Tag Archives: noise

Great Sunday Brunch, but What’s with the Noise

Over the week-end, we went for brunch with some out-of-town company.  Kingsbury Street Cafe was our choice.  It came with good reviews, a convenient location, parking (for a fee) and a great menu that included a decent number of gluten-free choices.  (Unfortunately, the gluten-free and vegetarian selections do not show up on the website view of the menu.)  Also important is the fact that they take reservations – a feature offered by very few brunch restaurants.

Everyone was very happy with their choices and the service was excellent..  Members of our party ordered a quiche, hamburger,  eggs Benedict, Kingsbury Cafe breakfast, and I had a custom omelet with potatoes and gluten free bread.  The gluten free bread is an extra charge, and it is very dense, but seemed a very healthy offering.

However, the noise level was very high.  It was difficult to carry on a conversation at the table, although possible, if you made an effort.  Certainly, the waiter had to move around the table to take the orders.  It seems that the current thinking in the restaurant trade is that a noisy place is a successful place.  Perhaps noise equates to liveliness or fun.  But when it gets so difficult to carry on a conversation, I think they have carried things too far.  Do they expect their guests to have to text each other?  When the addition of acoustic tiles, or some other sound absorption is possible, but not utilized, one has to think the noise level is intentional.

If  you are looking for a good brunch, especially if you need to assure a reservation time, I recommend the food and service at Kingsbury Street Cafe, but come prepared for the noise level.

Loved the food, hated the noise

Shakou Sushi is a new addition to Barrington, and is the third location for this restaurant.  (The other locations are in St. Charles and Libertyville.) The Barrington location is at 121 West Main Street, in the recently-opened Barrington Village Center.

First – the good things – attractive decor, with imaginative wall treatment and very contemporary feeling.  The extensive menu has a range of choices with soups, salads, cold and hot appetizers, sushi, dinner selections, and a page of gluten free choices.  Our table had the Secret Garden for  appetizer. I had the Sambal Shrimp dinner, and a lemon sorbet for dessert.  Presentation was excellent, and everyone at our table loved their food.

It sounds like a winner, doesn’t it, but I don’t expect to go back.  The noise was overwhelming.  We couldn’t carry on a conversation, and when talking to the waitress, sometimes had to repeat what we said a couple of times.

Do today’s restaurateurs really think we enjoy not being able to talk to each other?  Is noise supposed to equal fun?  Not for me!  The New York Times had an article that invited reader input on the subject.  Strangely, in all the reviews I read about Shakou, no one mentioned the noise.