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Highly anticipated Eric Ziebold restaurant Kinship opens its D.C. doors

PHOTO: Interior of Kinship courtesy of Kinship

There are those who have loved French Laundry and Per Se who claim their “decline” began when Executive Chef Eric Ziebold was wooed from Thomas Keller’s famous kitchen(s), in early 2004, to helm the now closed CityZen Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Washington. I, for one, concur (though the scorching Pete Wells review neatly encapsulated what some of us have been feeling about Per Se's decline). Per Se was never the same after Chef Ziebold left, and when Ziebold decided to finally open his own restaurant last year it felt as if the hotel decided it was easier to close the restaurant than to try and find a replacement for him.

With a storied reputation such as this, the expectations for the newly opened Kinship, owned by Eric Ziebold and his gorgeous French wife Célia Laurent, were sky high and judging by the near sells-out in the intimate space D.C. adores Kinship already.

Located at 1015 Seventh Street, NW, in the hot D.C. neighborhood Mt. Vernon/Shaw, Kinship -- so named because of the historical significance of the location and their philosophy on the dining experience they want to offer -- feels more like an antiquated, restored American farmhouse belonging to a couple who love art rather than a traditional D.C. restaurant.

Ziebold states “The way we (Ziebold and Laurent) look at dining is that it brings family and friends together to enjoy a shared experience, which creates lasting memories. We want to emphasize that dinner brings people together.”

PHOTO: Executive Chef Eric Ziebold courtesy of Kinship

The atmosphere of bringing people together begins with the elegant and intimate space. Upon entering through the discretely unassuming façade, guests are immediately struck by the symbiosis of modern architecture and mood lighting. Likewise, guests can be seated at the bar, with its articulating library lamps and pyramidal light shafts sets a cozy feel. Ask for one of the three booths with full-height, whitewashed partitions turning each into a room unto itself.

For those staying for a more traditional seated dinner experience, the 50 person dining room is a juxtaposition of the classical and the modern, with a tubular lighting in a free formation spread about the room as if a constellation. The palette is a muted gray texture play, punctuated with hits of inky brown and hickory. Dinner guests should also experience pre-dinner drink service in an anti-chamber with a fireplace and integrated seating.

As for the food itself, Ziebold has crafted a Modern American menu where guests can select dishes à la carte from five distinct categories: craft, history, ingredients, indulgence and For the Table. Within the categories there are subcategories of first course, fish, meat, vegetarian and dessert.

PHOTO: Lobster French Toast courtesy of Kinship

Within the “Ingredients” section, Ziebold will features dishes that celebrate the beauty of a single ingredient – for example, a soft shell crab, a Spring asparagus, a heirloom tomato. The “Craft” section showcases dishes that are intimately woven with great culinary technique – for instance, a Gratin Dauphinois or a dish of Tuna Tataki. The “History” section revolves around dishes that have an important culinary historic heritage, such as a Brunswick Stew, Poule au Pot or a Carbonara. Lastly, the “Indulgence” section focuses on luxurious ingredients, such as truffles, Japanese Kuroge beef (yes please!), caviar, lobster and other such delicacies.

Additionally, a separate menu section, “For the Table”, gives a nod to the American steakhouse, featuring larger format entrees with offerings such as whole-roasted farm-raised chicken with a garlic-lemon panade or a salt-crusted 20-ounce Shenandoah Valley New York strip steak.

PHOTO: Roasted Chicken En Panade courtesy of Kinship

For oenophiles, a carefully curated wine menu, from the world’s major viticultural regions with a focus on US and French selections, highlights a collection of wines in various formats including older wines as well as wines from small producers released in limited quantities.

I am looking forward to reviewing the restaurant next week and will be sure to share my first thoughts then!

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