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Thursday, November 15, 2012

DeRushaEats: The Kenwood, The Kids, and The Brandade

DeRushaEats: The Kenwood, The Kids, and The Brandade

Is it a successful night out eating when your five and seven-year-olds have the following conversation:

Five-year-old: Brandade is my new favorite food.

Seven-year-old: Better than pizza?

Five-year-old: I love brandade!

Seven-year-old: Me too! (Both start singing "Brandade! Brandade!")

That happened at Don Saunders' new neighborhood restaurant, The Kenwood. And the brandade (salted cod, cured overnight, flaked, and processed with potatoes, milk, garlic, and a hint of cayanne pepper into a creamy dip-like dish; pictured lower left) was worthy of singing about.

I'm a big fan of Chef Saunders from his now-closed restaurant Fugaise and his current place In Season. The Kenwood is different—it aspires to be more Tilia-like: fine dining techniques in a casual, almost always open spot tucked into a neighborhood (Kenwood, obviously).

The restaurant looks like what I can only imagine the living rooms of some of the fancy, enormous homes in the neighborhood are like: elegant, upscale casual. And the food is excellent.


We started with a very simple grilled romaine salad ($6, shown above right), topped with boquerones ($3). The salad was topped with a very clever egg yolk emulsion and a dijon vinaigrette. Boquerones are for people afraid of anchovies—because the anchovy is marinated in vinegar and garlic, so it takes some of the intensity out. It was delicate and delicious.

Scallops are always a good test of a kitchen, and the small plate here is spectacular. They were smaller scallops, instead of the monsters many restaurants serve, which in Saunders' hands proved to be extremely flavorful and sweet. The plate was artfully arranged, with orange, fennel, and sunchoke (artichoke-like-vegetable). My wife and I shared it ($14) and it didn't sit in front of us for long.

The oyster sandwich was great: beautifully fried oysters with little cubes of pork belly adding a bit of sweetness. Then crunchy sweet and sour cabbage with a mustard aioli. All for just $12.


The kids menu isn't your ordinary fare, and it might be the one thing the restaurant needs to tweak to really be successful as a family dining destination. The food is excellent—my wife and I loved the pesto pasta my seven-year-old ordered (although he found it to have too much of a pesto flavor), and the steak and fries would have been a glorious dish for adults. While the $12 for the steak is absolutely reasonable and the $7 for the pasta is as well, I'm not sure if those prices (no drink included) are sustainable for repeated visits.


That concerns me, because if I lived near Kenwood, I'd want The Kenwood to be my neighborhood haunt. I live in Maple Grove, and it's worth the drive. A place where an intense food-lover will find exciting, interesting dishes, the more casual diner has plenty of approachable options, and the kids are welcomed. Sing it with me: BRANDADE!

The Kenwood Restaurant
2115 West 21st Street, Mpls.
612-377-3695 ‎ · thekenwoodrestaurant.com

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Nov 15, 2012 01:04 pm
 Posted by  Fresh Tart

I'm a big fan too! Tralalaaa! Had that salad just yesterday. Stole fries off Tracy Morgan's plate (excellent, crispy-perfect fries) and swiped them through that lovely dressing. That's a move.

Nov 15, 2012 09:00 pm
 Posted by  Anon

Kids Menu?? Thanks for the warning.

Nov 16, 2012 08:40 am
 Posted by  Jason DeRusha

I should probably alert people whenever there will be judgmental snooty diners like ANON at restaurants too, so the rest of us can avoid those places.

Nov 16, 2012 10:42 am
 Posted by  Anon

Haha, you would never know I was there... unlike annoying singing children.

Nov 16, 2012 05:16 pm
 Posted by  JasonRoss

I'm heading to NYC for the Holiday. I hope to take the girls (6 and 9) for their first "fancy" meal -splurge, let them play dress-up and teach them a little about fine dining. I called Jean Georges to make a reservation. Kids under 10 need not apply.

Nov 17, 2012 12:39 pm
 Posted by  galamaria

Holy crap, did I just read Mr. Derusha's response to "anon" correctly? Unbelievably rude.

Nov 17, 2012 02:23 pm
 Posted by  Jason DeRusha

Galamaria- ANON seemed to take my remark in the spirit it was intended. I find the blanket anti-kid attitude to be ridiculous. I didn't mean to be out of line - can you be rude to an anonymous commenter? I'm not sure.

Nov 18, 2012 12:01 pm
 Posted by  ANONNNNN

I wasn't posting to be rude like you were. I'm sure your kids are as awesome as you think they are. Its pretty obvious I hit a chord.

It's not anti-kid. My point is your article 'highlights' what sounds like a dining nightmare. How many (anti-kid people as you call them) would want to deal that? It's rude when parents put the blinders up and they annoy other diners. I've had it happen too many times and in restaurants where I should be enjoying my $$$ food and drink.

Sorry you're so offended.
If make up a name how is that any different that ANON? I might as well have called myself Devil-Child-Hater, how's that?

Nov 19, 2012 01:49 pm
 Posted by  eyesrolling

Anon, two kids singing "Brandade" is a "dining nightmare" to you? Good lord. I don't like it when kids are annoying in restaurants, either, and I especially hate it if it's my own kids being annoying, but here's what you said: If there's a kid's menu, I won't go there. Presumably because there might be kids there. That sounds pretty anti-kid. Even if you're just anti-kid-in-restaurant, you put most establishments in an impossible position. Most restaurants attempt to lure in parents with a smaller priced menu for their kids, because otherwise those parents might not be eating out--and spending money--at all. If you want kid-free, then eat late.

And talk about striking a chord--you sound awfully wounded and defensive in your last response.

Nov 19, 2012 09:11 pm
 Posted by  Jason DeRusha

My goodness. Sorry this turned out this way... and is a distraction from a really fine restaurant! I shouldn't have said anything. Original ANON: clearly you were just literally thanking me for the warning that there was a kids menu. I'm so sorry for misreading your comment as judgmental and snooty.

I took my family to the restaurant at 5pm, it was fairly empty. The kids were not engaged in a full-on Brandade chorale. I'm sure you've never been at a restaurant with adults speaking loudly. It's only kids annoying, right?

I have no idea is ANONNNNN is the same person as ANON. I dine out all the time, and rarely encounter annoying children, or annoying adults. I think some people are just looking for something to complain about. But if you don't want to be around kids, that's certainly your choice.

Parents should be respectful of other diners: if we go somewhere nice, we go early. But other diners need to realize that they are sometimes the problem, not the children. The loud talkers, the flash-photo-takers, the people who can't talk without using profanity.

Rude is rude. Young, old, parental, or childless.

On the bright side: It's nice to see the comment section of this blog still works.

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