Helen Schwab

Kindred brings the warmth

The oh-so-innocently named “milk bread” with house-cultured butter.
The oh-so-innocently named “milk bread” with house-cultured butter. HELEN SCHWAB

The food: It’s in the details we see a thing, right? Here’s one: Kindred’s menu puts an asterisk beside a dish, then states at the bottom, just like every other menu in town: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry ... (etc.) may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Please be aware that these items contain raw/undercooked ingredients.” But then it adds: “and may be cooked to your preference.”

So not the usual warning/statement alone, but an effort to go a few inches farther toward the diner. It’s a cool thing (though I don’t want anyone ordering said item, yellowtail crudo, cooked), and underscores the place’s willingness to meet you.

Servers can explain (and must) lots of items, because elsewhere the menu is a mite coy: Pork arista, for instance, is a gorgeous hunk of roasted meat with chermoula (think Morroccan-spiced pesto) and romesco, usually a red pepper sauce with almonds predominant, here done with peanuts, which fact is written nowhere. Chef Joe Kindred, who owns the place with his wife, Katy, cooked for Jim Noble for years and, at first blush, seems to have married the Southern earthiness of Rooster’s menu with some edgier risks: that crudo with fennel pollen and grapefruit; venison tagliolini; a big raviolo filled with the Middle Eastern rich yogurt cheese called labneh and a little ricotta; an egg baked with seitan in a crispy-rice-based skillet.

There’s cheese and charcuterie, a killer roasted duck soup (poured at table, nearly a coconut duck sauce, really) and the quick-arriving “milk bread”: yeasty, fleur-de-sel-topped tear-apart rolls that are melty and six kinds of good. A few kinks: The raviolo was decidedly overcooked, and things arrived a trifle lukewarm, but ... remarkably promising.

The look: The Kindreds, who live in Davidson, did a significant renovation on a historic pharmacy building that once was the Tom Clark (gnomes!) Museum. It’s a two-floor period piece updated with glossy woods and tiles and milky lighting, with handsome detailing (look for the angled mirror that helps you judge traffic if you’re coming from the upstairs).

The service: Ask questions, because it’s fun, servers know answers or will get them, and you’ll have a fuller experience. Teamwork and congeniality are clearly prized, and if there were a few slips, they were minute and quickly corrected.

Details: Small plates $11-$19, protein-centric bigger ones $12-$25; 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 131 N. Main St., Davidson; 980-231-5000; www.kindreddavidson.com.

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