Back when a good friend of mine came back from her trip to Asia, I joined her, her husband and one of my best friends to Kin Shop for lunch.
As everyone in town is talking and writing about this restaurant, it’s busy. By the time I arrived around 1 PM, the place was packed and a few people have to wait for a table because they don’t have reservations. What caught my party off guard was that their lunch menu (click for photo) was abbreviated a lot more than what their website indicated. Our waitress confirmed that the lunch is abbreviated more than the dinner menu (which is what is presented on their site). Slightly disappointed, we reassessed our ordering strategy.
Kin Shop is co-owned by Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle (he also owns Perilla nearby) strangely set his sights to Thai food. You should not expect authentic Thai fare. This would be considered Thai-inspired since some dishes have his own interpretation. Some dishes were great and there was a clunker. Here’s the overview:
The fried pork and crispy oyster salad was one of the best dishes we ate on this visit. The oysters were crisp on the outside and velvety creamy on the inside. Eat that with the sweet pork belly and your head feels like it’s going to explode by how great this is. The bits of celery added some crunchy freshness and the light peanut sauce gave it some depth.
The spicy duck laab salad looks like a misnomer at first glance. But when you take a bite of the ground duck, initially it tastes mild but the heat rolls in your throat a few microseconds later making you crave for something to quench that fire yet it’s an addictive kind of heat that makes you want to keep eating. This kind of heat reminds me of Momofuku’ Ssam Bar’s spicy rice cake dish.
Their massaman goat curry was a beautiful braised goat dish sitting in a light coconut milk sauce with fried shallots, purple yams, mustard greens & toasted coconut. The goat was fork tender and it’s not remotely goat-y or gamy as what people would presume goat meat would be.
The grilled eggplant was velvety with little crunchy bits of rice pearls and needed funky, salty depth of flavor from the fish sauce. The fresh mint leaves added a breath of freshness to the earthy flavors of the fish sauce. Very well executed dish.
Our biggest disappointment was the stir fried wonton noodles. Frankly, this shouldn’t be named as such since it’s not wonton noodles. This is wide rice noodles (in Cantonese would be pronounced ho fun). Beyond that misnomer, the noodles are were pretty one-noted and overcooked. All I tasted was oyster sauce (at least it’s not over salted) and the chicken sausage doesn’t add much to the dish. If we didn’t order this dish, we would’ve been happier without it.
In all, Kin Shop is a good addition to the West Village neighborhood for some Asian inspired food. The service is friendly and efficient. The food is very good but skip the noodle dish.