Stillwater’s Newest Restaurant, The Kitchen, is as Local as Wild Rice
BY DARA MOSKOWITZ GRUMDAHL
What do the Cities’ newest restaurants have in common? Nothing. But here’s your guide to their delights. We started with D'Amico Kitchen and Om, and now, touch on The Kitchen. For the complete version of this feature, please see "The New Restaurant Scene."
No restaurant closing last year was more shocking than the shuttering of the Bayport Cookery. Chef Jim Kyndberg was a pioneer in transforming the St. Croix Valley into a fine-dining destination with his multi-course menus centered on a star ingredient (morels, chocolate, and garlic were the most famous themes). And a nice, nice, nice guy—one of those chefs young cooks clamor to work for for free and whose praises they go on to sing forevermore. So it was particularly thrilling when Kyndberg was quickly appointed chef of the Kitchen, the new restaurant that took over the former Stone’s space in Stillwater, the one with the exquisite, enormous back patio and the interior that seemed like a showroom for the most expensive wood and stone finishes known to contemporary design.
How is this new smash-up of esteemed cooking and richly cozy environment? Splendid. Neither too fancy—the $9 burger with classic Minnesota ice-box pickles is just right next to a tap beer after a long day antiquing—nor too plain. The cold-cut plate is actually an ambitious assemblage of house-made charcuterie of chicken-liver pâté enhanced with chopped bacon, slippery and silky headcheese, and ham to rival any artisan-made one from the South. Farm accents like creamed corn cut straight from a cob that came straight from the farm that morning give the place soul. And a daytime menu with easy-to-love options like homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs give it a casual, village-center utility. Service is young, but eager and well-trained. In short, it’s a great restaurant for our times: Just foodie enough for the foodies, just non-foodie enough for everyone else, and a lovely excuse to head to Stillwater. The Kitchen, 324 Main St. S., Stillwater, 651-342-1556, thekitchenstillwater.com