Kinfolk’s Soulfood Kitchen
The slogan on the simple Xeroxed menu at Kinfolk’s Soulfood Kitchen, 2115 N. Cincinnati, promises: “Taking you back to your roots!!!”
The restaurant delivers on that promise. We wandered in on a recent evening to find a magnificent-looking assortment of comfort food that included real mashed potatoes with gravy scooped from a huge pan holding delectable-looking baked chicken; a steaming hot pan of neckbones (which, inexplicably, I did not order, despite a favorite childhood memory involving a pot of kraut and neckbones); and big glasses of sweet tea to wash it down. All of it evoked memories of long-ago family dinners and culinary advice handed down from mother to daughter in a kitchen 25 years and 500 miles ago.
It is worth mentioning that Kinfolk’s serves only one kind of tea: sweet.
The proprietors evidently understand that unsweetened tea is not fit to wash down a big helping of homemade sweet potatoes, a bowl of mustard greens swimming in rich pot likker, and a big ol’ slab of cornbread that tastes like it came out of somebody’s mama’s kitchen.
Everything we had was great, but it was the mustard greens that impressed me the most. Anybody can make collards, and turnip greens are a simple enough matter, but it takes real talent to make a good pot of mustard greens, and these were great.
The restaurant — located at Cincinnati and Virgin, in a building that is obviously a holdover from a previous incarnation as a fast-food joint — is clean and comfortable, its walls decorated with cute Norman Rockwell-style prints of African-American families (my favorite was a detailed rendering of two elderly men engrossed in conversation on somebody’s front steps).
The service is quick and friendly, but in all truth, the staff could behave like the Soup Nazi, and I’d still come back at every opportunity, because the food is just too good to pass up.
I overheard one of the employees explaining to a customer that dessert would be available when the weather cooled off, but it was just too hot to bake the night we were there. I suspect this disappointing news was a blessing in disguise, as I had already eaten so much that I was beginning to feel like a character out of a Monty Python sketch, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out what Kinfolk’s can do with a lard crust and a carton of buttermilk.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera with me the evening we were there, so you’ll just have to head up that direction and experience Kinfolk’s wonderful cooking for yourself.
Kinfolk’s Soulfood Kitchen, located at 2115 N. Cincinnati Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (918) 295-8855.
Convenience: B- (longer hours would help)