While the food scene in the Triangle has been booming, it’s always great to explore other culinary delights in this lovely state. One restaurant that had hit my radar screen was Kindred out in Davidson. Known for their farm to table fare, just north of Charlotte, Kindred opened up in February of 2015 and is helmed by Chef Joe Kindred. Luckily, a trip through Charlotte was on my schedule so I took a slight detour into Davidson to meet up with friends and see what all the fuss was about…
One of the great things about Kindred is its convenient location on Main Street in Davidson. Given nearby Davidson College, there’s an academic feel to the city and you can stroll up and down Main Street peering into quaint restaurants and storefronts. It’s got a quintessential Southern feel and charm to the area which is a lot of fun. And things don’t change much when you enter Kindred. Past its large pane glass windows lies a very chic and stylish space with minimalist aesthetics. The space here at Kindred is bright, light and well designed with a centerpiece bar to the left and bricked wall to the right. Tables are neatly lined up on the right-hand side and Kindred also has a patio for outdoors dining, good stuff!
We are led to a small 4-top across from the bar and seated with a very friendly wait-person who’s extremely knowledgeable about the menu. Kindred’s lunch menu is pretty tight with a handful of starters, sandwiches and a couple of entrees. We’re trying to tag-team this meal to make sure we try not only what we want but as much as possible so there’s some horse-trading going on at our table given the delicious-sounding menu! After all is said and done, we decide to share out the crispy oysters, frites and Grandfather’s pickles. And I decide to go with the classic skillet burger with potato salad, yum!
Looking around Kindred’s dining room, I can tell you that it draws a very affluent and Southern crowd. The crisp oysters come out first and it’s a visually beautiful dish! Crisp orange-brown bivalves sitting on top of a creamy yogurt sauce (tzatziki style) and peppery Calabrian chile oil. It’s a delicate plate despite its fried nature and the crispy crunchy seafood plays well with the creamy sauce. We then jump into the fries and pickles and they are awesome! Kindred’s fries are lightly battered with a bit of dill flecked underneath and paired with a fresh aioli. And the quick pickles with shards of white onion are a fresh and crunchy bite and acts as a good palate cleanser.
Our sandwiches arrive at the table and we’re looking at the shrimp roll, BLT and my burger, fantastico! And while I’ve eaten my share of burgers, Kindred’s rendition is a thing of beauty. Two small, seared patties with lovingly melted cheddar, bits of onion and aioli, wow. The burger is small (4 – 5″ across) but delivers a mouthful, given the stacked ingredients. Kindred uses a wonderful sesame seed bun that’s been buttered and browned on the grill. Taking a bite results in a wonderful mix of beef, cheese and tang, the burger patty has been salted a bit and seared perfectly. My tablemates’ shrimp roll and BLT looks awesome, Kindred really cares about presentation even with its simple lunch offerings.
As we dine, the dining room quickly fills up with hungry locals and sadly, we have not left enough room for dessert but I’m sure they’re excellent. Overall our visit to Kindred was totally worth the stop on my way to Atlanta. Chef Joe at Kindred shows a lot of love for his eats and all the little details are covered in terms of decor, service, ingredients, plating and preparation, kudos! I’m already negotiating a return visit for dinner here because I feel that lunch is just a small reminder of what they can probably do for dinner. So I’m hoping to get back to that area, stat, for dinner at Kindred or their upcoming project, Hello Sailor on Lake Norman in Cornelius. Their food is so good, it’s worth a 2+ hour drive down south from the Triangle, enjoy!