One of the things I appreciate about New Orleanians is their ability to recycle, repurpose, and reinvent themselves and their surroundings. During my hunts for new places to eat, I have come across many places that blend effortlessly into their surroundings. You may drive right past it and not even realize it’s a restaurant. Perhaps it’s a small building on a corner lot or the downstairs of an apartment building. One place I found looked like it was once a house. Another place was once a trolley car. There is a bar inside of what once was a warehouse, unobtrusively sitting on a side street, surrounded by old buildings. But one thing I can say for certain, I haven’t been disappointed yet!
Kin is one of those places. It is a small, nondescript building. It reminds me of something my dad used to say. He never understood beauty pageants and the need for little girls to be dressed up in frilly, flowery dresses and make-up. He would say the dresses should be simple and tasteful, allowing the beauty of the girl to shine through. He used to joke that the uglier the girl, he would bet the more extravagant the dress and make-up would be.
Kin is such a place that the beauty of the food inside shines so bright, no need for the dazzle of decorations. When you first walk in, you are greeted by staff. The décor is simple yet functional. I did notice that on the wall was a creation of crates instead of cabinets being used for shelving, which was hung slightly askew. Perhaps it has something to do with the existing wall layout or electrical wiring. I have learned about myself over the years that I can be particular, to the point of a wee bit OCD when it comes to woodworking, and hanging art, to name a few things. So once seen, it was difficult to “unsee”, but I didn’t let it interfere with the rest of the dining experience. Plus, I noticed a few of the pictures on the wall were also hung slightly askew so maybe there is a theme here…. And a lesson that beauty can be imperfect.
Also, written in huge letters, above the stove area are the words “but did you die?” When I asked the waiter about it, he explained it can get ferociously hot back there cooking and makes for long shifts. That is a reminder for them…. I get it… love the phrase too! One of my favorites from the movie, the Hangover. A reminder I have said to myself on numerous occasions when life has proved difficult or frustrating. How can you not love a place with a sense of humor?!?!
The menu is simple; ramen or udon dishes as its main course with a selection of appetizers. One thing to keep in mind, the menu changes weekly. One appetizer is dumplings, whose selection changes often. Today, the menu had BBQ brisket, Naughty Burger and Chicken Poppers as their dumpling choices. Also, spicy cranberry wings were another appetizer available. We tried the BBQ and poppers. Both were large and flavorful. I also tried another appetizer on the menu, the corn and tofu. I am not a big tofu fan, but this is a dish I can eat every day! I loved it so much I ordered another one to take home. I was almost too full to eat the ramen I ordered after eating the dumplings and tofu dishes. My son ordered the fish bowl ramen which was made with salmon and I ordered the confit pork shoyu ramen. I have included a picture of the menu so you can see exactly what is in these two dishes. Suffice it to say, the flavors were impeccably paired. On a side note, I was told the noodles are hand pulled daily for freshness. Definitely not your store-bought variety served here.
If you are looking for a simple, no frills, no extravagant dining experience with delicious food, this is a place to be added to your list of “must try”. You won’t be disappointed.