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kin shop.

30 Nov 2010

Sometimes you go to a restaurant and you want it to be amazing.  Well, I’m assuming that we’d all like the food we eat to be completely sublime, even if it’s just the dumpling place down the street from the local, or Punjabi, just downstairs from where I used to live.  And sometimes the cheap eats let us down, but at least they fill us up.  Sometimes $2 for a warmed up samosa smothered in chana masala, yogurt, and hot sauce is all you need. 

But other times you pay that little extra with the expectations of being wowed.  Or at least find yourself mmmm’ing and nodding your head and thinking man, this is really lovely.  Please give me more of this food.  Now.  I may not dream about this food tomorrow or next week, but right now, oh yes oh yes.  I come across many of those spots, where the ambiance is nice, I can hear myself think (usually), I like what I’m eating, and the price is reasonable, less than a fancy meal but more than my local delivery spot.   These places are a-ok. 

And then there’s Kin Shop, Harold Dieterle’s new Thai place on Sixth Avenue down in the Village.  Man, I really wanted to like Kin Shop.  Serious Eats loved Kin Shop.  I don’t always agree with their reviews, but when a reputable food website says that this is some of the best Thai food outside of Thailand, and the best Thai in NYC, well, it’d better be pretty close.  And …. it wasn’t.   I mean, it wasn’t bad, and I guess it was more than solid.  But it just didn’t move me.  And on a Friday night after a long week, I really wanted to be moved. 

Eddie and I agreed that everything tasted fine, but none of the dishes came together as a whole.  There was always one slightly off-note in each dish that made it hard to fully enjoy what was at hand.  Duck laab salad was fiery and tasty, but you couldn’t really tell that it was duck, and sweet jesus, it was spicier than it needed to be (and we both like our spicy food quite a bit).  Bone marrow came with something sort of creamy, maybe mayo?, that threw me off a bit.  The fried pork and fried oyster salad needed one extra thing to bind it together — each ingredient tasted great on its own, but together the flavors were somewhat hollow, as if the integration of flavors worked to cancel out any flavor.

The curries: The red curry with duck came out as a plate of sliced duck meat with a little pitcher of red curry that you could pour atop the meat.  Tasted fine, but when I want a curry, I really do want a big mess of curry that I can sop up with bread or rice (and, to be sure, the roti that came with our duck was pretty great).  Massaman curry with goat was probably my favorite (though Eddie didn’t like it nearly as much as I did).  Incredibly tender braised goat meat, falling off the bone.   Though the curry had a nice depth of flavor, it still needed a little something; it wasn’t quite melding with the goat the way I’d like.

So … yeah.  We didn’t love it.  But the nice thing about sharing a meal, however disappointing, is that you’re sharing a meal.  Eddie and I, though longtime pals via the local, hadn’t ever gone out one on one before.  (There was a spectacular afternoon of multiperson dim sum and wine and fake angulas not long ago, but that’s another story entirely.)  And it was absolutely lovely!  Twas quite nice to talk about non-local matters, make plans for future fooding, and to laugh throughout the meal at our pre-dinner celebrity sighting: none other than Elvis Costello, looking so much like Elvis Costello that we thought there was no way it could be him.  The hat, the glasses, the scarf — everything.  Our hostess told us that he’d just finished eating at the restaurant when we ran into him outside on the sidewalk, talking on his cellphone.  I wonder if he was telling his wife about how sometimes, you just want a restaurant to be amazing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 Dec 2010 3:42 am


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