Kin Shop has been open for some time now, but until recently, I had never made it there despite hearing good things and a desire to go. In fact, it has been open long enough now, that one doesn’t hear much about it at all, especially in light of some more recent Thai accented openings. That’s a pity, because it’s a nice place with good food in an excellent, accessible location.
I met my son and my sister there for lunch. The place was otherwise devoid of customers when we showed up at 1:30 on a Monday afternoon. Shortly after, a few more tables filled, but it wasn’t busy. Sometimes, that means that the service staff or kitchen may not care and they might just go through the motions. Happily, that wasn’t the case, as the service staff were attentive and pleasant and the kitchen put out some great, fresh food.
I had a very good cocktail, the Andalusian Smoke. It blended Hidalgo sherry with Vida Mezcal, Peychaud’s bitters, basil and lemon. Sherry is an ingredient of the moment in cocktails and for good reason. I love sherry and am happy to see it making a full-fledged resurgence, either straight up or, as here, in a cocktail.
My sister, who was driving, enjoyed a “Ruby Slipper” hot tissane of blood orange and hibiscus.
My son started with a Slow Burn. It consisted of Tequila, lime juice, calamansi nectar and a house made ghost chili syrup. The ghost chili, as expected, provided a little heat, but not too much. It could have used perhaps a touch more in that department.
Additional heat came with the duck laab, a nicely spiced and well balanced version of the Thai classic.
My spice-fearing sister ordered a salad with fresh papaya and candied cashews, that also proved to be well balanced and not overtly sweet.
Broccoli was fried in a tempura-like fashion and served with a complex sweet and sour sauce and Chinese sausage. It was tasty and once again balanced. Thai food doesn’t shy away from sugar and carbs and even when well balanced carbs are well represented, but too many Thai restaurants in the US don’t know or don’t want to know how to reign the sweetness in and keep their dishes interesting and delicious across the palate. Harold Dieterle and his staff manage to accomplish that and this dish was a prime example. It could easily have skewed to a gloppy sweetness, especially since it didn’t pack any significant heat, but it didn’t. The sour elements came through nicely and everything continued harmoniously.
A generous portion of Thai fried chicken came out from the kitchen piping hot and needed¹ to be photographed before we could even attempt to eat it. This was a superb version of fried chicken, flavored with a variety of delicious Thai elements and an exquisitely crisp crust.
Rice “flakes” with squid was a mild noodle dish that was good, but paled next to the other dishes that we had ordered.
All in all, this was very satisfying lunch. It was very tasty, reasonable and pleasant. I would happily return when in the area and looking for good, tasty Thai, though it wasn’t so good that I would go far out of my way to go there. There are certainly more “authentic” and “better” Thai restaurants in NYC and elsewhere, but Kin Shop deserves to be in the discussion of worthwhile restaurants, given the quality, value and location.
¹An insipid argument against restaurant food photography is that it allows dishes to get cold and not be at their peaks. This dish was so fresh out of the fryer that it was impossible to eat it immediately without suffering burns. In this case, taking a few photos was a clear plus.