Kinship (Washington)

Kinship is a restaurant where they want diners to feel connected. There are aspects to the environment that help: a quiet atmosphere so you can actually have a conversation; and the tables are narrow enough that you’re physically closer to each other. Of course, the act of breaking bread already creates a connection. Especially, if dishes are shared amongst the table - there’s a “for the table” section of the menu dedicated to this.

It’s also a Michelin starred restaurant that doesn’t feel stuffy. You feel welcomed in jeans and they actually offer an à la carte menu with enough choices that you don’t feel forced into a tasting option. They’ll walk you through the menu’s layout, the dishes arrange into sections such as ingredient, indulgence, craft, tradition, and for the table. Truthfully, I don’t remember the nuances of the segments other than tradition is the historical favourites.

The best dish of the night was a “craft” selection. The short shell crab tempura ($24) was stuffed with a bit of herb puree, delicately battered and cooked to perfection. The batter was crispy but seasoned with just enough flavour to not cover the crab. With the seafood being so hot, the coolness of the relish made from garlic chives, shiitake, chili pepper and jicama was such a great contrast – refreshing and spicy. 

Having worked at the French Laundry and Per Se, Chef Eric Ziebold is no stranger to sauces. You’ll find a variety of them used in the spring chickpea falafel ($16) dish: a light yoghurt lebneh, rouille mousee, and a bright cucumber vierge. You’ll need these sauces as the falafel itself, albeit a fluffy texture, doesn’t stand out much in terms of taste.

Meanwhile, the cauliflower terrine ($15) is thick and remarkably tastes like chicken liver mousse. Yet, the accompanying crunchy carrot and fennel salad was much too sweet and didn’t really add to the dish. A long lentil cracker covers the plate, but with the richness of the terrine you really needed more than one.

The chilled ponzu braised celtuce ($16) is a love it or hate it dish, which for me fell into the later camp. The main ingredient, the celtuce (a celery lettuce) was sparse and so fried that it could have been any leafy green. The crunchy daikon slices were the most prominent taste and sadly the rice cakes were hard cubes of rice (not unlike a stale sushi pizza) instead of the chewy Korean rice cakes I was expecting.

Luckily, the meal ended off strong with a huge slab of grilled piri piri beef ($74). With different thicknesses along the tri tip, it naturally creates a selection of meat with varying doneness. Like it medium? The middle piece is for you! A bit more well done? Go for an end piece. While the cut of meat is a bit leaner than I normally like, it’s nonetheless flavourful and tender.

It’s stunning to look at as well, sitting on a bed of bright braised yucca studded with sweet peppers and carrots. For some extra flavour apply a liberal spoon of the red chili chimichurri, it’s delicious. A bowl of creamy polenta also come with the dish – silky and creamy it’s made even better with, you got it, more chimichurri.

If that isn’t enough, warm house-made Parker house rolls sits on the side. They are soft and buttery, eat them while they’re hot.

As my first dinner in Washington, Kinship was decent but lacked the well-rounded impressiveness of other Michelin restaurants. The soft shell crab was absolutely delicious, but then the celtuce is such a bipolar dish that didn’t really excite the table (except with one guest). Yet, Kinship is centrally located and as Michelin starred restaurants go, offers an affordable menu with a fair number of options. And that first meal, did make me feel more connected with my colleagues before the start of the conference. I guess Kinship achieved its purpose.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Washington, USA
 Address: 1015 7th Street NW

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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Kinship Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato