Kinship, Mount Vernon Square: The First Six Months of 2016

Between January and June, I went to Kinship fourteen times, and developed a strong sense of how the menu changed to reflect the seasons (primarily), and the creative mind of the chef (secondarily). It would be fruitless to recount each course from each meal, so I instead wish to convey a “sense” of Kinship, from a diner’s perspective. Having gathered fourteen menus, I had absolutely *no* idea as to the correct order of them, and literally spent hours (multiple hours) piecing together my meals via the menus, subtle changes on the menus, a few receipts, and my credit card bills (I had no intention of coming here so many times, but it just kept calling me back, and got voted for a member-requested review, so I was left with everything in disarray, starting from next-to zero). On June 16th, I had my final meal in a restaurant for the summer – I’m taking three months off – no restaurants, no alcohol, only trace carbohydrates except sweet potatoes – and my next meal at a restaurant will be on September 18th, before I embark on a surgical strike of the many restaurants that I have forsaken of late: I have quite a bit of catching up to do, and catch up I will, hopefully writing two reviews per week until I’m satisfied that I have regained the mastery of DC restaurants that I have now temporarily lost, or at least misplaced. One will be decided by vote; the other decided on by me, based on the many restaurants I have neglected recently.

I hope it says something that for the first six months of 2016, I could have gone anywhere I wanted to for dinner; yet, I chose to dine at Kinship 14 times, without an expense account, using my own money, and I wasn’t going to say anything about it to anybody. I had no intention of reviewing the restaurant (in fact, Eric specifically requested that I take the time I’d normally spend writing a review, and come back in for a nice meal instead). It also says quite a bit that I was able to piece together the menus in the correct order (at least, I *think* they’re in the correct order), based almost entirely on small changes between the seasons. For example, when White Alban Truffles came off, Black Perigord Truffles went on. When Whole Roasted Turbot came off, whole roasted Dover sole went on. It is from these tiny changes that I was able to sleuth my way back into some semblance of order, and I’m now comfortable that I have my meals correct (or close to being correct) – all without taking any notes, or getting any help from the restaurant. The seasonality of Kinship is remarkable.

While I’m not going to dote on each drink and each course, I will say that Kinship is on the fast track to becoming the most important restaurant Washington, DC has ever known. I say this having never set foot in Métier: You’re getting Cityzen-level cuisine from a hell-bent, driven genius who, this time around, has an equity stake in the restaurant. And you can walk in wearing a decent pair of jeans if you wish, and feel just as welcome as if you were dressed in black tie. Most people think Eric and Celia only have one child; I’ve witnessed first-hand that they have two. I won’t embarrass Eric and Celia by making any grand proclamations (although I suppose I just did), but I will say that this is where I choose to dine when I’m not running all over town and country reviewing meals.

I apologize for the rough notes, and I’ll be happy to fill in any questions – I thought it was more important to produce *something* than nothing at all, and this should be considered a historical document; not a review. I will fill in the rest of it later; right now, I’m too damn tired, and I’m just going to put it up in first-draft form.

1) 1/13 $242.60

Half-Bottle of Delamotte Champagne ($60), Torchon of White Mushrooms, Maine Lobster French Toast, Path Valley Farms Sunchokes, Kinship Roast Chicken, Sticky Toffee Pudding, 2 Decaf Coffees ($4) with Toffee

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2) 1/17 $112.40

Small Bottle Sparkling Water ($5), Gimlet with Hayman Old Tom ($12), Oeuf à la Brick au Thon, Hungarian Sauerkraut, 1 Glass 2014 Jean-Paul Brun L’Ancien Beaujolais ($14) + 1/2 Glass ($6), Coffee ($4) with Toffee

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3) 1/29 $149.50

I’ll figure this out later.

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4) 2/05 $145.50

Kinship Spritz ($6) with Cocchi Americano, Dolin Blanc, and Blanc de Blancs Sparkling, a glass of 2014 Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais “L’Ancien” ($11), 12-Ounce Martin Ranch Dry-Aged Ribeye, a fuller-bodied red for the second part of the steak, a glass of 2014 Phillipe Plantevin Côtes du Rhone “Le Pérussier” ($9), Decaf Coffee ($4) with Toffee, which I took home, since I got an order of Valrhona Guanaja Custard Cake

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5) 2/12 $129.50

1 Glass Chateau Monfort ($12), Fairytale Pumpkin Salad, Warm Smoked Pavé of Salmon, Ruby Red Grapefruit Terrine, 1 Glass Guirauton ($9), Double Order of Sunchokes To-Go (a man must have lunch the following day)

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6) 3/10 $101.70

1 Glass Trienne Rosé ($10), Takenoko Tempura, Chesapeake Bay Rockfish, 1 Glass 2011 Tyler Bien Nacido Chardonnay ($20)

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7) 3/15 $164.60

Sicilian Spritz ($6) with Salted Blood Orange Cordial, Grapefruit, Club Soda, and Lime, The Bee Sting ($6) with Coffee-Infused Honey Syrup, Ginger Beer, and Lemon, Torchon of White Mushroom, Scallop Navarin, Maine Lobster French Toast, Double Creek Farm Rabbit, Black Rock Orchard Apple Confit, Decaf Coffee with Toffee, and a second Sicilian Spritz

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8) 3/25 $144.40

Baby Beet Pot au Feu, Grilled Japanese Kuroge Beef

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9) 4/2 $142.70

A glass of Francois Dilligent Champagne ($18), Maine Sea Urchin, Duck Ballotine, a glass of *perfectly aged* Littorai Pinot Noir – it might have been a 2000 “Thierrot Vineyard,” but this was fully mature (more mature than you’d expect from a 2000), and truly special to the point of being profound in its clarity ($35), Kinship Ambrosia

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10) 4/17 $218.80

Bottle of Jean-Claude Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé ($55), Goat Cheese Bavarois, Scallop Navarin, Herb-Roasted Bounty Hill Farm Rabbit, Rhubarb Clafoutis, and a glass of the 2014 Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais “L’Ancien”

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11) 4/19 $179.80

Bottle 2014 Gilbert Picq & ses Fils Chablis ($48), Takenoko Tempura, Louisiana Crayfish Panna Cotta, Petit Pois à la Française, Warm Pavé of Skuna Bay Salmon, 2 Decaf Coffee ($8) with Toffee

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12) 4/23 $54.40 (Discounted Check, $50 Tip + Cash left for staff)

Torchon of White Mushrooms, Tongue Salmis, Goat Cheese Bavarois, Mango Crème Choux, Glass Sparkling Rosé, Glass Dessert Wine, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Soufflé, Coffee ($4) with Toffee (to go – was gone later that evening)

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13) 5/8 134.70

Wolfhound ($14), Sorrel & Butterhead Lettuce Salad, Warm French White Asparagus, Glass Domaine Pichot ($12), Valrhona Custard Cake, Glass Raventos ($14)

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14) 6/16 $183.60

Island Time, Garden Party, Chick Pea Falafel, Chesapeake Bay Softshell Crab, Roast Chicken, a second Island Time and Garden Party, and Whipped Chocolate Nougat

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