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Around the BLOCK

Kinkead’s in Washington, DC

Written By: Mary Bloch - May• 16•11

Kinkead’s has been around for decades, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It is consistently on all the top restaurant charts, deservedly so.

I made a return visit there recently, after too long of a drought.The multi-level restaurant has multiple personalities, depending on where you sit. There is a casual cafe on the lower level, a loud bar at street level, and a more subdued and formal dining room upstairs. We were seated in a booth upstairs, which was made for easy conversation.

In early March, spring hadn’t yet taken hold, but unfortunately they had just changed to the spring menu, eliminating the possibility that we could try the grilled tuna with mole, a dish my son and I both had our eye on when perusing the online menu before the changeover. Fortunately, we were happy with all of  our selections, most of which were on the Classics menu that doesn’t change seasonally.

We started with two appetizers whose descriptions were intriguing, and unlike any dishes either of us had experienced. One was Grilled Squid with Tomato Fondue, Pesto and Creamy Polenta. It was arranged vertically and artfully, and resulted in each bite having a burst of flavors.  Yucatan Style Tuna Soup with Tomatillos, Chiles, Lime, Sour Cream and Tortilla Strips was all green, like a split pea, but made with tomatillos and cilantro. Chunks of tuna are dropped in at the last minute so they are barely cooked and not overdone. The tortilla strips added crunch to a very successful soup.

My son was determined to have tuna, so he tried the preparation on the new menu and wasn’t disappointed. Sesame Crusted Rare Tuna with Cool Soba Noodles, Sesame Seaweed Salad, Soy Dipping Sauce and Wasabi tends to show up on many a menu these days, but if the preparation is flawless, as this was, what’s not to like.

I tried another of the classics, Pepita Crusted Salmon with Cilantro, Chiles, Crab, Shrimp and Corn Ragout. Since I was near crab and shrimp country, it seemed like the thing to get. I was less than enamored at the outset, perhaps because I make enough salmon at home that I rarely order it in restaurants, and because I don’t love a crust surrounding my fish. But as the different ingredients took hold and each bite offered up a different taste, I was happy I had tried it.

Though primarily a fish and seafood restaurant, Kinkead’s does offer meat entrees for landlubbers at the table, so don’t shy away from trying an outstanding restaurant simply because you don’t eat fish. Though not inexpensive, it offers a very pleasant and delectable way to spend an evening.



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