Eating out as much as we do, it’s rare that we walk away from a meal with our minds absolutely blown. A few times a year, if we’re lucky, we’ll find an Upland or an Emily or a Post Office and rush back to our computers to tell you about it.
Back in 2010, one of those meals was Kin Shop. Opened that year by Harold Dieterle, winner of the first season of Top Chef and owner of excellent American restaurant Perilla, people were talking about it. Most of the discussion was centered around, “Wait, but he’s not Thai?”, because people are smart.
Having a) not watched the first season of Top Chef and b) not eaten at Perilla at the time, we had little to no expectations going in, and came away obsessed after only one meal. Several subsequent meals followed, as did our glowing review.
Aside from the fact that the food was incredible, much of what impressed us about Kin Shop at the time was the fact that we hadn’t seen an exciting Thai restaurant like this in New York City before. Up to that point, if you were serving Thai food in this town and not named Sripraphai, you were a BYOB spot in Murray Hill or a delivery place that nobody should never see the inside of.
These days, a cool northern Thai restaurant isn’t so unique anymore. We’ve got Uncle Boons, Pok Pok, Pig & Khao, Somtum Der, and even some new place that the Somtum Der people opened because selling Thai food in 2015 apparently = get money.
So if Kin Shop isn’t unique, is it still worth going to? Our recent visits would indicate that the answer is absolutely yes. Five years after it opened, this is still an excellent restaurant, with a few trademark dishes that are as good or better than anything you’ll find at those newer spots. The Duck Laab Salad will still blow your mind and also your face off, the noodle dishes are very good, and the curries at Kin Shop are particularly excellent. It’s still a great option for a date with someone adventurous or dinner with your cool parents, and we can even endorse it for lunch when the prices are a little more reasonable. Either way, you should find some time to remind yourself of how good this restaurant is. We’re glad we did.
Spicy Duck Laab Salad
Almost like a ground duck lettuce wrap that’s been marinated in lime juice and fire. It’s the spiciest item on the menu, and you definitely should not mess with this if you can’t handle some heat. The first few bites are incredible, but ten minutes in and you start to feel like you just ate a handful of angry hornets. Tasty, angry hornets.
Fried Pork & Crispy Oyster Salad
Pork belly, greens, and perfectly fried oysters all on one plate, tossed with a chili-lime vinaigrette. Pretty much the perfect Infatuation dish. Don’t you dare not order this.
Maitake Mushroom Drunken Noodles
These noodles are the only thing in this Food Rundown that we can’t guarantee will be on the menu when you visit. They are excellent, but most of the noodle dishes are, so don’t stress if you don’t see them. Move on to something else.
Roasted Duck Breast & Red Curry
Big pieces of perfectly cooked duck breast with a red curry that you wrap up in a crispy roti, drizzle some tasty sauce on, and subsequently freak out over.
Braised Goat & Massaman Curry
Don’t be afraid of this because it’s goat. Embrace it. This is our favorite of the curry options here at Kin Shop, and that photo should be a good indication as to why. It’s really flavorful and excellent.