Chef Simmons serves up oysters
There are a few very good restaurants in this neighborhood that have remained under the radar, hidden gems that haven't gotten the buzz that certain others have been bestowed with. For beter or worse, they remain popular only with those who are "in the know," and while on one hand it's nice to be in on a secret, on the other we really want to see these places succeed. Convivium Osteria up on Fifth comes to mind, and in my opinion Kiwiana, on Union Street just west of Seventh, is one of the more noteworthy restaurants to open in the area in years. It's one of the most surprisingly unique and delicious restaurants in the neighborhood, serving up fare from chef/owner Mark Simmons' native New Zealand, and on Monday they celebrated their first year in business.
For the occasion, Simmons (who appeared on Top Chef and spent time at local spots Melt and Get Fresh) opened up the downstairs room (top) and brought in a jazz trio along with plenty of champagne and oysters. The bartender mixed up their signature house cocktails, and the wait staff passed around some of the dishes that have gained the restaurant plenty of loyal regulars, including fried chicken, braised baby back ribs (above), curried oysters, pulled pork sliders, and mini lamb burgers, topped with whole grain mustard, beets, and a fried egg (below).