Kin Shop

by Ada on May 20, 2011

To continue our culinary saga, my grandmother and I headed to Kin Shop for dinner. My grandmother actually suggested this restaurant after reading a review on Serious Eats. Yes, my grandma is that cool that she reads Serious Eats. I had been eager to try the restaurant, the latest venture of Top Chef alum Harold Dieterle, and was happy she suggested it.

We had reservations for 6:15pm, but happened to be in the neighborhood early. The hostess was extremely kind and accomodating and allowed us in early.

Upon perusing the menu we noticed many dishes that peaked our interests. To maximize the amount sampled, we decided to split a few main courses.

First up was the roasted king mushrooms in a sour yellow curry with bamboo shoots, garbanzo beans, and turnips.

The curry sauce was absolutely magnificent, both comforting and inspired. The mushrooms absorbed the sauce nicely,though they were meager in quantity. Instead the dish was overrun by rogue bamboo shoots that offered little dimensionality or flavor. A few pickled turnips also floated among the broth, adding an element of titillation to a classic curry.

Next up was the pan-roasted John Dory, listed as a house speciality.

The dish also contained adorable crawfish, bok choy and, yet again, bamboo shoots. Sure, bamboo shoots may sound like some mystical tuber used as primitive viagra, but they taste like nothing. Perhaps they provide a nice textural contrast, but so do other, more flavorful items. Such as the bok choy. The fish was fresh. The crustaceans were cute. But, honestly, this dish did not arouse my taste buds. The curry sauce was creamily seductive, yet simultaneously too mellow for such a neutral fish. I needed more depth of flavor. I needed more spice. I needed Harold Dieterle to come out wearing nothing but a chef’s apron. Ok, I’ve gone too far.

As an accompaniment to our dishes we opted for the steamed sticky rice, a great vehicle for sopping up excess sauce.

Next up was the roasted duck breast with a red curry sauce.

The waitress kindly instructed us to wrap the duck with the provided accoutrements in the roti to create a Thai-themed taco.

The roti:

When our server placed down the duck, I knew we were in trouble. As you can probably tell from the picture, the duck was dry. The curry sauce helped slightly salvage the bird, which tasted quite good wrapped with the basil and roti. The roti arrived piping hot and practically dripping with oil. The grease indicated its high degree of freshness. This dish wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. A moister duck breast would certainly elevate the level of this entree.

The dessert menu only lists ice cream, perfect for this dairy lover! We decided the share the Thai iced tea and Thai coffee-chocolate flavors.

First up was the Thai iced tea. A whimsical play on the classic Thai beverage, this scoop possessed distinctive notes of tea and a perfect level of sweetness. The texture was a bit icey, but I still enjoyed it.

Next up was the Thai coffee-chocolate, which bore no textural resemblance to the tea sibling. The consistency was more like a frozen mousse, wonderfully smooth and creamy. I could not detect any notes of coffee, but the dark, alluring chocolate really shone through.

A terrible picture of the interior:

Overall, I was a tad disappointed with my experience at Kin Shop. The menu was beautifully constructed, with careful detail paid into every element of every dish, but the execution lacked that same heightened level of attention. Don’t get me wrong, the food was definitely good. Maybe even great. It just didn’t make me want to quit school and head to Thailand. I feel that the excessive hype surrounding these celebrity chefs perpetuates unrealistic expectations. Honestly, the chef could be from Top Motorcycle Rider and I would not care, as long as he concocts interesting and delicious cuisine. And, seriously, if I see one more bamboo shoot I may get kong-fu on someone. But, Chef Diertle, if you are reading this and looking for a wife, I would be happy to oblige:)

Thank you, Grandma, for another wonderful meal!

Kin Shop on Urbanspoon

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess (In My Healthy Opinion) May 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

Wow, another amazing looking meal; you and your grandma eat well! :) I know what you mean about the celeb chefs though – if the food is good, that’s really all that matters!

I’d loooove to try that thai coffee-chocolate ice cream. :)

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Megan May 20, 2011 at 1:48 am

I love making sticky rice soak up the excess curry sauce! In fact, thats my favorite part of eating thai curry. Not a drop of spicy coconuty goodness left behind on this girls plate. :)
And Thai Iced Tea ice cream!? Im not a big fan of the drink because its so rich, but I can imagine it being a superb ice cream flavor!

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sofia May 20, 2011 at 2:12 am

hehe, this review cracked me up! love your detailed descriptions interspersed with silly commentary :) i have to say that i’ve been to perilla twice and was only sorta impressed, but not blown away. it’s hard with these celebrity chefs – we expect SO much out of them, sometimes i think my taste buds are altered when i sit down to eat. alas, i still enjoy trying their restaurants. it’s somehow exciting. hm.

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Eleah May 20, 2011 at 6:23 am

That first dish looks so good! I love, love, love curry sauce!
I couldn’t tell that the duck was dry.. now I know exactly what to look for in pictures. :D

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Erica May 20, 2011 at 6:24 am

I love that your Grandma is a cool foodie too :) Bummer that the restaurant turned out to just be ok! Seems like the roti and ice cream were the highlights!

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Hannah May 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

Even if the curry wasn’t utterly spectacular, it SOUNDS amazing! Mushroom, pickles turnips, chickpeas…. wow.

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Kelly May 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

oh, I didn’t know Harold had a new restaurant! I love his first, Perilla. It’s one of my favs. Sorry you didn’t completely enjoy it – maybe they’re still working out the kinks!

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Joanne May 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Well…at least the sticky rice was good! It’s really too bad that this place was a let-down…Thai food is my favorite and I was hoping you were going to give me a new place to eat it!

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katie @KatieDid May 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I have to agree, I’ve never been totally smitten with thai food. I feel like practically everyone says it’s their favorite kind of cuisine, so I’ve always wanted to like it. Maybe I just haven’t ordered the right thing yet but its never been my favorite.

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Chelsea May 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Aw! I love roti!! I think the food looks pretty good, but it has been months since I’ve been out to eat! Your Grandma is so cool to be a foodie. I don’t have any Grandmas left, my husband’s Grandma is southern to the core and would never eat food like that! When he daughter went Vegan she didn’t understand it at all. “What, no butter???” lol!! Thank’s for coming by my blog! I love Montana too, doesn’t it feel like a warm hug to just look around Montana?

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Megan@eatmybeets May 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Wow how nice to spend time like that with your grandmother! Unfortunately, my grandparents have all been really old/post-stroke for the majority of my life so I didn’t get to have such a relationship with them. It looks like you had a wonderful meal : )

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Emily May 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Bummer this wasn’t as great as you expected! It all looks awesome but that doesn’t matter if the taste doesn’t match up. I hope your next culinary expedition is super fabulous to make up for the sub-par experience!

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Greta May 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Dry duck? How unfortunate. Looks there were a few amazing dishes though to salvage… I love the presentation of the sticky rice, and bamboo shoots (along with water chestnuts) are some of my favorite flavor-lacking, but texture-adding ingredients for recipes.

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Noya May 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I LOVE your reviews! You’re so knowledgeable and describe the food so well.

Everything looks great, but like you’re saying – there’s more than meets the eye. I’m surprised about the bamboo shoots. I’m a fan, and normally I feel there’s a flavor – albeit, it’s rather subtle – but I guess it depends on how it’s cooked. I’ll agree, though, the texture is awesome.

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Ada May 21, 2011 at 2:04 am

Aww thanks girl:)

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Grace May 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I would just like you to know that I am reading this while eating a bowl of cereal and am insanely jealous! I’ve never had Thai food before but I think I’d be on board-minus the bamboo shoots I don’t like them at all! I know you said they don’t taste like anything but for me they taste off?

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Jess May 21, 2011 at 2:40 am

Mmm, that looks SUPER good!! I SO wanna try Thai food…

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Simply Life May 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

oh my! that soup (and everything else) looks amazing! great meal!

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melissa May 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

wow, Mario batali ranked this as the hottest new table in traveler. It’s more exotic than I imagined, but very cool.

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