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Kinship and more

Kinship and more
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    Post #1 - April 9th, 2018, 6:36 pm
    Post #1 - April 9th, 2018, 6:36 pm Post #1 - April 9th, 2018, 6:36 pm
    For Saturday night date night, Moetchandon and I made our first visit to Kinship, a relatively new restaurant in the former LYFE Kitchen space (and prior to that, the rotunda for Chase Bank, Bank One, etc.)

    We were surprisingly impressed. Other than somewhat slow service from our waitperson, Natasha (undoubtedly she was kanoodling with Boris in the back), everything we tried from the relatively small menu was well thought out and executed.

    For starters, she had the scallop shooter; one chicken-fried scallop, over house-made fennel slaw garnished with something red. Her comment … it might have been easier to eat if it were served on an Asian soup spoon, rather than the elaborate plate.
    Scallop.JPG Chicken-Fried Scallop Shooter


    I had the smoked trout dip with house-made tender, thin crisp crackers. The smoke flavor was on the light side, but worked well, and the crackers were good enough that we had to take a few home.
    SmokedTrout.JPG Smoked Trout Dip


    For mains (or “Plates,” as the menu calls them), Moetchandon had the Kinship Burger — basic, but well executed. Beef was sourced from Halperns’, and topped with duck fat-roasted onions, shallot mayo, and American cheese, on a brioche bun, served with fries.
    Burger.JPG Kinship Burger


    Mine was the Harissa lamb shank with duck-fat braised lentils. The lentils were an excellent compliment to the flavor of the lamb, rubbed with preserved lemon, oregano and za’atar.
    LambShank.JPG Harissa Lamb Shank


    Although the beer list was respectable, we went with a bottle of merlot from the not-inexpensive wine list.

    Many of the other menu offerings continued the theme of not-particularly-unusual ingredients combined in unexpected, creative ways. Other than the wine list, prices were reasonable, and the room was conversation-friendly (especially because it’s segmented into a number of small dinning areas, some separated with heavy, noise-absorbing curtains). It’d be great to go back with a group, for ordering power to sample more of the menu. (Unfortunately, it’s not open for lunch, otherwise the Evanston Lunch Group™ would be there soon. Its sister restaurant, Next of Kin, is open for lunch, but its focus is on carryout for breakfast and lunch, with limited seating.)

    As a nightcap, we went across the street to Whiskey Thief. Normally, we’re not big fans of bars lined with television screens showing all sorts of sports, but this night, we were able to avoid paying attention to them. I had a bourbon flight — three one ounce pours of Larceny, Blaum Bros. Knotter Bourbon, and Two James Johnny Smoking Gun. Interesting to compare and contrast. The flight came with a small eyedropper to add water to open up each of the pours — a welcome addition.
    WhiskeyFlight.JPG Whiskey Flight


    In addition, I had an Old Fashioned, which they make with Rittenhouse Rye, spiced maple syrup, ancho chile liquor, and Peychaud bitters.

    All this is in contrast to last week’s visit to another relatively new venue, Bourbon & Brass Speakeasy. It’s an attractive space — you enter through a door that looks like a bookcase, into a long, narrow room with eclectic furnishing, reminiscent of Found Kitchen & Social House, a few blocks away. Unfortunately, service and staff were lackluster. When we ordered a few items off the menu they gave us, we were told some weren’t available, because it was an out-of-date menu (then why did you give it to us?) Ordering drinks at the bar took two or three trips, because each of the bartenders apparently assumed the other was making our drinks. Compared to Whiskey Thief, the available spirits were more limited. More importantly, the staff seemed disinterested in serving customers, and doing the minimum to get by. (Finally, in a personal peeve, the jazz quartet, which was doing standards, introduced a number from Earl Hines. Everyone who knows his stuff knows he went by Earl “Fatha” Hines. These guys didn’t know Fatha.)

    Kinship
    625 Davis St
    Evanston, IL

    Whiskey Thief Tavern
    616 Davis St
    Evanston, IL

    Bourbon & Brass Speakeasy
    (Upstairs at Evanston Rocks!)
    1012 Church St
    
Evanston, IL
  • Post #2 - April 9th, 2018, 10:13 pm
    Post #2 - April 9th, 2018, 10:13 pm Post #2 - April 9th, 2018, 10:13 pm
    We ate at Kinship for their Easter brunch. I didn't post about it because it was a special event for the holiday, an all-you-can-eat buffet rather than their regular menu. Overall, it was excellent, with many of the dishes of higher quality and creativity than you would expect from a brunch buffet. We enjoyed it, and left there wishing to return in the near future to check out the dinner menu.
  • Post #3 - April 10th, 2018, 7:37 am
    Post #3 - April 10th, 2018, 7:37 am Post #3 - April 10th, 2018, 7:37 am
    We've been a few times for dinner; have yet to try brunch. We covered much of the menu in 3 visits. Love the curry bowl, the lamb shank, the lamb burger, the lobster pasta.... The menu is small-ish but well-executed and delicious.
  • Post #4 - May 13th, 2018, 5:01 pm
    Post #4 - May 13th, 2018, 5:01 pm Post #4 - May 13th, 2018, 5:01 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:We ate at Kinship for their Easter brunch. ... it was a special event for the holiday, an all-you-can-eat buffet rather than their regular menu.

    Just completed the Mother's Day version of this. Perhaps you went at an earlier time (our reservation was 2pm; my mom made it not knowing it'd be a brunch buffet, but she enjoyed the meal), as I was somewhat let down.

    Everyone who tried bagels w/ lox said the bagels were stale. The biscuits were rock hard, slightly better after they warmed it up. The croissant I found was by far the best bread option.

    Their breakfast potatoes (homestyle fries) and grits were good. The salmon baked under a sheet of paper was well flavored and textured too. Shrimp etouffee was a little boring, one note flavor and texture.

    The cold bar of tortellini salad, sesame noodles, quinoa, orzo (by label only, really acini de pepe), kale salad, Caesar-esque, and garden salad were each ordinary-at-best and forgettable.

    Carved roast beef was available, as was an omelette bar, neither of which I tried. Fried chicken, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage also offered.

    Problem was not so much selection, as it was most things tasting the same, nothing very inspiring.

    Service was very good. Not a bad value at $40 (soft drinks included, glass of Rose for women/moms), but I am looking forward to ordering off the dinner menu to really see what this place has to offer. If it's more of the same, I'll be an infrequent customer at best.
  • Post #5 - May 13th, 2018, 5:10 pm
    Post #5 - May 13th, 2018, 5:10 pm Post #5 - May 13th, 2018, 5:10 pm
    bweiny wrote:Perhaps you went at an earlier time (our reservation was 2pm; my mom made it not knowing it'd be a brunch buffet, but she enjoyed the meal), as I was somewhat let down.

    We were in the middle of the rush, not particularly early or late. Most of the things we had were very good, notably the avocado toast. The desserts were especially outstanding, a fine way to finish an enjoyable meal. The bacon was not so great (underdone), and another odd note was that the menu offered one or two items (e.g. monkey bread) at extra cost on top of the comprehensive all-you-can-eat buffet. All in all, though, it was a very nice brunch, and at a fair price too.
  • Post #6 - May 13th, 2018, 5:51 pm
    Post #6 - May 13th, 2018, 5:51 pm Post #6 - May 13th, 2018, 5:51 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:another odd note was that the menu offered one or two items (e.g. monkey bread) at extra cost on top of the comprehensive all-you-can-eat buffet.

    I did notice monkey bread and one other item listed as available a la carte at the bottom of the last page of the drink menu. I didn't give it much thought, maybe they're signature made-to-order dishes that would be too wasteful to put out, but too unique/memorable to be made unavailable for a large holiday crowd.

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