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Kinkead's, 1995 James Beard Award winner Bob Kinkead on 20th and Penn - Closed

Downtown Brasserie Seafood Raw Bar Closed

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#1 Banco

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 07:59 AM

I'd be interested to hear more about Kinkead's from those of you who have visited recently. Of course, it's a Washington institution and therefore hardly obscure, but it's one of those places one seldom reads about on this site or elsewhere. I've had oysters, drinks, and entrees at the bar recently. Everything was good--especially the oysters--but I remember being wowed by this kitchen's cuisine in the past; now the menu as a whole seems a bit tired. Is it just me?

#2 Audrey2025

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 01:18 PM

I've been there three times, all for lunch, the last time during Summer 2005 Restaurant Week. (Which I know is not as "legit" as a normal-season visit.)

Hits: The pistachio-crusted salmon with fried fennel. In a word, "Yum." Very, very good. The oso buco ravioli (maybe just a RW dish) was flavorful and served at the perfect temperature-and also not too soft. The chocolate-hazlenut dacquoise, beautifully presented with gold leaf, actually TASTED as good as it looked. Creamy, not too sweet, high-grade chocolate.

Adequate: The atmosphere, the service, the clam chowder (I was expecting to be blown away, but it was a bit watery and forgettable.) The crab and shrimp papusa--where was the crab? I couldn't find it...though the shrimp was delectable.

Misses: The dry, rock-hard bread! It was inedible. A shame that this is a first impression of the restaurant.

I'll visit again, I'm sure, but hopefully on my boss's dime and not my own.

#3 ScotteeM

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:46 PM

This afternoon I'll be checking myself into an asylum:  I just spent five minutes at Kinkead's website with the speakers turned on.

Dude, Mute! :lol:

I spent 30 seconds there just now with the sound on, and I had to leave. I usually leave my speakers off and I mostly don't miss much.

Kinkead's website is not the most user-friendly, even with the sound turned off. Try printing the menus--I dare you!

Dona Animella


#4 Nadya

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 09:28 AM

On the food side, I had dinner there last Friday and my starter of pumpkin raviolis was effing amazing and made me want to lap up the sauce from the plate.

Edited by Nadya, 25 October 2005 - 11:52 AM.

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#5 Mark Slater

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 09:59 AM

I had dinner there last night and was quite pleased. There is a new chef in charge - Jeffrey Gaetjen, from Colvin Run Tavern. The starter of fried Ipswitch clams was perfect. I had a big platter of raw things to begin and an excellent cod topped with crab imperial for the main course. No one at the table could manage dessert.

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#6 DonRocks

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 10:01 AM

I had dinner there last night and was quite pleased. There is a new chef in charge - Jeffrey Gaetjen, from Colvin Run Tavern. The starter of fried Ipswitch clams was perfect. I had a big platter of raw things to begin and an excellent cod topped with crab imperial for the main course. No one at the table could manage dessert.

Hey, wait a minute: I had dinner there last night. Where were you?

Okay, to stay on-topic and add substance: Scandinavian Salmon Stew with Mushrooms, Bacon and a Dill Cracker was bountiful and cheap, with lots of salmon chunks (the gray layer of fat left on), mushrooms and potatoes in a creamy broth. It was a meal in itself, and very salty. The Chile Seared Red Snapper with a Sweet Potato Tamale, Corn Ragout, Guacamole, and Tomatillo Salsa on a Green Chile Butter sauce was overcooked, and every bit as busy as it sounded, but really pretty pleasant. The food here is good, but not elegant or fine - very satisfying in a hamfisted way. A 2003 La Laidiere Bandol Blanc was seductive at $41, but not much more than a meager little table wine that really didn't stand up to the heaviness of the preparations.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#7 Meaghan

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 10:34 AM

I like Kinkead's. There I said it.

#8 Banco

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 11:49 AM

The food here is good, but not elegant or fine - very satisfying in a hamfisted way.

That's been my experience recently at Kinkead's as well, though a plate of oysters at the bar is always nice, and the service is excellent. I think Kinkead's is a symbol of the amazing growth and improvement of Washington's restaurant scene in the past ten years. It's not that Kinkead's has slipped dramatically; it's that there are so many better options in the city now at that price level.

Edited by Banco, 25 October 2005 - 11:50 AM.


#9 Heather

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:05 PM

Hey, wait a minute:  I had dinner there last night.  Where were you?

Okay, to stay on-topic and add substance:  Scandinavian Salmon Stew with Mushrooms, Bacon and a Dill Cracker was bountiful and cheap, with lots of salmon chunks (the gray layer of fat left on), mushrooms and potatoes in a creamy broth.  It was a meal in itself, and very salty.

That sounds good. I may try to repicate this at home. Rocks, do you think it was the bacon that made it so salty, or just a heavy hand in the kitchen? And what was the seasoning?

#10 DonRocks

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:15 PM

That sounds good.  I may try to repicate this at home.  Rocks, do you think it was the bacon that made it so salty, or just a heavy hand in the kitchen?  And what was the seasoning?

It was good, and well-priced at $11. That sounds expensive, but it was a big bowl with a lot of salmon in it. The salt seemed mostly from the bacon (thick and salty little bits), but there was probably some sodium in the broth too. Not much if any overt seasoning - it was quite mild. The dill cracker was on top and I mushed it up in the broth, which seemed similar to what you'd get in a New England chowder. Think: salmon chowder with mushrooms in it, and you can visualize the dish.

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#11 Scott Johnston

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:43 PM

I had lunch there today. I love Kinkead's!

The bread basket is great. I am not sure if they prepare this in house, but I love the different choices they have.

I ordered the fish and chips. The fish was perfect, fried crisp, but moist inside. a tartar sauce, and malt vinegar was served along side of it. the fries were fantastic and (with a splast of the malt vinegar) a perfect accompliment. The cole slaw was good, certainly made in house, but could have used some more seasonings.

My dining compaion had the Seafood chowder and a crab cake.

The service, as usual was superb.
No more wafer thin mints for me!!!!

#12 DonRocks

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:55 PM

The bread basket is great. I am not sure if they prepare this in house, but I love the different choices they have.

Last night there were two breads: the dinner rolls were from Breadline (the same ones they serve at Restaurant Eve), and the soda bread was baked in-house.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#13 frogprince

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 09:11 PM

(psst: if you go right around 11:40, the irish soda bread is just coming out of the oven. its gooood. so good, one may want to go off and read ulysses after eating. )

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#14 DonRocks

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 04:44 PM

As long as Vidalia and Obelisk are getting some recent attention as possibly being on the upswing, I'll add that I've been to Kinkead's twice in the past month and have had good meals both times, once at the bar, and once in the atrium of all places. For the past couple of months, Jeff Gaetjen has been running the show at Kinkead's to 'shore up operations' - it appears to be paying off. Goes to show one thing: as long as things aren't fundamentally flawed to begin with, improvements can be made in a matter of weeks or months. (On the other hand, the loss of one key person can result in overnight slippage, depending on the setup.)

Cheers,
Rocks.

P.S. And there's another important restaurant perhaps making a comeback, too... more later...

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#15 dinwiddie

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:55 AM

My son and I took my wife to dinner at Kinkead's for her birthday last night. The only complaint was that the restaurant was ungodly warm, but since the weather was warm, and the restaurant is in a small mall and has no control of the heat or air conditioning, I cannot blame the restaurant for that. They were very apologetic and had done their best to keep the air circullating with fans.

Diner was wonderful. My wife started with the fried Ipswitch clams with the house made tartar sauce. They were excellent, a large portion, perfectly fried, with a very tasty tartar sauce. For her entree she had the mushroom and brik dough wraped Rockvish with mushroom raviolis, salsify, and baby green beans with Porcini vinagrette. She loved it. The ravioli was delish, and the rockfish was perfectly cooked, the wrapping flaky and light. The mushroom sauce was wonderful.

My son and I started with a dozen raw oysters, 4 each of the Malaspina, Hood Canal, and Duck Island. They were all plump, fresh, and cold. Excellent. My son had the grilled whole shripm in a saffron lobster consomme with crab, mussels, and basil. He loved the seafood, but thought the cosomme was a bit bland and uninteresting. For his entree he had the Chili rubbed grilled Mahi Mahi with sweet potato tamale, corn ragout, and Guacamole and Tomatillo salso on a green chile butter sauce. He ate it all quickly and was looking for bites of our dinners.

I started with the signature appetizer, the wood grilled squid with creamy polenta, tomato fondue and Pesto. It was, as usual, out of this world. A huge portion of squid, perfectly grilled and covered with a delish Pesto. The polenta was creamy and rich and the tomato fondue the perfect counterpoint. For my entree I had the Pepper seared rare tuna with flageolets, grilled protabello mushrooms and a Pinot Noir sauce. The tuna was perfectly seared, fresh and wonderful. The pepper curst was wonderfuly biting but not overpowering. The portabellos were meaty and tender and full of flavor.

We all had desserts, three scoops of passion fruit sorbet for me, a vanilla rum mousse for my son, and a scoop of passonfruit, rasberry, and mango sorbets for my wife. Dinner ended with coffee for us and an espresso for the boy.

For wine we ordered a 2003 Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chard from the Reserve list. At $97 I thought it fairly priced. This is a fantastic wine and I am glad I have a couple of bottles on order for my cellar.

Service was excellent, friendly and very discrete. They kept us plied with the wonderful breads (the warm sourdough rolls were excellent) and our waterglasses full. We were never rushed and never had to wait.

All in all, except for the heat, it was a fantastic meal.

#16 RaisaB

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:16 AM

We went to Kinkead's for brunch yesterday. My kid's ordered the non-seafood options. Apple pancakes with sage sausage for one, filet with egss and a mushroom sauce for the other. These were executed beautifully. I had the Lobster and Shrimp curried bisque.It had big old chunks of lobsters and about a half dozen shrimp swimming in it. I also had their crabcake, which was so so good. Hub had the lobster roll. It was good but I have never really cared for lobster rolls.
I have never ever had a bad meal at Kinkeads. It continues to be one of my favorite restaurants.
BTW when we were there the temperature was fine.

#17 dinwiddie

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:35 AM

We went to Kinkead's for brunch yesterday. BTW when we were there the temperature was fine.

I think that having the whole day of warm weather to build it up, and especially once the dining room started to fill up, was the reason for the heat. It put a damper on an otherwise wonderful evening and great meal.

#18 Joe H

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:05 PM

I've long liked Kinkead's. There may have been some inconsistency when Colvin Run started but our last three or four visits have been exemplery. I also agree about their wine list-it is excellent and well researched.

#19 dinwiddie

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 08:54 AM

I've long liked Kinkead's.  There may have been some inconsistency when Colvin Run started but our last three or four visits have been exemplery.  I also agree about their wine list-it is excellent and well researched.

Yes their wine list is excellent. I did not have to buy from the Reserve list to get a very good bottle of wine, but when I saw the Ramey there, I couldn't resist. There are many good bottles on the list in the $30-40 range. The list is quite extensive and matchs well with the food. I will say however, that as good as the Reserve list is, there are many reds on the list that I think would just overpower anything on the menu. But golly gee willikers, there are some awesome bottles on that reserve list, at a reasonable price too.

#20 Audrey2025

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 11:10 AM

Now I'm jealous, because every time I go to Kinkead's, I'm on the company dime, so no wine for me.

On my last visit, I had the lobster roll, which Sietsema always suggests; it was very good, but I missed the crab cake.

I split the coffee-themed dessert with my co-worker, and it was amazing. Everything at Kinkead's (especially dessert) is always beautifully presented.

And now I'm sad, because I'm having a Slim-Fast for lunch today. Sigh.

#21 ScotteeM

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 12:59 PM

Mr. S and I have long loved Kinkead's. When we realized that we hadn't been there in about a year, we headed there last Saturday (March 18) for an early dinner.

We started with a dozen oysters. The price has jumped, but the quality of the bivalves made them priceworthy. We enjoyed Malaspinci (British Columbia), Hood Canal (Washington), and Duck Island (Long Island), in equal quantities. They were all plump, meaty and fresh tasting. As expected, the west coast oysters were sweeter, and the Long Island oysters were brinier.

Mr. S enjoyed grilled whole shrimp in a nice broth, while I luxuriated in a plate of tuna carpaccio, covered with baby arugula, shaved fennel, toasted pine nuts, and raisins with a delicate vinaigrette. Yum!

Mr. S then had Rockfish with mushrooms, mushrooms, and more mushrooms. There were two delicate wild mushroom ravioli, sauteed mushrooms, and a wonderful mushroom sauce. The flavoring was rich and strong in a good way.

My entree was the black back flounder with baby artichokes & potatoes, tasso ham, crayfish, crab and thyme sauce. The flounder filet was coated with corn meal and perfectly fried. The topping was very flavorful, but I don't remember the sauce. It was there, but I don't recall what it tasted like. I think it was drowned out by the ingredients. I loved the dish, but eating the full portion felt overwhelming. I think I would have been happy with half as much.

This has always been my dilemma at Kinkead's: I find the entrees tasty but overwhelming--too much of a good thing. I often resort to ordering several appetizers, and maybe a salad, instead of an entree. I've learned to make a wide berth around any dish containing applewood smoked bacon, as I find the flavor completely overwhelms my tastebuds and I lose the flavor of anything else in the dish. I would happily order half-plates of entrees, if they were offered.

For dessert, I had a plate of three house-made sorbets, and they were all delicious. I honestly don't remember what Mr. S had--I'll try to ask him and add it later.

I want to go back soon, though, because I missed having my all-time favorite, the grilled squid appetizer. I'd also love to have the Ipswich clams again, but that is definitely a dish I have to share with other diners!

Mr. S and I have also enjoyed the Grand Selection, which is a large platter of oysters, clams, crab claws, and steamed lobster--plenty for two or three people to share, supplemented by appetizers, salads, and/or side dishes. Just be sure to ask for two little bowls of drawn butter, or you'll be passing the one that comes with it back and forth throughout the meal.

Dona Animella


#22 edstaut

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:17 PM

Do they have any kind of bar menu?

Best,
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#23 Joe H

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:26 PM

Kinkead's is as good of a restaurant as you will find anywhere to have dinner at the bar: everything is available. And, at any time, a dozen or more people will be having dinner there. My wife and I go every several months without a reservation and enjoy having dinner at their bar. The dining room surrounding it is also first come, first serve.

This is an outstanding restaurant, a James Beard award winner, that does not receive nearly as much attention on this board as it deserves.

#24 ScotteeM

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 07:24 PM

Ed,

I've never eaten at the bar, but as Joe H said, you can order from the regular menu at the bar. They also have a raw bar menu, if you like that sort of thing (I do!).

Check out the website (but turn off your speakers first). Clickety and then click on the Kinkead's icon at the bottom of the page that comes up to get from Colvin Run to Kinkead's. The menu is a pain to read, but it will give you an idea.

Dona Animella


#25 ScotteeM

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 06:06 PM

Somehow I had the idea that Kinkead's was a good place to have lunch or brunch on the weekends. I don't know where I got that notion, but I've had it for a long time, and today Mr. S and I arrived at 12:30 for our lunch reservation.

The place was nearly deserted. That was probably a good thing, because the 3-person kitchen staff didn't look like they could handle more than a handful of diners.

The menu offered 3 appetizers from the dinner menu (at dinner prices), 3 entrees, and 4-5 brunch offerings, as well as the normal raw offerings. We started with a half-dozen oysters, which were plump and sweet and briny, and very fresh. I didn't take notes, but two of the three varieties were Sammish Bay and Battle Point.

Next we split the grilled squid appetizer, which is one of my favorites. The plating was a little different than usual--instead of the rings being pressed together, slightly flattened, with evidence of the skewer that held them over the coals, these were wide open, with no skewer holes. The plate was warmer than the squid. Otherwise, it tasted fine, if not as smokey as usual.

I chose "Eggs Hussarde" as my main. It was described as poached eggs on grilled steak with chanterelle mushrooms and Bernaise sauce. Sure enough, two poached eggs, coated in a little Bernaise, sat atop two thin slices of overcooked steak (the server didn't ask and I didn't think to specify rare, and it was cooked medium), set on two pieces of toast with slices of tomato between the toast and the steak. Instead of chanterelle mushrooms, the plate was covered in a sauteed mixture of diced eggplant, peppers, onions and zucchini, which completely obliterated the fragile flavor of the Bernaise. I asked the server if the chanterelle mushrooms were in that mixture and he said yes (but they weren't). I didn't send it back, because I wasn't really sure that I was right, and it had taken so long to get our food. But it was not at all up to the standards I'm used to for dinners at Kinkead's.

Mr. S had the fish and chips, and pronounced it delicious. The fish was perfectly coated and fried, and the "chips" were crisp and non-greasy. The house-made slaw and tartar sauce were very fresh and tasty. But at $18, it was certainly no bargain.

With one beer and one glass of pinot grigio, plus tax and tip, we were out of there for just under $100--kind of breathtaking for Sunday brunch, IMO.

I'm sorry I had such a good view of the kitchen today. One of the three people working was behind the line having his own lunch or breakfast, the other was using a large knife to section a lemon or lime in such a way that I expected to see blood spurting any second. And I really hope the gentleman plating and delivering the food had washed his hands before he used them to arrange the food. I watched one plate--a lobster roll (at $25) sit under the lamps for at least 10 minutes before it was delivered to another table.

Dona Animella


#26 Joe H

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 07:45 PM

Wow! Really, really interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

#27 Meaghan

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 09:41 PM

I'm sorry I had such a good view of the kitchen today.  One of the three people working was behind the line having his own lunch or breakfast, the other was using a large knife to section a lemon or lime in such a way that I expected to see blood spurting any second.

I've eaten there over and over again, but only at the bar and not in months. Oddly, I've never ventured upstairs. I'm peasant-like and Irish; I hover around the bread station near the bathrooms, looking for more soda bread. So, I'm assuming there's an open kitchen upstairs for you to have made these observations.

#28 ScotteeM

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 09:52 PM

So, I'm assuming there's an open kitchen upstairs for you to have made these observations.

Yep.

And that hasn't been my observation during dinners when I've had a view of the kitchen (about every time).

Dona Animella


#29 The Hersch

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 04:24 PM

I believe this is the post that will confer ventwormhood upon me.

I hadn't been to Kinkead's in a couple of years, and had never eaten lunch there, or eaten at the bar. Today I had lunch at the bar, and I must say it was a less than stellar experience, especially considering the cost. I ordered the 6 oyster sampler, fish & chips, and a glass of wine. The place wasn't particularly busy, although it was far from empty, but my oysters took a full fifteen minutes to arrive, which seems a bit long. The oysters themselves were lovely, but they were inexpertly shucked: each mouthful had broken shell in it, and the oyster bodies had not been cut from the shell. At $14, that isn't good enough. The fish of the fish & chips was excellent, all it should be. The batter-coating was puffy and crisp and light, and the fish itself was perfectly fresh and perfectly cooked. The cole slaw was pretty good as cole slaw goes. The fries were way over-fried and suprisingly over-salted, given how salty I like fries to be. Had the fries been perfect, this would have been a pretty good deal for $18. All in all, a minor disappointment, but a disappointment.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#30 The Hersch

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 03:06 PM

Lunch at the bar again today. Six littlenecks perfectly shucked. Fried clams as good as any I've ever had, sent over the top by a tartar sauce so luscious I was tempted to use the cliché "decadent". No air-conditioning to speak of, so at least there's something to complain about.

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Who taught my grief to thee?


#31 The Hersch

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:20 PM

I seem to be flying solo here. I started a new job at the beginning of May in Foggy Bottom, and have become something of a regular at Kinkead's, which is rather taxing to my pocket book. But Kinkead's is very good, despite my complaint above. Last week I had a chilled asparagus soup that was probably the best asparagus dish I have ever had in my life, and at $9 for a generous serving it wasn't even expensive. Although when you add in the fried clams and the glass of wine and the tax and the tip, lunch pushes $50. But he soup itself was a luscious bargain...silky, smooth, deeply asparagus-y, and the most gorgeous color. A work of art. Today I had the salad nicoise, which was a not very traditional take on this dish, but very nice indeed, and not terribly expensive at $20 (or was it $21?). The bread basket they give you is terrific; I don't know the source of their breads, but they're excellent. And they have the lovely, strangely named 1+1+1=3 Spanish rose, for an almost moderate $8.95 a glass. The bartender takes good care of me, and I am happy when I go there. I may go on spending $40-50 for lunch once a week till kingdom come.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#32 DonRocks

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:27 PM

Today I had the salad nicoise, which was a not very traditional take on this dish, but very nice indeed, and not terribly expensive at $20 (or was it $21?).

A lunchtime nicoise north of $20 seems very expensive to me. I'm not saying it isn't worth it, but when I saw the price just now, I did a double-take.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#33 mdt

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 06:52 AM

And they have the lovely, strangely named 1+1+1=3 Spanish rose, for an almost moderate $8.95 a glass.

Yikes! You can buy a bottle of it at Calvert Woodley for under $13.

#34 The Hersch

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 11:40 AM

Oh, I agree, the salade nicoise for 20-21 and the wine for 8.95 a glass are really expensive indulgences for lunch. It is only in the context of the overall screamingly high prices at Kinkead's that these have seemed moderate to me. That asparagus soup, though, given its celestial nature, really was a bargain at $9.

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#35 The Hersch

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 09:56 PM

Yikes! You can buy a bottle of it at Calvert Woodley for under $13.

By the way, can you really? I don't think I've seen it at Calvert Woodley...probably haven't looked hard enough, although lately they've certainly been pushing roses (which isn't a bad thing). I bought a couple of bottles of this wine at Rodman's, which I find usually undercuts Calvert Woodley when they carry the same thing, for $14.99 each about three weeks ago. $8.95 a glass for a wine that retails for $14.99 a bottle isn't all that outrageous when it's at a restaurant at the level of excellence and expense of Kinkead's. Sheesh, I'm starting to sound like a booster of the place.

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#36 deangold

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 10:50 PM

Retail = 15.00

Glass = 9

4 glasses per bottle = restaurant price of 36 or 2.4 retail
5 glasses per bottle = restaurant price of 45 or 3 times retail
I am not sure but I think Kincaids is between 4 and 5 glasses per bottle.

Reasonable is your call.

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#37 The Hersch

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 02:19 PM

In his latest lettres de son moulin, Rocks writes:

he has chosen for the menu at Kinkead’s to be stuck in time, catering to the expectations of tourists and the unadventurous, people searching for reliable comfort more than any sort of groundbreaking culinary event, which is why I was so dazzled and overjoyed by the Shaved Tennessee Ham with Deviled Eggs, “Croque Monsieur,” Frisée Salad and Dijon Dressing ($11), the single greatest dish I’ve had at Kinkead’s in years, as simple and traditional as it may sound, it’s also downright trendy, taking the charcuterie and egg crazes to a new level and more importantly, it was delicious, well conceived and executed, and an absolute pleasure to eat

While it's true that Kinkead's menu isn't particularly adventurous and is reliably comfortable, I think there's certainly room for such an approach among Washington's better restaurants, which Kinkead's certainly is. Almost without exception, everything that's been placed in front of me in almost weekly lunches there since early May has been beautifully executed, with first-rate materials, in comfortable, welcoming surroundings. Every time I eat there, I am reminded why I'm willing to spend the money (Kinkead's is quite expensive, for those who don't already know that). All that aside, Rocks is right about this dish! I've just come from lunch at Kinkead's, where George the excellent bartender tells me that this has been a standing item on the lunch menu for three weeks or so (I guess I just didn't notice it the last couple of times I was there). Rocks had this dish at dinner; on the lunch menu it's only $10, and was easily enough food for a complete lunch, at least for me. Lunch at Kinkead's for $10 (well, okay a lot more than that with a glass of wine, tax, and tip) is a great deal. Hurry on down to Foggy Bottom and try this. It is indeed an absolute pleasure to eat.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#38 Banco

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 10:53 AM

Hurry on down to Foggy Bottom and try this. It is indeed an absolute pleasure to eat.

I had this dish last night and have to say I was not as impressed as my esteemed colleagues. The brioche was greasy, the cheese was OK but otherwise lacked any distinguishing flavor, and the frisée was heavily overdressed. Mind you, not a bad dish, but, last night at least, it was nothing to write home about.

#39 kturkey88

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 01:22 PM

I had this dish last night and have to say I was not as impressed as my esteemed colleagues. The brioche was greasy, the cheese was OK but otherwise lacked any distinguishing flavor, and the frisée was heavily overdressed. Mind you, not a bad dish, but, last night at least, it was nothing to write home about.

Oooh...I disagree. I may be crazy for cheese - but I thought the cheese on the this sandwich was perfectly suited for the dish and very flavorful. It was gooey and a little grainy with the perfect amount of funk to complement the salty, wonderfully thin-sliced ham.

My SO says he still prefers his deviled eggs filled with steak tartare, but we still think the sandwich was a great addition to a classic and time-tested menu.

leave the gun, take the cannolis.


#40 dmwine

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:04 PM

I had this dish last night and have to say I was not as impressed as my esteemed colleagues. The brioche was greasy, the cheese was OK but otherwise lacked any distinguishing flavor, and the frisée was heavily overdressed. Mind you, not a bad dish, but, last night at least, it was nothing to write home about.

I had it last night, too. I liked it a lot, though wouldn't say it's as ambrosial as Don and others described it. I thought the ham and sandwich were fine, agree that the frisee was - well, not overdressed, but the dressing was oversharp. A poached egg might be better than the deviled, adding more to the dish rather than sitting apart on the plate.

Otherwise, this was my first meal at Kinkeads in which I did not order seafood. It reminded me of why it's considered the best seafood place in town. :P

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#41 The Hersch

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:35 PM

A poached egg might be better than the deviled, adding more to the dish rather than sitting apart on the plate.

A poached egg would be trite. :P

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#42 dmwine

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:44 PM

A poached egg would be trite. :D

And very French. To go with the Croque. And soften the vinegar in that dressing.

And it's only trite if it doesn't work. That the deviled eggs seem to be noteworthy mostly for the loving references for Ray's they engender here is further evidence that they don't work as intended. :P

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#43 Banco

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:39 AM

I had a sad dinner at the bar at Kinkead's yesterday evening, sad because I remember taking my parents to Kinkead's ten years ago and having a memorable dinner with perfect service. But last night was like seeing an old flame and noticing how she's begun to unravel.

My drink order was promptly handled but from then on everything was slow in coming. When the bread arrived, it contained a recycled heel of nonetheless tasty raisin bread and a floppy, greasy piece of focaccia. The garlic-braised short ribs were attractively presented off the bone in a ring-molded circle in the center of the plate, flanked by a few roasted vegetables and some beef-stuffed rigatoni in a little gratin dish. But one bite of the ribs revealed they were lukewarm, so I sent them back. The same order was returned to me, now sufficiently salamandered, but with an additional helping of overly gelatinous veal jus that tasted like it had been a bit too intimate with the Gravymaster. The ribs had a pleasing texture but were curiously wanting in flavor. The rigatoni, swimming in jus and cheese, were DOA.

A decent Shiraz helped me to enjoy this meal, and I was comped a second glass. But this is now the second time in the past two weeks that I've had the impression this once fine institution is running on fumes. Sad.

#44 The Hersch

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:17 PM

I had a sad dinner at the bar at Kinkead's yesterday evening

I'm sorry you had a sad dinner, and please forgive me for sounding like I own stock in this place, but I had a wonderful lunch at the bar on Wednesday (I have lunch there most Wednesdays). I can't comment on dinner, since I haven't had dinner at Kinkead's since before they closed for a few months a few years ago. But in all my lunches, I've never had a bad bread basket. I've never seen focaccia in the basket, for that matter. It generally contains a couple of crusty yeast rolls, some raisin/nut bread, and some soda bread with a sort of cheese crust (I wonder if that's what you had? If you expected it to be focaccia, you wouldn't think it was very good. On its own terms it's one of my favorite things about lunch at Kinkead's). On Wednesday, the food was pretty slow to come out of the kitchen, but the restaurant was absolutely slammed. I got one of about three seats left at the bar (which has maybe 25 seats, including a handful of high tables), and there were about ten people up by the front door waiting for tables upstairs; when I left an hour later, there were still a few people waiting. I had a "Portuguese-style" monkfish, with clams, grilled fennel, spinach, and chorizo. It was impecabble, although it didn't seem particularly Portuguese to me. The medallions of monkfish (perfectly cooked) were wrapped in bacon, which I suppose is trite but is nonetheless tasty, and served with a tomato-garlic-chorizo sauce, around a mound of perfectly cooked spinach, with a hunk of grilled fennel and some totally superfluous clams in the shell. The dish would have been better without the clams, which weren't integrated at all. Also on the plate were a couple of thin slices of toasted baguette smeared with a rouille-like goop that was delicious. At $18, I thought this was a pretty good deal for food this good.

I see that Kliman gives this place 3 stars in the new "Best", and puts it on the same level as Corduroy and Blue Duck Tavern (along with a bunch of places I've never been to) which seems to me about right. I continue to love Kinkead's.

Tell me, thou little bird that singest,

Who taught my grief to thee?


#45 Banco

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 07:08 PM

....please forgive me for sounding like I own stock in this place, but I had a wonderful lunch at the bar on Wednesday (I have lunch there most Wednesdays). I can't comment on dinner, since I haven't had dinner at Kinkead's since before they closed for a few months a few years ago. But in all my lunches, I've never had a bad bread basket. I've never seen focaccia in the basket, for that matter. It generally contains a couple of crusty yeast rolls, some raisin/nut bread, and some soda bread with a sort of cheese crust (I wonder if that's what you had? If you expected it to be focaccia, you wouldn't think it was very good. On its own terms it's one of my favorite things about lunch at Kinkead's)...I see that Kliman gives this place 3 stars in the new "Best", and puts it on the same level as Corduroy and Blue Duck Tavern (along with a bunch of places I've never been to) which seems to me about right. I continue to love Kinkead's.

I'm glad your experiences have been better than mine. Perhaps the lunch service is a different kettle of fish entirely; it wouldn't surprise me if they had decided to focus on lunch, considering the dinners I' ve had there recently. Another possibility is that anyone hoping to have a meal worthy of this restaurant's erstwhile reputation should order seafood, which I haven't done the past few times I've been there. Then again, one shouldn't have to be selective at Kinkead's prices. (The bread was almost certainly an attempt at focacccia; if it wasn't then it was a floppy and greasy attempt at something else, I can't imagine what.)

I saw Kliman's rating and was surprised by it, considering that the bar has been raised by so many other restaurants at this price point, a bar that Kinkead's can no longer surmount, in my experience. Corduroy is an altogether different magnitude of creativity, quality, service (and value). I would be delighted if my recent and admittedly unrepresentative impressions of Kinkead's were dashed to smithereens on my next visit. I've loved this restaurant in the past and would like to continue to do so.

#46 Joe H

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:08 PM

My wife and I have not been to Kinkead's in six months or so but on our last visit we, too, sat at the bar. And, as it was on Bob Kinkead's first New Year's Eve on PA Avenue in the mid '90's (in a half empty dining room) it was exemplery. I should note that over time I've complained about the nondescript second floor dining rooms and the indifference of various hosts on the telephone. Still, after fifteen plus years this was an outstanding experience that I thank Kinkead for sharing with us as native born Washingtonians. I confess to being somewhat miffed at the numerous criticisms on here: I love Kinkead's and have the deepest respect and appreciation for what he has served over the years.

Still, I must admit to one very real failure of his: in his cookbook he neglects to mention that his signature Portugeuese seafood stew must be cooked down and, after the reduction, then ladled on the seafood prepared before. This is NOT in his cookbook. I followed his instructions religiously and spent hours (many hours including the fish fumet!) making this dish only to serve it to Jeff Black (who once made the same dish!) and Roberto Donna (who Jeff Black once worked for!), finding that the soup was too thin. It hadn't been reduced!
I hadn't reduced it!!! ....his recipe didn't specify this.

Several weeks later, scrolling on the internet, I found another source for the recipe for "Kinkead's Portugeuese Seafood Stew." This called for a reduction after the stew was assembled. His cookbook didn't.

His restaurant may still be excellent. But I will never forgive him for not having a more accurate and detailed cookbook. A big deal, actually since I no longer trust any other recipe in it!!! As Roberto and Jeff heard my profuse apologies for the flavorful but thin seafood broth that I served to them (not believing that I, in fact, was not responsible for the screw up!) I cannot help but express my anger for a cookbook that was not properly tested for the public (i.e. me) to be able to successfully cook from following it.

His restaurant may be, still, excellent. But his cookbook sucks!

PS Thanks Goodness my ice cream and risotto turned out! And, if Bob Kinkead is reading this, I promise to follow his recipe exactly if he'll allow me to cook for him. The Portugeuse seafood stew just may not be nearly as thick as it is when he makes it himself...in fact, it may be watery....

#47 Barbara

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:16 PM

We went there ONCE for my birthday, a couple of years ago. Service was great, but overall, the food was unforgivable. Somebody else will need to pick up the tab before we consider going back.

#48 The Hersch

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:31 PM

The Kinkaid's cheering section again: I inadvertently participated in Restaurant Week at lunch there today, having forgotten about it. They're doing lunch only, and completely restructured their menu for the occasion. The only choices are the 3-course RW and the raw bar stuff. On the 3-course menu, they've got about as many options as on their regular lunch menu (and many of the same options), but organized a little more straightforwardly into 1sts, mains, and desserts. This is a seriously good deal for twenty bucks, although it was a LOT more food than I had figured on eating. Only one upcharge, which is for the lobser roll ($7.50). I had a luscious, satiny lobster bisque filled with nice chunks of lobster meat, a walnut-crusted skate wing, and a nice plate of three cheeses. All excellent. At $20.07, this wasn't much more than half price.

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#49 ScotteeM

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 11:23 AM

We went to the beach last night! OK, it was a chilly, drafty beach, and no one was wearing a swimsuit, but the food made me feel like the beach.

As soon as I read this post on the Central thread:

(Kinkead's sets the standard for tuna carpaccio in the D. C. area for a reference point.)

, I made a reservation at Kinkead's for last night. I had to have the tuna carpaccio again!

It didn't disappoint. Translucently thin slices of fresh tuna, framed in a salad of baby arugula, shaved fennel, celery, onions, and shaved parmesan, all in a delicate vinaigrette, with a center ornament of chopped tomato, currants, pine nuts, and capers--just a few of my favorite things on one plate. Every bite was a little bit different. Every bite was fresh and light. None of the toppings overwhelmed the flavorful fish--they all balanced with the tuna and with one another.

My husband started with the mussels in mustard cream. I got one taste and it was delicious. The mussel was cooked just right and the cream complimented without drowning the bivalve.

We enjoyed a glass of fruity pinot grigio with it. The wine was "richer" tasting than we're used to for pinot grigio, and it was a good match for our appetizers, with nice complimentary flavors.

For our main course, we chose the Chilled Grand Selection. Eighteen oysters (Malpeque, Tillamook, and one more I can't remember), some tiny clams on the halfshell, plain steamed mussels, perfectly steamed chilled shrimp, cups of the sweetest lump crab, and a lovely steamed lobster, split in half, removed from the shell and put back in. All of this was accompanied by very good cocktail sauce with optional horseradish, a mignonette that I wish I could duplicate at home, and lovely melted butter sauce. The raw bivalves were very fresh, the steamed shrimp and lobster were tender. It helped us forget the wintry wind outside for an hour or so.

We took a bottle of Chablis Grand Cru: Bougros Cote Bouguerots, Domaine William Fevre 2002 with us, which our waiter graciously opened and poured for us. It went very well with the chilled shellfish, opening up more as the meal progressed.

The desserts were great: my husband had the pineapple tart, and I scored enough of a bite to enjoy the roasted pineapple, which was not over-sweetened--just right. I had a hazelnut cake with a scoop of ice cream set on a bed of chopped toasted hazelnuts. It was sweeter than I usually go for at dessert, but really quite tasty.

Dona Animella


#50 Camille-Beau

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:20 PM

Translucently thin slices of fresh tuna, framed in a salad of baby arugula, shaved fennel, celery, onions, and shaved parmesan, all in a delicate vinaigrette, with a center ornament of chopped tomato, currants, pine nuts, and capers--just a few of my favorite things on one plate. Every bite was a little bit different. Every bite was fresh and light. None of the toppings overwhelmed the flavorful fish--they all balanced with the tuna and with one another.

This is a great example of how different everyone's tastes really are and how fortunate we are to have so many diverse restaurants and options. One of the dishes I least liked at Kinkead's was the tuna carpaccio as I found it to be completely lost underneath the large 'salad' piled on top. Far too many items competing with the taste of the tuna. I really want to like Kinkead's, particularly for lunch, since it is directly across the street from my office, but I've had far too many disappointing meals there to continue giving them another chance -- or perhaps go for desserts only which sound really good.

-Camille
"If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?" -- John Cleese

"And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals ..."





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