Tuesday, July 19, 2011


524 NW 14th Avenue
Happy Hour: 5 - 6, Tuesday through Friday

Why have I never heard of this place before? It's newer, yes. But why didn't I know it had opened? I suppose I do rely on the internet for a lot of my restaurant research. Perhaps it's time that I get a subscription to Portland Monthly or something similar so that I can KEEP UP.

Happy hour only lasts one hour at Kin, from five to six. It's a perfect lead into dinner which is what I'll try next. They have all sorts of food options, including quite a few vegetarian-friendly dishes. There were three of us this time, so we were able to try almost everything on the menu.

To start, we shared the garbanzo bean puree and an order of wontons. The wontons had THE best flavor of all the dishes I sampled. They were full of corn and coconut and came with a small dish of sweet chili sauce. I know that there was something else in there, though. It couldn't have been the coconut alone adding all that flavor. Wontons are so often stuffed with crab or shrimp or something else I can't eat that I miss out on their crispy fabulousness. Thank you, Kin, for making sure that I get to enjoy this yummy treat, too.

The bean puree had great texture and was a filling dish served with grilled ciabatta bread. The bread was most definitely grilled upon order (everything at Kin is SO fresh) and came with a smokey flavor.

After sharing the first two plates, we each ordered something to try. I opted for the Chinese Eggplant. It was glazed with Miso and came served on a bed of slightly cooked Bok Choy and green beans. I loved the flavor and especially appreciated that this eggplant didn't have the tough skin that it so often has. With the Miso glaze, however, it did seem a bit salty. (That's typical of the dish though, right?)

Not all of the dishes made it to the table at the same time. This, I'm sure, is simply because the kitchen is small and there is so much value in serving each dish when it is at its prime. Having already shared two plates, I was not concerned. If this had been a family dinner, though, I have a feeling that it might cause an issue (unless, of course, you are a part of a family that doesn't require all to have been served before a single fork gets lifted off of the table). I just wouldn't want to be the last person served, I guess.

The remaining dishes were all meat options and so I cannot say too much. The steamed buns were the most popular (and a lot easier to eat than the Malaysian-style chicken wings).

To drink, I went with a cocktail they call The Downpour. It's made of Aviation Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, St. Germain, muddled mint and agave nectar. I haven't always been a fan of grapefruit juice but this drink was done quite well.

Service was exceptional at Kin and something that, in my opinion, makes for a great restaurant (and a return visit). Our server was quick to accommodate all of our needs (and answer all of our questions). She gave great recommendations and didn't mind one bit when we placed a very-last-second order just as happy hour was about to end.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets (but seems a little pricey for dinner--it might be out of my range)



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