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