After working in larger restaurants and a couple fine dining places I'm finding myself working behind the line (as a sous) in a small casual place ($17-$24 entrees) with only two hot stations being grill and saute. We have a cold-line too but it's off on the opposite side of the kitchen so we really don't see garde manger often during service.
I have been there 6 months now but it still feels weird in such a small setup. We do have a good amount of room laterally (about 12 feet end to end) but it just feels barren. No expo, one printer, no-one at the pickup to garnish or monitor QC, just two people working the line together 6 nights a week. We have no other hot-line cooks. We do all the prep aside from lunch items.
It's good in some ways like we have an unspoken sense of each other, I know what hes thinking and he know what I'm thinking. I know how to pace things when one station gets hit hard without having to verbally communicate it. We speak surprisingly little to each other during service, we just know what needs to get done and help each other when it's needed. It also creates tension because we both know on bad days if someone is tired, sick or in a sh*t mood it's really going to affect the other person (they'll be helping out big time with plating, running back to the walk-in to get their mise, bailing the other guy out etc.). It's really a love-hate relationship day to day, If one is happy the other is happy, if one is not the other isn't.
Any advice for such a kitchen dynamic? Like I said it still feels new to me. I do miss the big, loud lines with 4 or 5 stations and a yelling expo and the typical kitchen culture. This kitchen culture is quiet and in some ways less rewarding.