A “Picnic” by Kinship (DC)

Kinship is one of our favorite restaurants in Washington, DC, so when an invitation arrived stating that there was going to be a dinner at the farm of one of its suppliers, we didn’t hesitate! Neither did our 19 year old daughter (who is home for the summer—yay!) and two of her friends.
Eric Ziebold and Célia Laurent are the couple who own and run Kinship to perfection. Eric is an extraordinarily gifted chef, and Célia is the operational brains behind the business.
The dinner was held at Martin’s Farm in The Plains, Virginia, about an hour and a half west of DC. The dinner arrangements hit a slight snag when a thunderstorm passed through The Plains that afternoon, making it impossible to start cooking or setting up on time. The storm also soaked the ground, and there’s nothing quite like the experience of that lovely red Virginia clay soil turning into lovely red Virginia mud. (The choice of appropriate footwear was directly proportional to the enjoyment of the evening.)
It was also a good experience for the 3 young women, who had probably never been on a working farm before. (Certainly, the one belonging to us had not.)

note appropriate footwear

All of these delays were easily solved by wine and sangria, of course. And once the cooking stations were operational, the dinner was as lovely as one might expect.
There were two appetizer stations set up, serving a Path Valley Farm Hen Egg with Grits and L’Abeille Garden Anise Hyssop and a Small Mouth Bass with Summer Solstice Succotash and Rouille. The grits were delicious, and the bass melted in your mouth. (I suspect the bass were still swimming happily in the pond earlier that day.)
Dinner consisted of Avocado Toast with Chorizo and Lamb Leg Terrine as appetizers with Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Warm Green Tomato Salad and Tahini and Red Wine Marinated Tri-tip and Grilled Ribeye with Kinship Steak Butter as entrées. Side dishes consisted of L’Abeille Garden La Ratte Potato Salad with Beef Bacon and Rosemary, Savoy Cabbage Coleslaw, and L’Abeille Garden Chicken Spice Grilled Asparagus. Even this potato salad-hater liked the potato salad (but, then, with enough bacon, all things are possible). And the asparagus was delicious. The coleslaw lovers in the family declared the coleslaw excellent, but I decided that I needed to save my hard-earned optional calories for dessert.
The two dessert stations served Brown Sugar Shortcake with Vanilla Cream with either L’Abeille Garden Verbena Strawberries or Orange-Scented Blueberries and S’mores Cake with Chocolate Crémeux, Toasted Meringue, and Soft Cinnamon Cake. The chocolate lovers in the group declared the s’mores cake to be excellent. The shortcake was all shortcake should be—more cake than biscuit—rich and with no bitterness. It was fabulous.

a selfie by old people…

The dinner could not have been set in a more scenic location. The surroundings were beautiful—a timely reminder of how gorgeous the Virginia countryside can be. All in all, a tranquil and delicious way to wind up a summer weekend.

gorgeous day!

Restaurant review: Kinship (Washington, DC)

Kinship is a newly opened restaurant in Washington, DC. The chef-owner is Eric Ziebold (formerly of French Laundry and CityZen) and his wife, Celia Laurent. We have been huge fans of Eric’s cooking since his CityZen days and have been looking forward to his opening up his own restaurant for months.

The menu is organized a little differently than most restaurant menus. There are four main categories: Craft, History, Ingredients, and Indulgence. Under these categories, the first two entries are generally appetizer-sized, the next two entries are entrée-sized, and the last entry is dessert. (I have heard complaints from some diners about this, but I’m not sure how you would read “Bahibe Chocolate Tart” and assume it’s anything but a dessert.) I also love menus that include desserts so that I can decide whether to save a lot of or a little room for the course. (Notice that I did not say save no room.) 🙂

There is a fifth category called “For the Table.” Hopefully, this category is self-explanatory, as it consists of dishes ample enough for the entire table to share.

Our group started off with the following appetizers (and there were thumbs up from all the diners):

Oeuf à la Brick au Thon (feuille de brick fried egg, tuna confit, and sweet pepper marmalade)

oeuf a la brick au thon

oeuf a la brick au thon

Aoyagi Clams (yuzu, shitake tempura, baby bok choy, and garlic fried rice)

aoyagi clams

aoyagi clams

Blue Fin Toro Sashimi (sweet, sour, salty,and spicy flavors); and

blue fin toro sashimi

blue fin toro sashimi

Path Valley Farms Sunchokes (clementine segments, toasted pepitas, and cilantro chimichurri)

path valley farms sunchokes

path valley farms sunchokes

Entrees included:

Seared Muscovy Duck (napa cabbage, peanuts, honeycrisp apples, and fermented black beans)

seared muscovy duck

seared muscovy duck

Salt Crusted Dorade (with roasted cauliflower, raisins, honey-saffron sauce, and orzo) from the “For the Table” menu; and

salt crusted dorade

salt crusted dorade

orzo

orzo

Elysian Fields Farm Lamb (sweet pepper stew and Anson Mills grits), also from the “For the Table” menu

elysian fields farm lamb

elysian fields farm lamb

grits

grits

Desserts (with no photos) were:

Sticky Toffee Pudding (with Meyer lemon marmalade, fig membrillo butterscotch, and Earl Grey ice cream); and

Valrhona Guanaja Custard Cake (with pecan nduja, espelette caramel, pralines ‘n’ cream ice cream).  (This was wonderfully decadent, and I’m not even that fond of chocolate!)

The food was fabulous (as expected with Eric at the helm). Service was very good, but the timing of the kitchen is still a bit off. We had a lengthy wait between the time we placed our order and the time the appetizers came out. In addition, if you want the Kinship Roast Chicken, it’s an hour wait, so if you know you want it, then place the order when you sit down. There is also a wait for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Souffle so order it with the main meal if it’s your dessert of choice. That being said, we expect these kinks to be ironed out with time.

The space is very interesting—it’s spare and minimalist. There are a couple of alcoves with tables, and these are definitely the best seats for both sound and comfort.

And, finally, a disclosure: we are very minor investors in Kinship.

Kinship is located at 1015 7th St, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (www.kinshipdc.com).