It's been a bit quiet here on the blog front, due to an admitted lack of inspiration (thank to, uh, "current events") as well as an ill-advised attempt at the Whole30 diet just after the New Year (a somewhat successful, if not incredibly painful endeavour). Luckily, I felt that there was probably no better way to get back in the blogging groove than to recap one of the more indulgent meals I've had in recent memory.
I was having trouble coming up with a good restaurant to go to for Grambo's big 3-0 dinner. It seemed like everything that had opened recently in the DC area was either too stuffy and "fancy", or the polar opposite: crowded, doesn't accept reservations and requires standing in line for hours with a lawn chair and a newspaper (I'm looking at you, Bad Saint, because I miss you but I can't do this anymore).
Luckily, I remembered Eric Ziebold's relatively new Kinship was still on my back burner list and they fortunately had a table for two available. I'd been to his old restaurant Cityzen in the terribly located Mandarin Oriental here in DC before it closed in 2014, but I hadn't kept track of what Ziebold's next project was.
Check out the rest of my review of Kinship after the jump.
Kinship advertises itself as a "modern American restaurant" (zzzzzzzzzzz) but once you take a closer look at the menu, you can see that Ziebold's vision is actually what sets the restaurant apart from every other "nouveau Americain" place you've been to. The menu is divided into five sections that emphasize different aspects of the food, such as Craft, History, Ingredients, Indulgence and a separate "For the Table" section where there are larger, shared format options. (It's probably worth mentioning for anyone who wants to get really fancy, that Ziebold also operates a tasting menu only restaurant, Metier, downstairs in the same building but be prepared to drop significantly more cash.) There's also an extensive, varied wine list with surprisingly accessible price points.
And so, to the food:
We started with one of the specials of the night, which was rather excellent chu-toro sashimi with cucumbers and a red pepper gastrique-type sauce. Given that i'm not a fan of either cucumbers nor red peppers, I was pleasantly surprised at how light the dish was and how well the flavors worked together. We also tried the foie gras torchon (because...foie gras) and an incredibly delicious, savory monkfish "pastrami" with cabbage and a rye vinaigrette. Monkfish can be easy to overcook, even in "nice" restaurants, but the cook on this dish was on point and I also couldn't believe how much the flavors were reminiscent of a real pastrami sandwich.
I'm sure some of you are wondering at this point what the aforementioned "For the table" options are all about, and whether we were crazy enough to try one of these larger dishes, since it was just two of us eating.
Of course we did. Because this is what we ordered:
Described simply on the menu as the "Kinship Roast Chicken" - this is, without a doubt, the best roast chicken I have ever had. For any New York food snobs out there, my humble opinion is that this version is even better than the truffle and leek roasted chicken from Eleven Madison Park, mainly because of its unabashed simplicity. If you decide to order Kinship's chicken, the server will advise that you get your order in straightaway since each chicken is roasted to order, a process which takes about 45 minutes. The steaming, crispy bird is then shown to you at the table, before being whisked away to be expertly carved up in the kitchen. The perfectly moist, sliced chicken then returns with its merry band of accompaniments, including ridiculously crispy roast potatoes, frisee salad and the famous Parker House rolls, one of Chef Ziebold's signatures. Do not sleep on this one.
As most of my friends know, I rarely order dessert (#emptycalories) but in a haze of chicken fat induced delusion, we decided to try the Maple Syrup "Dumplings" which were more reminiscent of fried Italian zeppole (who's complaining) in a tangy redcurrant sauce. This was delicious but if you somehow do still have room at the end of dinner, I would recommend just ordering another chicken. Just kidding (sort of). Another unexpected surprise was the Valrhona hot chocolate from the dessert menu, which was creamy, intensely chocolatey and made even more indulgent with housemade fluffy marshmallows. This restaurant is really not the best place to try if you are remotely on a diet or are still somehow sticking to a New Year's resolution.
I'll have to plan another trip back to Kinship soon. It's definitely not just for a special occasion (though perfect for one - especially if you can snag one of the more private booths) given the range of menu options on offer. Or maybe I'll just go back solo and order the roast chicken for one, and a bottle of white wine.
One woman's journey to eat all the food. Or at least, most of it.