members of the staff walked by who should have been paying attention to leftovers--including one of the owner/managers (3x times at least)--and said nothing.

The morning after I reheated the steak on my gas grill, whereupon I was able to unlock some of the flavor of the meat, so I would guess that while it was not USDA Prime, it was probably USDA Choice--a good cut of meat rendered blase by the means of cooking. I also noticed that the grill marks on the top of my steak were ONLY on the top of the steak, whereby I deduced that the steak was probably cooked on a flattop grill.

If the establishment were not 40 miles from home I would try it again for lunch, but for an evening dining experience my suggestion is to find another restaurant.

Now, let me make this review constructive to this establishment and all other who read it:

Notes to manager:

1. Educate your bar staff: Teach them the various ways to "cal lout" drinks. Teach them what "water back" means, for example. Likewise teach the wait staff about drinks--your product cost in these is typically the lowest in the establishment. Promote them, educate your staff, satisfy your customers. Consider some of the unique products designed for serving scotch, like the "scotch whisky glass" and "scotch water pitcher" (Google those terms).

2. Review the menu: change "Prime Rib" to something which reflects the miserable state of this menu item: "Flattop grilled rib-eye" or "Blase beef steak"; do something about the "Scrimpy Scampi," add a couple shrimp, increase the size of the shrimp, or reduce the amount of pasta.

3. Teach your wait staff to be alert: I've been to war, where we have a motto to insure everyone's survival: One Team, One Fight. Your staff's motto might well have been: One Person, One Fight. Yes, we did have someone else bring something on two occasions, but our server was so overwhelmed that we didn't get "20% service" (the ideal tip: we start at 15% and work up or down; in this case we were at abotu 8% when we left but our server was so personable we couldn't be that stingy). Here are some pithy sayings from my father--may he rest in peace--a former board member of the Restaurant Association of the State of Washington:
-Make every trip count.
-Take something each direction when you go to the kitchen or back to the dining room.
-Serve like you would like to be served.
-Pay attention--the diner may not be in your station tonight, but next week they could--or they could eat someplace else.
-There is no greater trust someone can give you than to let you cook and serve them a meal.

4. Teach your staff about food:
-Meat types (fish, poultry, and red meat) and their cuts. Read about "Prime Rib."
-Food pairings with wine, spirits, and liqueurs.
-Cooking methods: roasting, braising, poaching, steaming, frying, etc. and how they bring out various flavors and change textures.

For our server:

Study the hospitality industry: it's a fascinating and rewarding field. You have what it takes to be a stellar server and--with your high EQ--could someday be a great manager. It takes time, though.

*Prime rib--standing rib roast--is a favorite of mine. I put my herb paste on the bones, put the roast on the bones, top the roast with the remainder of the herb paste, and wrap the entire roast in a pastry shell like a Beef Wellington. This is then cooked on a bed of rock salt. Universally loved by all who've had it!

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1  Thank OldWarDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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