I had dinner at Kith/Kin this week - Chef Onwuachi was there, schmoozing the dining room.
We sat down, and had the menus placed in front of us. Before we had a chance to order our drinks, our (otherwise pleasant) server recited nearly the entire menu, droning on and on through every item, when all we wanted to do was relax with a cocktail.
The drinks menu at Kith/Kin is draw-jopping - (I made you pause there, didn't I. Now, pay attention:) - highlighted cocktails were $18, so I turned to the wine list, only to find what is arguably the single-worst, most outrageously expensive wine list in Washington, DC - if I were still the Washingtonian wine columnist, doing a "Best Of" column, Kith/Kin would certainly not be on it, but it might have a special mention as an Overpriced Tourist Trap - the wines are essentially what you'll find at Rite-Aid, multiplied to 4-times retail (and I mean this quite literally - picture a $15 drug-store wine selling for $60, and you'll get the picture). How can it be that no food or wine writers have mentioned this?
Look at this question and answer on Tom Sietsema's chat from Apr 17 on this exact subject:
Q: Kith and Kin Website
Hi Tom. Welcome back. I missed you during your mini-hiatus! Here is another plea to restauranters: please make sure your restaurant's website has information that diners want. For example, Kith and Kin's website has pretty pictures of food and drink, but it does not have the restaurant's wine list or the cocktail list posted. That's a mistake in a city where restaurants have highly-regarded cocktail programs (and wine lists). [...]
A: Tom Sietsema
You're right regarding the menu. It would be great if Kith & Kin told diners about its liquid assets. [...]
And that's the response. Anyway, we ordered Gin and Tonics ($11 with Beefeater), and stuck with them throughout the meal. Dining public: Consider yourselves warned.
Before the courses, two rolls were delivered gratis: These were house-made "King's Hawaiian Bread" clones in the form of hamburger buns - delicious, evil things loaded with salt and butter, and if you take the first bite of yours, you'll also take the last because they're sinfully good.
For the first course, we split a King Crab Curry ($24) - a bowl of crab meat in an intensely buttery liquid, with plantain chips, finger lime, and cilantro. Any and all spice could be found in the chips themselves; the bowl of buttered crab was entirely neutral - these were innocuous chips, tasty but clumsy, and (remember this) the dish was *much* better after taking some chips, sticking them in the bowl, and mixing the entire thing together - don't use them as dunking vehicles, because they're non-absorbent, and you'll be much happier using them for texture, and eating the course with a spoon.
The next two dishes were shared as a main - I enjoyed the Goat Roti ($24) so much two weeks ago that I had to order it again; this time around, it was completely different than before, less yellow and more brown, with more traditional spicing - the inside of the curry was oddly more yellow than the outer skin (which you can see), although I detected no heat-lamp treatment, i.e., "no skin" on the dish. We both agreed that this curry paled in comparison with what we had before, although to its credit (and our server said this same thing), it was noticeably better the next day for lunch; the Roti itself was thicker and chalkier in texture on this occasion (you can see the chalkiness in the first photo on the bottom); previously, it was pretty much perfect. The two versions are shown here:
Mar 31, 2019: Apr 14, 2019:
Along with the Goat Roti, we had the Jerk Chicken ($24), with Tamarind Jam, Jerk BBQ, Braised Cabbage, and Coconut Rice. This was a heavily charred portion of chicken, with a large portion of breast meat, seemingly injected due to its high moisture content in the interior. The sides were very forgettable, but the chicken itself was perfectly fine, even tasty when dunked into the Jerk BBQ sauce.
As a point of comparison - the night before, we went to Hen Quarter in Old Town, and each ordered the Hen Quarter Special ($19), a quarter fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, biscuit, and honey butter. Though different in preparation, these two dishes were comparable in quality - both my dining companion and I agreed that we had a slight preference for Hen Quarter's chicken, although it's something of a coin flip, as neither of these dishes would be on the All-Star team.
The previous visit to Kith/Kin, we both left eager to return; this time around, we left with feelings of indifference - as the Goat Roti goes, so goes Kith/Kin.