I’m always on the hunt for the next seafood restaurant. Seafood offers a wide culinary intersection of styles and seasonings, making it a great date night choice. So when Kinmont, a sustainable seafood restaurant in River North opened, I started planning a harmonious evening for two.
Was it worth the wait?
Bait the Hook
Kinmont (419 W Superior Street) doesn’t embrace the traditional oceanic sea shanty feel, tending towards the Field and Stream end of watery decor. Given that, the carpets on the ceiling seemed odd and out of place. We couldn’t figure out why they were there. The lighting and neighborly seating also didn’t lend themselves to a cozy evening, which put a damper on the date night feeling. We forged ahead with drinks.
The beer menu at Kinmont isn’t large, though they have an interesting and well-curated selection of midwest brews. Off Color Brewing‘s Troublesome proved to be an acidic, lemony beer that paired well with menu.
I switched to the beer, but only after trying an Alaska cocktail combination of gin, orange bitter and yellow chartreuse. The cocktail list, which normally doesn’t tempt me, came into play because Kinmont produces their own syrups, bitter and cordials on site. I appreciated their efforts as well as the citations from old recipe books.
I checked off the recommendations received from Twitter earlier in the day, including an order of Soft-Scrambled Eggs. The texture was a little different than what I expected due to the addition of the smoked whitefish, no doubt, but there was nothing wrong with the flavor. Served with thick slabs of country bread, it was the breakfast of my dreams. For dinner.
We stuck with a theme and also tried the Smoked Fish Dip, paired with onion crackers and selection of pickled vegetables. If you like smoked fish and crudites, this is the dish for you. I mean, for me. We threw in an order of Fresh King Crab Gratin. My boyfriend enjoyed the creamy texture of the dish more than I did, so we each settled in like happy clams with our preferred appetizer.
Catch of the Day
While there were several recommendations to order from the For the Table section of the menu, they seemed too large for just two people. For the record, our waiter agreed. I want to go back for the Shore Dinner mainly because we had a taste for Littleneck Clams. FYI — items included in the table menu aren’t available for individual order though it’s unclear why that is.
Halibut was a featured Catch of the Day, and we had ours served with brown butter and capers. Kinmont sold out of the fish while we were there — and I know why. The fish was firm, fresh, perfectly prepared and simply presented.
Though we didn’t really need more food, we also ordered a side of Smoked Carrots to round out the meal. The sweet, al dente vegetables weren’t merely an afterthought but an art. A range of blue, orange and yellow carrots were topped with crunchy hazelnuts and hint of cumin. They were almost dessert by themselves.
Sorry for the blurry photo — Kinmont lowered the lights before dessert was served and threw off my aim. The apple pie earned its place here, though.
The crust to filling ratio of a pie with a top and bottom could easily be off, but I was pleasantly surprised how well Kinmont nailed it. The table-side pour of a scrumptious cheddar-caramel sauce into the center was unexpected and ridiculously good. I may have licked the plate. A little.
While Kinmont didn’t quite meet our expectations for an intimate evening out, the restaurant satisfied our need for seafood while setting the stage for the next visit. I can’t wait to return.