Kin Shop is hot, hot, hot—and spicy. A contemporary Thai restaurant, this West Village destination has been wildly popular since its 2010 debut. Kin is the Thai word for “to eat” and the menu features exciting, intensely flavored dishes that are meant to be shared. A far cry from typical Thai fare (you’ll not find Pad Thai on the menu), selections include such imaginative offerings as “Stir Fried Rice Flakes,” Massaman Goat Stew” and “Beef Brisket Madtarbark.” Fortunately, the menu comes with a helpful glossary of terms.
One stand out is the duck laab, a fiery salad of minced duck, toasted rice, and ground chili served on a bed of cool, crisp romaine. Note: this dish comes with a four star “heat alert.” The noodle dishes are equally flavorful, but more subtly so, and include fresh egg noodles with a poached egg, leeks and spinach in a Maitake mushroom broth, and stir fried wide wonton noodles with sausage and Thai broccoli rabe. For those who want to ratchet up the fire factor, glass jars filled with colorful Thai chiles are placed at each table.
The vegetable side dishes are equally as inventive. The grilled eggplant, redolent with fish sauce and a sprightly mint accent, provides the perfect accompaniment to any main course. Also yummy is the “Stir Fry of Aquatic Vegetables,” with water spinach, water chestnuts and watercress.
Complementing the piquant food is a smart, spice-friendly wine list. We enjoyed the lovely, minerally K Viognier from Washington State. There’s also a globe-spanning selection of beers, perfectly refreshing with the mouth-tingling menu.
Like the food, the restaurant itself is polished yet welcoming. The rectangular space is serene, decorated in Zen green and cream tones. Accents of gold gilt add a subtle touch of glamour. Some of the best seats in the house are the comfortable banquettes lining one wall and providing a view of the long granite bar and open kitchen. Or sit in the window and watch the denizens of the West Village stroll by. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Kin Shop is owned by Harold Dieterle, a Top Chef winner who is also a partner in the nearby Perilla.