1015 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (http://kinshipdc.com/)
CityZen, the longstanding restaurant located in the Mandarin Oriental, closed after 10 years of excellence in 2014. Although I never made it to chef Eric Ziebold’s beloved (and well-reviewed) restaurant, everything I heard and read had nothing but praise to offer. When Ziebold announced his sister restaurants – Kinship (which opened in early January) and Metier (which has a planned opening for February) – the DC food scene took notice. Now I understand why.
After we were sat and provided a brief overview of the menu (sections focusing on
cooking techniques, old favorites, and the ingredients used, were organized from smaller
plates to more meaningful sizes; a section featuring decadent – and expensive – dishes; and a section with family/shared dishes), we quickly learned that chef was in the house that evening. What followed was a testament to Ziebold’s tutelage at The French Laundry and his time at CityZen. We started with two smaller plates to share: the Kinship Stroganoff and Aoyagi Clams. The stroganoff, the chef’s riff on a Russian dish (and 1950s American kitchen classic), features shortbreads and spaetzle in lieu of the beef and egg noodles. The shortbreads, with a tender interior and crispy exterior, paired with an excellent mushroom cream sauce. All together it was a perfect dish, and something I will return for in the [hopefully very near] future. Ziebold showcased an Asian flavor profile with his clams: pairing the mollusk with Yuzu and serving alongside bok choy, garlic fried rice and crispy mushroom tempura. The fried rice gave a sharp bite to contrast the cool clam, and the tempura was light, puffy, and piping hot. Eaten together, a well balanced and flavorful dish.
One of the most exciting parts of our main course, the Martin Ranch Dry Aged Ribeye, was
an opportunity to try the chef’s Parker House Rolls, a side universally loved during his stint at CityZen. It’s hard not to get on board with the crowd. Perfect little pillows of bread with just a touch of salt and a hit of butter. The ribeye, perfectly cooked, and served alongside roasted mushrooms and potatoes Dauphinoise, was tender and paired well with a chef’s treat: seared foie gras. Though the richness of the steak and potatoes came off as a little one note at times, it’s hard to argue with perfectly executed food.
How do you end such a fantastic meal? We opted for the Valrhona Guanaja Custard Cake, a deeply satisfying, and well balanced dessert that highlighted the bittersweet notes of the chocolate and excellent crunch and creaminess from the praline studded ice cream. Chef also sent out the house version of a mimosa: champagne “ice cream” with a concentrated orange syrup. A refreshing hit of flavor. Both combined to make for a subtle, and satisfying, end to our dinner.
Ziebold opens Kinship’s fine dining sister, Metier, in less than a month. If the chef continues the type of cooking that he displayed at the former, he may very well have two of best restaurants in the city, period. I look forward to another trip to Kinship soon…with food this well without the requirement of a tasting menu, it’s a rare and delightful find. Bottom line: Chef Ziebold, welcome back to the fold.
Atmosphere: The restaurant has a minimalist design, with a rustic antique feel to the pieces that Ziebold selected: from the mismatched silverware and custom ceramic ware dishes chose, to the fireplace and intimate banquettes. The staff was attentive, friendly, and described the food without going into a diatribe about the “philosophy” of the menu like so many new restaurants sprouting up. Kinship seems to be the hip place to be, with guest appearances by local chefs Mike Isabella and his soon-to-be business partner, Jen Carroll.
Noise: An intimate and relatively quiet restaurant. The most noise that we heard through the night were the laughter-filled conversations of a small group enjoying dinner, and the raucous laughter of a certain celebrity chef. Soaking it all in made for an excellent night.
Recommended Dishes: Kinship Stroganoff, Dry Aged Ribeye, Aoyagi Clams, Parker House Rolls
Reservations: Highly Recommended. Although the restaurant was not incredibly crammed for an 8:00pm reservation the night we went, Kinship, and its chef, is one of the buzziest names floating around the DC area.
$$$$ – $100 to $150 for dinner for two
Note: This review originally ran on January 25, 2016 on our old site and was re-published on WordPress.