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What's in a restaurant? In this series, we ask chefs around the city to describe their restaurants in their own words and recommend three dishes that embody the best of what they offer. In this edition, we talk with Patrick Murphy of Kindred about creating comforting, memorable fare that's appropriate for sharing.
2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
"At Kindred, we’re focused on Midwest-inspired, classically rooted dishes," says Executive Chef Patrick Murphy. "It knits together well with my approach, which is to create honest, seasonal food. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but I want to give our guests the highest quality food possible. I’m often drawing from things that I want to eat and that inspires me. Or I want something that’s challenging.
"In some cases, the inspiration comes from the season. I love talking with the farmers and hearing what they have available; one ingredient inspires another. And I love the process as the dish evolves, as we taste it and re-imagine it and it morphs into something even better.
"Among the dishes on the menu that really scream fall, we’re offering seared scallops with a sweet potato puree, Honeycrisp apple, crispy speck, black garlic vinaigrette and pickled mustard seed. It’s a nod to fall; the apples are locally grown. There’s a bit of acid, a bit of smokiness. And the black garlic gives you this really nice umami flavor that pairs really well with the sweet potatoes.
"We also really focus on shareable plates, so the idea is that you can order a number of dishes, share them, chat and be engaged with the food. So, there’s always an eye for portioning. The goal is to really make a dish forkable; you shouldn’t have to struggle with it. And the dishes are playful and delicious.
"Ideally, during a visit to Kindred, you’re going to enjoy a great meal, great conversation and hopefully leave with some new friends."
1. Black pepper spaetzle
Black pepper dumpling, aged gouda, sauerkraut crumb ($7)
"With this dish we really started with the idea of macaroni and cheese, but we turned to spaetzle instead of pasta to reflect Milwaukee’s German heritage. We dehydrated sauerkraut to make a sauerkraut crumb; it gives the dish a bit of tang. And the spaetzle is bathed in a cheese sauce made with aged Gouda. Growing up, I always added a bunch of black pepper to my macaroni and cheese, so we added it to this dish. It adds a nice depth and another layer of flavor."
Country fried, potato rosti, braised cabbage, caper soubise ($12)
"This is our take on a fish fry. All the key components are there. There’s country fried trout, crispy potato rosti, braised red cabbage and charred broccolini with crispy caper soubise. For the fish, I wanted to stay away from the traditional panko or beer batter. I toyed with a corn batter, almost like you’d use for corn dogs, but then I was inspired by the idea of country fried fish. The soubise pairs really well with the trout; the acid cuts the fat a bit, and gives it a pop of flavor."
3. Pork tagliatelle
Housemade pasta, pork ragout, basil ricotta ($16)
"First off, I love pasta. I bought my own pasta rollers, and I’ve been going to different places, eating pasta and really playing with a lot of different recipes. So, this dish is really the product of that passion. It’s one of the first housemade pasta dishes that we’ve rolled out, and there will be more, including some stuffed pasta. There’s a lobster and goat cheese pasta that’s on the horizon. For this dish, the goal was to create a really nice, comforting pork bolognese. We start the sauce really early in the morning and it cooks all day. And that’s served atop a housemade tagliatelle along with a dollop of housemade ricotta with basil. The idea is that you take the dish and stir the ricotta into it, so it gets really nice and creamy."
Kindred is open Tuesdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.
During happy hour, offered Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., Kindred offers five dishes from just $5 each as well as $2 off house cocktails and draft beer. On Sunday evenings, they host Sunday suppers during which shareable family-style entrees are available for groups of two or more.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.