As more restaurant rows develop around town, Kin (4600 Washington Ave., 504-304-8557) has charted out a different type of turf. Stuck on an angular little concrete island under a cloud of billboards out by Xavier University, it’s at a crossroads address in a part of town not known as a dining destination.
But over the past few months, Hieu Than has had the lights shining late at this solitary outpost and kept the midnight oil burning as he’s worked up a restaurant that feels as singular as its location.
Kin opened over the weekend with a menu that Than developed closely with fellow chef Nate Nguygen. It takes a multi-cultural American approach, though one richly braided with their shared Vietnamese heritage.
The roasted Cornish hen is glazed with soy and stands over an umami-laden pool of shiitake mushrooms and sate, an intense Vietnamese chile sauce.
The short rib gets a sauce built from Japanese dashi. Duck hearts and goat cheese share the billing in a melon salad. And for dessert the “tiramiso” adds savory miso to Italian tiramisu.
When planning Kin, Than said he looked at locations around the city, including on high-demand Magazine Street, but instead fixed on the potential of this small, daisy-yellow building by the not-so-scenic Washington Avenue Canal.
There is room for just a handful of tables and a pair of dining bars, and the small confines, the open kitchen and Kin’s unusual menu do combine to create the feel of a culinary clubhouse just a bit off the grid.
If ambitions are high, the prices are modest, with most entrees in the teens, and most first courses under $10. Kin is BYOB pending a liquor license approval. In about a month, Than plans to add a lunchtime menu of ramen dishes.
For now, Kin serves dinner Monday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are accepted and one counter area is reserved for walk-ins.
Modern American, add beignets
The second edition of Legacy Kitchen (700 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-613-2350; legacykitchen.com) and another location for the related New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co. have opened together in the Warehouse District.
The two concepts replace Rene Bistrot in the heavily-redesigned restaurant space inside the Renaissance Arts Hotel and represent the latest expansion for parent company NOHSC Restaurant Group. That local group also operates the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. restaurants and has been growing rapidly around the metro area.
The theme is modern American, from the industrial design and vintage foosball and shuffleboard tables in the lounge to the cocktail list and the menu of updated comfort food (house-made chips with blue cheese sauce, duck nachos, burgers, entrée salads, chicken and waffles, bacon-wrapped shrimp).
The coffee and beignet shop has been worked directly into the design, forming the flip-side of the restaurant’s bar and turning the hotel atrium into a sort of indoor plaza with cafe tables. The cafe opens at 6 a.m. while Legacy Kitchen serves lunch and dinner daily.
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