“Kaufmann's Tavern is now J. Kings - and the food is delicious!”
We went here because the restaurant showed up on restaurant.com - we thought the location looked familiar, and turns out that's because it was: J. Kings is actually the new name for Kaufmann's Tavern. Their "official grand opening" is 02JUN12. There's an interesting story behind this change, though. Apparently Mr. King bought this restaurant more than 10 years ago, but in deference to the original owner and the local clientele, he did so with the agreement that he would keep the original name for 10 years. I find it absolutely amazing that in this day and age that someone kept that kind of agreement, even though the original owner died several years ago. That was refreshing and gives you an idea of the kind of values the owner has. So though J. Kings is "new", it's anything but ...
The place started out as a local place for crabs, and it's true to form - there's still plenty of crabs, with paper on the table inside or out. We went for steak, though (actually, that's one of the restaurant.com restrictions) but we were just as happy as we're not really crab-pickers. They have a Sunday brunch - many yeas ago we went to one of their "special occasion" brunches (Valentines Day), which was very good - lots of food. Not sure if that's the case now - the menu on the wall seemed to be kind of brief - but I think it just listed "categories" of food - my expectation is that there will be lots of good choices if you go. It's expensive, too ($22), but its all you can eat.
on atmosphere: inside has a bar on one side, there's a special event room (which was in use, and though the parking lot was PACKED, the restaurant had seats. A pleasant surprise - so don't let full parking lot fool you into passing by in fear of a wait. There's an outside dining area, and they do pick-up and catering too. On WED-SAT they have live bands, but I'm not sure where they set up and the impact on dining. The inside was a little dark, but we prefer that - it gives a more intimate feel. The walls have a lot of sports memorabilia/pictures. Apparently Mr. King is a Redskins fan but gives the Ravens their fair due as he's technically in Ravens country. This restaurant could fit any of the categories noted on trip advisor - single, couples, families, groups - business or casual.
The service - great! We had a wonderful waitress, and she was prompt and helpful. She shared the stories with us when we asked about the pictures, and we found that kind of interaction very likeable. There weren't very many people in the dining room when we went - it was about 5:30 Pm, so still a little early.
The food: oh my goodness, it was excellent. It was pricey, and we were happy to have had the coupon, but the meat portions were huge. We got the strip and the prime rib - both were big portion sizes, which was nice since the price was $26 each. The prime rib was done a little more than the requested medium, but still tender and tasty. The strip had a wonderful seasoning. The julienne vegetables (their standard side) were outstanding - sweet and garlic-y, a very pleasant surprise we both thoroughly enjoyed. The red bliss potatoes were also quite tasty. We got a calamari appetizer - always a gamble because we're pretty particular. These were good, not too chewy and a very pleasant crispy coating. The tomato sauce for dipping was EXCELLENT - sweet with nice chunks of tomato. The tea was good, too (not wimpy and watered down, as so many are). We had leftovers, and those veggies went into a wonderful omelet the next day - and they were still nice and crisp and delicious.
Our only real complaint was that the price was really high. At first we thought that it was over-priced, but we were really so happy with our dinner that we revised our original assessment to simply "high priced" - but the coupon made it reasonable. Those steaks were huge! I maked this under $$ for cost per person using trip-advisors criteria - I think that's misleading because the cost was really in the $$$ range.
I am going to write this review up under J. Kings, too. It doesn't yet show up under Trip Advisor, so I want to be sure that the new name gets its props - especially since it took them so long to be able to use it! Their website will give you more info: http://www.jkingsrestaurant.com
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.