A sizable and eager crowd gathered at the corner of 30th and Beech Streets in South Park on Saturday night for the soft opening of KINDRED, the neighborhood's new restaurant and cocktail bar that's been a year in the making in the former Alchemy space.
The death metal lair-meets-Victorian salon is the brainchild of Kory Stetina, who founded the vegan pop-up LOVELIKEBEER; for his first restaurant project, Stetina scored hit-makers Arsalun Tafazoli (CH Projects) and Paul Basile (BASILE Studio) as his partners. A 35-foot marble bar dominates the room, where seating ranges from communal tables to bar-height booths and a cozy connecting set of tete-a-tete tables. The Basile-designed space contrasts dark and light, soft and hard; steel cathedral-esque flip doors are balanced by an LED-lighted mirrored ceiling while the looming ink-black sculpture of the restaurant's totem, a four-eyed wolf with snake horns, is flanked by walls bedecked in delicate pink toile. And there is humor at play; look closer at the pattern of the wall covering and find satanic versions of Rainbow Brite, while the restrooms are hung with cat portraits.
Stetina brought over executive chef Jeremy Scullin, from Philly vegan stalwart Vedge, to helm a menu that aims to be hearty and satisfying while bringing fine dining technique to the table; there's grain-free beet risotto, seared cauliflower steaks, pistachio-crusted tofu and housemade farinata flatbread topped with aji amarillo aioli, crispy trumpet mushrooms and house salsa verde; a weekend brunch, starting New Year's Day, will include almond granola with cashew cream and fried potato bread with smoked date jam, mango and mint Expect the housemade nut cheeses, developed with White Labs, to emerge from their cave in a couple of months.
David Kinsey (Sycamore Den, Craft & Commerce) leads a bar program whose drinks are crafted like any fine cocktail parlor, just without the use of eggs, dairy or honey; the menu will change three times a year, but remain focused on the wonderful world of amari herbal liqueurs. Starting in January, KINDRED will launch "Permanent Vacation", weekly tiki Thursdays that will feature dedicated cocktails and theme-appropriate food; it will also be the only night of the week when the bar deviates from its all-metal soundtrack.