My recent trip to NYC ended with a visit to Kin Shop (www.kinshopnyc.com) at 469 6th Ave (11th St) in an unassuming spot where Chef Harold Dieterle of Top Chef fame offers up amazing dishes at amazingly low prices (for a Top Chef winner, especially from Season One!). When I arrived early, manager Craig said it was no problem (any other stuffy place that a hot/top chef owns in NYC would have said there was no room) and asked where I wanted to sit. I bypassed the tables and headed for the "Chef's Counter" which is 4 seats facing the kitchen, which is a bit larger than a postage stamp and had four people working in it. I can tell you it was smaller than the bathroom in our suite on our recent cruise!
Craig got me some bottled water and I settled in for hours of fun (I was the last to leave at almost 1130pm after arriving at 730pm). He suggested the TYPHOON (he said that if I didn't like it, he would drink it!) from the drink menu which was a refreshing Mekhong Thai Rum with Catamansi (tangerine-lime juice), Aperol, Thai Basil and Fever Tree Ginger Beer. It was just like being in the islands I had recently left, but here it was the islands of the Andaman Sea!
It was hard to decide what to eat and my helpful and friendly server Jessica offered up many ideas. I spent most of the evening speaking with Bryce, the line chef opposite me who was born in Maryland, but grew up in Maine. He was a real sweetheart and explained everything at length when I was lost. He explained that "kin" in that means "to eat."
At Jessica's suggestion I had the Schellman "Ossi" 2010 Gruner Veltliner that was crisp and refreshing and ideal with the spicy dishes.
My first plate was the FRIED PORK & CRISPY OYSTER SALAD that was a dream come true. Made with many ingredients including celery, peanuts, some mint, a pungent chili-lime vinagrette, sprouts, celery greens and pickled red onions this was a salad, but the two main ingredients were arranged like several royal thrones in a row. Each square of crispy pork was topped with a plump fried (Washington State) oyster on top. It was large and filling, but Bryce said the Duck Salad (my other choice amongst many) was even larger!
Next came a single (you could order them by the piece) GRILLED PRAWN with Fresh Lime & "Phuket Style" Black Pepper Sauce. I could have dipped the tasty roti coming off the stove into this sauce forever, but did not order the roti so as to allow more room for less carbs and more tastes. The hrimp was large and juicy and I wanted more....but, the FRIED BRUSSELS SPORUTS & CHINESE SAUSAGE arrived. This "vegetable" side had crispy slices of sausage, young coconut, gooseberry chutney and fermented apple vinegar. It was superb, tasty and flavorful, if only a slight bit too sweet.
My main course was called RED and was roasted DUCK breast with that crispy roti I mentioned earlier (I had to have it somehow), Green Mango, Fresh Herbs & Tamarind Water. The roti are affectionately termed "Thai-tillas" by Drew, one of the other chefs. This bread should be packaged! The duck was just past rare and cooked perfectly and the dish was a sensation in taste and flavor. Jessica said the Fritsch ZEIGELT "Red Soil" 2009 from Wagram in Austria would work with the duck, although many fokls don't know the varietal. I insisted I adore Zweigelt and it was a perfect pairing.
I was full and Bryce and Craig both insisted I have dessert, so I chose the CALAMANSI Sorbet, the same juice of tangerine and lime from my opening Typhoon. It was the perfect refreshing end to an amazing dinner with the wonderful team at Kin Shop which made me want to try all of Chef Dieterle's dining spots in NYC, not to mention a return visit to Kin Shop.
I did not want to leave, but I knew I had an early flight home to DC.....after a lot of eating that weekend.