One of my household rituals when I arrive in upstate NY involves a trip to Kindred Fare a restaurant in Geneva, NY which opened some time ago. Located right along Rte 5 and 20, and away from the lake front, the restaurant is very surprising in ambience, and edibles. In the latter regard, both food and drink hit is out of the park. While gossip has it that the current chef (Samantha Buyskes) is on her way out, the purveyors of those same rumors say that a new chef is being sought "at a national level." We can only hope as the loss of
Let me elaborate -- even though this review may point a bit toward what is soon to be the past.
I had low expectations of Kindred Fare when I first visited -- though reports had been good. Why? Because of its location. Frankly, I have stayed at a few too many motels or hotels on a main highway and tried out the nearby food. Typically, that food has been pedestrian at best and awful all too often. I assumed this was because the foot traffic would be predictable enough and the engagement temporary enough that, well, the food and ambience could be low quality. Kindred Fare is in a building that is a bit like a strip mall and there is absolutely nothing to look at nearby. (Well, parking lots?) And, to be honest, the hype I was hearing was a bit unbelievable. I was wrong.
Stepping through the (somewhat too large) doorway changed my mind and raised my expectations. While I have seen the design before, with a center bar, an open kitchen, and lots of restored to rustic wood, it was not what I expected in that corner of Geneva. Small tables, a reasonable auditory situation (aka good acoustics and not too loud), and apt lighting. Hmmm, I thought. Not perfect, but above expectations. The aesthetic seems kind of country, while the location is kind of semi-urban. And, the underlying theme is welcome with a tiny soupçon of region.
Kindred Fare, reportedly, is an ok place to eat alone at the bar. (I have eaten at the bar -- but only with my partner.) And, it has a reasonably big dining room so that if you see someone you know you can wave and then either engage them or happily ignore them.
In a return to the early days of this blog, when we had an anonymous bathroom reviewer, I would note that the bathrooms are few but tidy, and the soap quite nice.
I have never had a thing at Kindred Fare that was not tasty and on the edge of surprising. The ingredients are, where possible, local or regional -- and they are put to good use in both novel and trendy ways. Yes, everyone has brussel sprouts or kale salads (or both) these days and Thomas Keller reminded us that fried chicken is a good thing. I am (continuing on my theme of surprise) quite happy to say that Kindred Fare simply has good food.
The Fried Chicken comes in two piece and four piece portions and . . . is quite amazingly good whether consumed fully at the restaurant or a few days later while scrounging in the fridge. It comes with a few spicy pickles (I want more), and add on sides (have I yet spoken to the wonder of their french fries, with salt and rosemary?). The crispiness: perfect. The meat: tender and juicy. IN this instance I would not get the macaroni and cheese side dish. (Not everything is perfect at Kindred Fare.)
I have I admit, witnessed other entrees -- and may even have eaten some of them. But: the fried chicken is memorable.
Salads: In the many times I have been at Kindred Fare, I have often shared a salad. Some are more like "traditional" salads (whatever that means), including their kale caesar, while others are less traditional including their excellent pea salad, a terrific brussel sprouts dish, and more recently a pear and parsnip "salad." The latter was a bit more like roasted vegetables, and the various bits varied in their edibility (in fact some were hard enough as to be impossible to consume). And yet, I would order it again.
Desserts: Unusually, Kindred Fare is not a place where I end to have dessert. This is because I tend to be full when the time arrives. On occasion, I have had ice cream and I can particularly recommend an odd one called mistletoe. I leave it to your imagination when it was served and what the combination of tastes was (not to mention the color).
Drinks: Kindred Fare does highlight a range of liquid refreshments. In addition to a limited selection of nonalcoholic possibilities, they have notable wine, beer and cocktail possibilities. I admit it -- I have had no beer at Kindred Fare. I do, though, want to emphasize that they provide a good selection of local beers (aka flx beers). On wine: On cocktails: Here my capacities as a reviewer come to the fore as I tend to drink cocktails these days. Among those I have tried -- springtime for lafayette, medicine & morality, brooklyn bourbon old-fashioned, for example - the bartender's combination of astute mixology and balance of classic and contemporary approaches -- well, I would go to Kindred Fare for a cocktail only experience. Definitely well done.
And, I have to say": as a fan of Dinner Party Download, I was surprised to hear that the cocktail Medicine and Morality was. . . cleated by Brian as a response to one of their history lessons -- devoted to Elizabeth Blackwell. As you may know, Blackwell went to medical school in Geneva, NY, at a place which some say eventually became Hobart College. You can find the particular episode here and the drink recipe here. Kindred Fare makes its own buckwheat cordial (and yes, upstate NY is known for buckwheat) and the area does have some lovely gins, though this particular drink calls for aged Genever instead.
Also notable: the bartenders and waiters are well educated when it comes not only to the food they are serving but also the wines, beers and cocktails. There is no corkage fee on Mondays, which attracts a range of local wineries and others to use Kindred Fare as a gathering place to try one another wines and . . . rest and recuperate from the hard work of wine production.
Location and Contact: 512 Hamilton Street, Geneva, NY 14456; phone: 315-787-0400
For another reviewer's perspective check out this Democrat and Chronicle piece.