Monday, July 03, 2006

Kinkead's-always a cut above

If you look back at my reviews over the years, you will note that I have had only the highest of praise for KINKEAD's here in DC. We have never had a bad meal, a problem, or an unenjoyable evening. This past Monday was NO exception; another coup for Kinkead's. The ONLY problem we did have was that the hostess told our guests that we had NOT arrived, and indeed, we were already at the table. So we waited for almost 25 minutes until we went downstairs and found them at the bar. It wasn't a big deal, just an inconvenience.

In the meantime, we started a bottle of 2005 CLOUDY BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC from New Zealand that is always a pleaser, and excellent with the raw bar items we like to order first. A small portion of RICOTTA GNOCCHI with Sundried Tomato, Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms came and got our mouths watering. It was scrumptious. We followed this with a selection of 6 oysters each:

a slightly bitter SUNSET BEACH, and a briny DOSEWALLIPS were two new ones for me from Washington State. HOOD CANAL also came from there with the always yummy MALPEQUES and HURRICANE HARBOR from Prince Edward Is (shouldn't it be spelled Harbour, if it's Canadian?). Top award wen to the CAPE BRETON, Nova Scotia.

While I always feel oysters have character and personality, raw clams for me are a bit pedestrian, though our co-diner loved them. The MUSSELS with CHORIZO, Pequillo Peppers, Saffron Garlic Tomato Broth were superb.

We moved onto a CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE BLANC 2004 Domaine du VIEUX TELEPGRAPHE which was delicously minerally and refreshing. Our appetizers (albeit the 3rd course) were CRISPY SOFTSHELLS with LIME DIPPING SUACE and GREEN PAPAYA SALAD. We noticed the loads of chopped hot peppers in the dipping sauce, and love spicy stuff, but our co-diner ordered the same dish as an entree and poured the dipping sauce onto the crabs wreaking havoc with his palate. The crabs were quickly replaced and the sauce was also resent with alot less peppers! Despite this, the little critters were magnificent and the papaya salald a nice foil.

A BRICK HOUSE LE DIJONNAISE 2004 was served a bit chilly for my taste. It's big nose fooled us, as the wine was less intense on the palate, but still a worthy Oregon Pinot Noir to be sure. Our excellent server Keith did say this was one of their first vintages as they only sold grapes until 2000-something, which I knew to be wrong. Brickhouse has been making excellent wines for some time now.

The wine was perfect for big fish dishes such as the CRISPY BLACK BACK FLOUNDER with Baby Artichokes, Potato, Tasso Ham, Crayfish and Lemon-Thyme Sauce. My MUSHROOM & BRIK DOUGH WRAPPED HALIBUT with Morels, Roasted New Potatoes, Baby Green Beans and a Porcini Vinaigrette was superb and a bit rich as well. The "vinaigrette" was really more like a rich wild mushroom sauce, and so much the better. While we always praise Kinkead's for its excellent fish, these were indeed, some of the best fish dishes we have ever had! (of course, by now, we well know the meat dishes are just as good!).

Desserts have always been a major part of any trip to Kinkead's and we were cautious of a new pastry chef in the name of HICHEM LAHRECHE. Don't be cautious; throw caution to the wind. This guy will be nominated for Pastry Chef of the Year very soon with items like TORTE of Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Coulis, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Genoise and Toasted Almond Brittle. If you prefer less chocolate, go for the MOCHA SUPREME with Chocolate Macaroons, Caramel Ice Cream and Coffee Sauce which I opted for and adored. There is still the traditional tasty PECAN CARROT CAKE with Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce, but we will miss that old Tarte Tatin. As we like to end with a dessert wine we ordered several glasses of INISKILLIN 2003 VIDAL ICE WINE which is one of my all time faves: rich, viscous and intense...a great way to go home.