Employees were stocking the pantry at Kinship on Tuesday after the D.C. Department of Health gave Eric Ziebold the green light to start cooking at the first restaurant where he will hold the dual title of chef and owner.

Ziebold is still waiting on one last permit but expects to open Kinship on Saturday at 1015 Seventh St. NW., just across from the Washington Convention Center near Mount Vernon Square. Ziebold is calling it a soft opening: The 75-seat Kinship will be open for dinner only and will be closed on New Year's Eve.

Expect a more official launch sometime around Jan. 4, with brunch service starting later in the same month. OpenTable will start accepting reservations on Saturday for Kinship only. Ziebold's related fine-dining concept, Métier, is not expected to open until early February.

Saturday's service will mark the first time Ziebold has cooked for the public since December 2014, when he put a period on his astonishing 10-year run at CityZen, the fine-dining destination inside the Mandarin Oriental. The chef says he has had plenty of time to ponder and fine-tune his opening menu, which will apparently include a few carryovers from CityZen. One is the Parmigiano-Reggiano agnolotti with lamb bacon, and another is the chocolate chip cookie dough souffle.

Kinship's a la carte menu will be divided into four categories, each named for a particular source of inspiration for Ziebold and his culinary team: craft, history, ingredients and indulgence. The chef says diners can create their own tasting menus by selecting items from each category such as corned beef cheeks, sticky toffee pudding, brandade chowder, foie gras-stuffed quail and aoyagi clams seviche. (See the tentative menu below.)

"Kinship isn't a bistro. We're trying to make it more accessible from a standpoint of it being a la carte," Ziebold says. "Hopefully, this is a more relaxed, more open environment [than CityZen] but where you can still enjoy great food and great service in a great dining room."

Among the planned indulgences is butter-poached lobster French toast, which incorporates the preferred flavors of both Ziebold (salty) and his wife and business partner, Celia Laurent Ziebold (sweet). The sweetness, the chef says, comes from lobster stock that when reduced "way, way down" takes on a naturally caramelized flavor.

There's a fifth section on the menu called "for the table," and it will include a soon-to-be signature item at Kinship: a whole roast chicken in which a lemony garlicky brioche-panade is tucked under the bird's skin.

"It’s that extra little step that hopefully elevates it a little bit,” Ziebold says, his Midwestern penchant for understatement in full expression.

More important, perhaps, to those who miss CityZen, the "for the table" dishes will come with an order of — yep, you guessed it — Parker House rolls, which Ziebold made famous at his former restaurant. The rolls will not be included in Kinship's main bread service, only as part of the large-format plates.

Kinship will offer a la carte dishes, but Métier will be a tasting-menu-only experience located on the lower level. When Métier opens in February, diners who snag one of the restaurant's 36 seats will enjoy canapes and cocktails in one space before moving into the dining room to experience the full tasting menu.

Kinship opens Saturday for dinner at 1015 Seventh St. NW., kinshipdc.com. Reservations will be accepted on OpenTable starting on Saturday.

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