Food

Kinship is the Most Exciting DC Restaurant Opening of the New Year

Former CityZen chef Eric Ziebold debuts in Shaw.
Kinship by former CityZen chef Eric Ziebold opens in Shaw. Photography by Andrew Propp

We’ve already seen a burst of restaurant openings in the first week of the new year, but Kinship stands out—not just from the new crop, but in the dining scene as a whole. Longtime CityZen chef Eric Ziebold closed the Mandarin Oriental restaurant in 2014, and spent the interim time building his first independent venture with wife Célia Laurent. The 55-seat dining room across from the Convention Center in Shaw officially debuted this week after a holiday soft-opening.

Local interior designed Darryl Carter is behind the space, which includes a fire-lit lounge and stylish dining room.

One could easily point to the design as distinct—a 1907 structure transformed by local interior designer Darryl Carter—or the menu (who else serves a whole roasted lobe of Hudson Valley foie gras for family-style indulging?). Still if there’s anything that sets Kinship apart, it’s Ziebold’s vision.

“The point for me is to have a restaurant with longevity,” says Ziebold, who signed a ten year lease on the space. “We hope to build a legacy restaurant that’ll continue to evolve.”

Certain Ziebold signatures appear on the menu, such as this vegetarian mushroom torchon.

At a time in Washington when pop-ups are rampant and rents sky-high, fewer restaurants are built for the long haul, though Ziebold has never been the type of chef to skip around. A decade at CityZen—and before that, over eight years at the French Laundry—inform Kinship and Métier, the seven-course tasting room below the a la carte restaurant that will open in February. Certain Ziebold signatures appear on the menu, such as the fresh-baked Parker House rolls and stroganoff (here made with sweetbreads and morels). The majority of dishes are new, and all personal, divided into five categories: craft (dishes that highlight a certain cooking technique), history (classics revisited), ingredients (think surf clams or Rohan duck), indulgence (the place to look for truffles and caviar), and “for the table” family-style platters, such as whole fish or a 12-ounce dry-aged ribeye.

The menu boasts dishes you won’t find elsewhere in DC, such as this feuille de brick fried egg with tuna and sweet peppers.

One wouldn’t describe Kinship as casual–the restaurant offers valet parking and reservations in all but the 27-seat lounge—but the team designed the menu with flexibility in mind. Guests could come in for a special occasion and order $80 Ossetra caviar and potato chips, or grab a booth by the bar and split a roast chicken. Granted it’s a fancy Black Feather bird served with lemon-garlic panade and crispy risolée potatoes for $56, but keep in mind it clocks in at four pounds and is designed to share. The communal notion that goes back to the restaurant’s name, defined on every menu: “Kinship, feeling of being close or connected to other people.”

Reservations are taken in the dining room, whereas booths in the bar (similar to the one above) are available for walk-in diners.

“When CityZen closed, the amount of people who came up to me and said ‘What am I going to do now?’ Where are we going to celebrate our anniversary?” was incredibly validating,” says Ziebold. “The restaurant filled a niche for them in their life. It’s what we aspire to do. How can you connect with people? How can you be a part of their life?”

Kinship. 1015 Seventh St., NW; 202-737-7700. Dinner served nightly from 5:30 pm (look for weekend brunch in the coming weeks).

Complimentary peanut toffee arrives with a miniature hammer for cracking into the sweet.
French-influenced cocktails include the QuinQuina Royal with cognac, Cassis, and sparkling wine.
The full dinner menu is available at the 15-seat bar.
Grapefruit terrine with avocado cream and kaffir lime coulis.
Metier, the chef’s tasting room, opens below the a la carte dining room (pictured) in February.

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