131 North Main Street
A chef-driven restaurant. Stylized-white and minimalist interior. A large wall of wine. An upstairs eating area. The good kind of scotch. Thighs. Pretzel bread in a bowl. Barely there jean shorts, the kind where the front pockets peak out from underneath. Thank yous. I was there with my girlfriend. I should not be looking. But I had to find out – yep, ask-cheeks in clear view with fresh food.
Just north of Charlotte is the small college town of Davidson, NC. Davidson is an upper middle class town that mainly revolves around Davidson College, an elite liberal arts college that attracts the brainy and the super-awkward – think, smart enough to get into Harvard, but not social enough to wield any power that us normal folks need to be worried about. As a result, Davidson doesn’t have to worry about late night college parties. In fact, other than the actual college, you can barely tell a college is in this town, at any time of the year, or any time of night.
And that’s why a restaurant like Kindred can exist in a small college town like Davidson. It doesn’t have to worry about loud drunks falling over themselves on the sidewalk just outside their doors.
I have been interested in trying Kindred for some time, and I finally tried it out this past week. We were seated on the main floor, in a small two person table, relatively close to the couples on either side of us. I’ve been in similarly confined restaurants, but in most, I’m able to hear my partner’s words easily, and can barely hear the tables to my sides. At Kindred, the conversations were more communal, with all the words being spoken, swirling together above our heads, and descending back down into our ears, leaving us all responsible for deciphering exactly what was being said to us.
We were first greeted by a young man in a drab t-shirt who briefly ran down the night’s menu and asked for our wine order. A young lady then came by not long after to see if we had decided on anything, or if we had any final questions. She too looked like a college aged person, casually dressed, but appropriate. Soon, delicious milk bread was brought over, which, by itself, would have made the night.
Then, the thighs.
We ordered the duck fat potatoes (think delicious French fries), the wagyu beef tartare with horseradish, egg yolk, truffle anise hyssop, the scallops a la plancha, the red curry sweet potato soup, and the speckled trout.
Everything was delicious. Everything. From the starter milk bread, that I still dream about, to the beef tartare, which we both said was the best dish we had ordered by far, to the scallops which we perfect, and the trout, which simply hit the spot.
Nothing that entered my mouth at Kindred was less than outstanding, and I’m wondering how soon I can return for the food, without it being too soon.
But, then there were the thighs. The short-shorts. The creases of a young woman’s butt – too young – criss-crossing the room the entire night. It is the delicately planned design of the restaurant to be high end (the food), but also a little casual, a little too casual (the college, the staff), so that the wealthy patrons can feel hip while slumming it in a “safe space”, while the regular folks having a very special night can still feel comfortable.
It’s environments like Kindred that make me wonder…”What were they thinking when they hired her?”
Did she come in appropriately dressed for the interview, and then they oh-so-carefully asked her if she would be willing to dress more provocatively? Did she come in looking like a college-aged student, who had never been taught how to dress for an interview, and the restaurant decided to go with it, seeing the youthful/sexualized aesthetic as something that could be valuable to the high end restaurant? Or am I just a prude?
All reasonable questions, but the question I am most interested in, “When ass-cheeks are introduced to the dining experience, who initiated the relationship? The owner of said ass-cheeks or the owner of the establishment?”
Either way, while the food was amazing, and the night was very enjoyable, in the future, I prefer my dinners with my girlfriends to be sans ass cheeks, except, of course, for my girlfriend’s.