We returned to Kinkeads (www.kinkead.com) here in DC for the first time in over a year and had forgotten how much we love the place. There are many new faces on the staff and in the kitchen, and we truly fell in love with our server Stephanie, who is a dream! That aside, we had, as always, a spectacular meal with only two small shortcomings. The new scallop entree should have FOUR scallops not three in our humble opinion, and the coffee cake in my dessert was really dry and forgettable.
The four of us sat down to a wonderful bottle of KARL LAGLER GRUNER VELTLINER Federspeil "Burgberg" 2005 that was slightly fizzy, creamy and very citrusy; an amazing aperitif on a hot Sunday afternoon. It also works quite well with the many different spices in the appetizers which were all a HUGE success. The YUCATAN Style TUNA SOUP with Tomatillos, Chilies, Lime, Sour Cream and Tortilla Strips now has two huge chunks of rare tuna in the middle of the soup making it even more filling than before (and was always a great dish!), the CHILLED GORGONZOLA SALAD with APRICOTS, Baby Arugula, Frisee, Spiced Walnuts, Pancetta & Port Vinaigrette got raves and our top notch CORNMEAL CRUSTED SOFT SHELL CRABS with Shrimp, Tasso Ham, Lemon, Garlic & Crab Ragout were some of the best ever. They also had a grilled artichoke heart, potato and string beans all with a slightly spicy sauce that was heavenly.
We had moved on to a terrific MONTAGNY 1er CRU "Les Coeres" 2004 from Staphane Aladame in the Cotes Chalonnaises that was a perfect chardonnay with little oak from the Burgundy region. It was also perfect in between courses before we moved on to our last red a super Burgundy Pinot Noir PERNAND-VERGELESSES 1er CRU "En Caradeux" 2003 from Follin-Arbellet which was wonderfully light (to work with the scallops and other dishes) and full-fruited, but not the least bit
Entrees were also all of the best quality with the SEARED NANTCUKET SEA SCALLOPS, Favas, Ricotta Gnocchi, Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout-dried tomato, pancetta, basil lemon broth only missing that one fourth scallop needed to fill out the plate.
The BRIK DOUGH WRAPPED ALASKAN HALIBUT Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelle, Creamed Spinach, Mushroom Agnolottis, Chanterelles, Baby Beans and Porcini Cream Sauce is a lesson in fish perfection while the GRILLED ROCKFISH, Zucchini Parmesan, Dried Cherry Tomato Relish with Lemon Rosemary Emulsion was a revelation of fish combined with the sour cherry tomatoes which tasted almost like a sour cherry relish! My HAWAIIAN RARE TUNA had two towers of the perfect meat with
MACADAMIA NUT CRUST a heap of TUNA "poke" (tartare), TARO PANCAKE, HEARTS of PALM and two options of dips: CHILI WATER (which was intense at first, but the heat was so fleeting, I kept dipping) and SOY GINGER.
I have to say I love the booths at Kinkead's, but our table last night was oddly opposite a two-top for a couple which was facing us. It's hard not to stare at lovey-dovey couples when you are right next to them, but they seemed into each other and their food!
A movement in the kitchen of pastry chefs may be the cause for the problem with the coffee cake on my COFFEE & CAKE (also called COFFEE Sampler on a different menu) which sported a way too dry SOUR CREAM & WLANUT Coffee Cake, a superb lighter-than-Sacher-torte MOCHA OPERA CAKE, a tasty demi-tasse of COFFEE JELLY & ESPRESSO CREAM and a scoop of BAILEY's IRISH Ice Cream. The CARROT PECAN ROULADE with Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce is ALWAYS a hit and two of us opted for the yummy HAZELNUT CAKE with Crunchy Waffle Layer, Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse, Coffee Sauce and Praline Ice Cream.
Hopefully the new scallop dish will grow soon and the coffee cake will get an extra douse of sour cream in the mixing, cause we know we are always headed back to Kinkead's!