Make no mistake. Although Kin Shop is billed as a Thai restaurant, it uses traditional Thai dishes and ingredients as a stepping stone for the reinterpretations of Chef Harold Dieterle and business partner Alicia Nosenzo, owners of a nearby Perilla. This is actually a welcome sight to the culinary world, as there is thus far nobody I know of, or no restaurant I’ve gone to that wanted to take Thai food to the next chapter.
For this sunny Saturday lunch, I ordered a three-item Prix-Fixe menu: Garam Masala and Tomato Soup, followed by Spiced Ground-Beef filled Martabak (stuffed pan-fried bread), and ended with Galangal Ice Cream. The first two words of the soup appetizer gave me an indication that this was an Indian-influenced Thai place, but then the entrée Martabak did not conjure up Thai cuisine. Martabak, more commonly found in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, had its roots in Saudi Arabia (“mutabbaq” is Arabic for “folded”); which made me think of The Kin Shop more as a pan-Asian restaurant.
The Soup was very spicy and plentiful; I was surprised at the generous helping of it. The garam masala and tomato were accompanied by mung beans, tofu, and holy basil. As each spoon of soup entered, the scent went right up to my nose, giving it a wholesome experience. The Martabak, on the other hand, was just average. The spices somehow got lost inside the filling. The ice cream, although it did have galangal flavor, was too creamy; it would have been better to have the Galangal as a sorbet, or as ice cream, at least not so overpoweringly creamy.
I was hoping that the Chef would do more daring reinterpretations of the traditional Thai dishes and ingredients; but, instead, what I found was not far fetching enough. Still, I would return again to Kin Shop for more of their offerings, and I will return with friends, so that I can enjoy family-style dining, which is the intention of the restaurant. Another reason to come back is that service is excellent, with very friendly, no-attitude wait staff.
The Kin Shop
469 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 675-4295
Fax: (212) 675-4638