Kin Shop: Asian-inspired Done Right?

I was excited to try out Kin Shop, Harold Dieterle’s 2nd restaurant (winner of Top Chef Season 1), since it has gotten rave reviews from NY Times, NY Mag, and just about any other magazine. The reservations were made about a month ahead of time, people confirmed for the dinner, and food gathering #2 was organized. We were all eager to try out Kin Shop  in hopes of finding an actual good “Asian-inspired” restaurant. That night we got to see Harold by the busing station, basically being QA. It’s nice seeing the chef actually being at his restaurant.

Pictured above – Sliced snap peas with Diver Sea Scallops, served with crispy shallots, pea greens, and toasted coconut. The scallops were nicely cooked. The sauce added a good creaminess to the dish.

This is their Chiang Mai Sausage and Steamed Duck Egg with red onion congee, razor clams & fried thai basil-garlic sauce.  I felt the highlight of the dish wasn’t the sausage or egg, but ratherthe red onion congee. It almost felt like they treated it like an orzo, cooking it with a broth or sauce to create add another flavor layer for the congee. I think the use of Taiwanese sausage rather than Chiang Mai would work better since it would provide a sweeter flavor, but I suppose that wouldn’t make the dish Thai-inspired anymore…

The roti was VERY good. Oddly enough this was one of my favorite dishes (or side dish?) to eat. Each layer was probably coated in butter, and the flakiness to doughiness ratio was perfect. It was slightly chewy, crispy, buttery, and made your mouth crave for some more. Just thinking about it, I totally want some now. Highly recommended!

The roasted duck breast with green mango, fresh herbs, and tamarind water was the best main dish. I’m not sure if it was the tamarind water, but the sauce that came with the duck breast had a good amount of heat and sweetness. It complimented the flavors of duck very well, so much so that as a person who doesn’t normally love duck, I ate around three pieces by myself. If I could, I probably would have eaten the whole thing. Another highly recommended dish!

Kin Shop’s braised goat with fried shallots, purple yams, mustard greens & toasted coconut was also a successful dish. I felt like they did a great job with braising. Not only did I not taste the gaminess of the goat meat, but the meat fell right off the bone. It was tender and juicy, just the way meat should be. The sauce added that creaminess and perhaps helped mask the gaminess. Fried shallots are always a great addition providing an extra crunch and sweet onion-like flavor to a dish. I definitely wouldn’t mind eating this again.

Lastly, dessert – Thai coffee-chocolate and Thai ice tea ice creams, and Calamansi sorbet. I have to say, it was really cool eating Thai ice tea ice cream considering we’re all used to drinking it. That different way of consuming Thai ice tea gave them plus points. The Calamansi sorbet was very good, had a sweet and sour taste, and the Thai coffee-chocolate was pretty normal.

Their dessert menu was actually the smallest menu for a restaurant I’ve encountered, with only ice cream and sorbets available, but maybe this isn’t a course they want to stress anyway. After all, their appetizer / main dishes were very well cooked and nicely seasoned. I would still recommend people to go, but make sure you make reservations! It’s a small space and with rave reviews, seats are difficult to come by. You can reserve through OpenTable.

To answer my question, Kin Shop makes good Asian (and more specifically Thai) inspired dishes that are cooked very well. It is clear that they carefully thought through flavors and textures of each ingredient though one dish presentation wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing. But hey, can’t win them all. Even though this meal didn’t knock my socks off, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good meal especially for the price. I’m just glad it’s next door to me.

Kin Shop
469 6th Avenue (btw 11th and 12th st.)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4295

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