Restaurant week drew me to Kin Shop’s doors, but the a la carte menu is why I stayed and would easily come back. This Thai Restaurant, owned by Top Chef Season 1 winner, Harold Dieterle, draws a hip, young crowd. It’s very appropriately located on the outskirts of the West Village with their whimsical and playful menu that combines spices and simple ingredients. The simple décor utilizes blues, greens and whites creating almost an ocean side feel. The light, wooden tables are situated close together, but with just enough space to not feel claustrophobic.
We were seated relatively quickly, debating what to order. All of the dishes being served around us looked absolutely incredible. Eventually, Rachel decided to still try restaurant week, since the dishes were unique to Kin Shop’s menu. I ordered a la carte, sticking the appetizer section. To start, Rachel ordered the Kale Salad and I went for the Pork Meatball Soup.
We asked for side plate and bowls for prime sharing. For the soup, they brought over a ladle to help with the pouring process. They must have known how messy we can be.
I decided to start with the kale salad, a fresh way to start off my meal. One bite and I was overwhelmed with the combination of flavors. Immediately you taste the subtle, but prevalent heat of the ghost chili vinaigrette. I am not usually one for heat, but this was addictive. The sweetness of the jackfruit, which had the same consistency and sweetness of the mango, along with the cherry tomatoes created the perfect counterbalance to the chili. The crunchy kale has quickly become my favorite salad green, giving that extra bitter flavor that many other lettuces lack. Of course the tofu gave a nice bite of crunch, but retained the creamy, flavorful interior, soaking up all of the flavors within the dish. It acted as the perfect medium between all of the components. This was a great salad.
The soup proved to be more memorable then the salad. The rich, flavorful broth had an unusual lightness to it, despite the heavy flavors. The meatball had the perfect seasoning, giving a little bite of spice, which was immediately cooled down by the pork itself. The bok choy added an innate freshness to the dish, proving to be even more delicious when sitting in broth then its traditional preparation. This would be the perfect soup on a cold winter’s day, curled up next to a warm fire. It was the perfect comfort food.
For my main dish, I knew the Fried Pork and Crispy Oyster Salad was a must. Forget about the caloric value, I needed to try this gem of fried goodness. Rachel ordered my favorite version of noodles, Pad See Ew with Stir Fried Pork Belly. This meal was not for the kosher. It was a pork party.
The delicious flavorful noodles elevated my favorite dish with the salty pork belly and sweet fish sauce. The crunch of the broccoli rabe created the –perfect fresh element to an otherwise heavy, decadent dish. The broth seeped into the noodles, making them melt in your mouth. The fat from the rich pork added so much needed flavor to all of the ingredients. It was delicious and made for a wonderful lunch when warmed up the next day.
But the Crispy Pork and Oyster Salad should not be missed. This dish is special. They take two of the most coveted culinary ingredients, oysters and pork belly, and deep fry these delights to achieve the most wonderful crispy exterior. The magic to this dish is their ability to respect the integrity of the ingredients, keeping flavor and moisture retained inside. The oyster burst with flavors, like the way a fresh, on the half shell preparation would, but the crunch gave it a whole new dimension of texture. Gone were the days of the slimy oyster. This could make the fearful, believers. Paired with the crunchy, pickled celery and onions, the perfect bite of acidity added to the crunch and richness of the pork belly and oysters. The sweet watercress on top with the crunchy peanuts added an innate freshness and flavor to the dish. Overall, it was the work of a culinary, wicked genius; absolute delicious. I would come back for this dish alone.
In addition, the service here was wonderful, with the manager, Peter being insanely attentive, along with the intelligent and fun waiter. The entire service and meal proved to be delicious and lived up to all of the hype. My dad, who is the toughest Asian food critic, would absolutely love this place, and that is saying a lot. I can’t wait to come back with a larger group and indulge in even more of the delicious dishes Kin Shop has to offer.
Kin Shop - 469 6th Avenue - New York, NY