The Bywater: David Kinch’s Casual Homage to Nola
It’s only been two-days since it opened. Myriad Mercedes float pass on this busy strip of N. Santa Cruz Blvd. Naturally, there’s a line at the door long before the restaurant is open for the day; dressed down Los Gatonians speak among themselves about their delight in being able to participate in its popularity. Is there another place where you can see someone with thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery wearing Wrangler jeans in an non-ironic way? I am one of zero people of colour in this line, in the restaurant, probably in this entire town.
The Bywater is inviting and comforting and intimate, the opposite of David Kinch’s Manresa. The Bywater is the type of joint where you want to relax and catch up with a friend. But, you can’t because there are only like 15 tables (most of them being two-tops) and this is the reason there’s a line out the door. No reservations. Menu is sparse, refreshingly. Service feels rushed; I intended on ordering two more dishes until the server took our menu away. I ordered two items to start and when we were finished, I ordered another two items. This was all I felt we could order at any given time in order to fit everything on our narrow two top! I guess I’ll have to return soon to try the other items on the menu. Wanted to order beignets, they said they didn’t have any.
Did get to see Chef David Kinch, looking much more relaxed and jovial. He occasionally glided through the Bywater dining area, smiled with his eyes closed and leaned into people as they conversed on the side of the line. Very endearing.
Fried Green Tomatoes | Oftentimes fried green tomatoes are these dry pucks of sour. But, these little gems were juicy on the inside! I was shocked. Lightly coated crumb on the outside and just the right tinge of tartness. And I don’t even like tomatoes!
Shrimp Po’Boy | Cornmeal crusted sweet shrimp. Bread was strong enough to hold up to the sauce, but light enough so your jaw didn’t start to tap out. Why does shredded lettuce always have this weird saline solution taste to me? This sandwich is delish. Can’t wait to try the oyster version.
Most things on the menu are between $10 – $24