Adventures of a Gastronome in Training (GIT)

One amateur foodie's quest for culinary enlightenment. Musings on cooking, dining, food products, basically all things edible are fair game.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


Kittichai is one very of those hip/stylish venues that can make a diner leery. It’s located in the SoHo boutique hotel 60 Thompson. The lighting is subtle, the fabrics lush, the staff tall and thin. You can’t help but wonder if the place is about the scene or the food – and I can’t help but think of Spice Market as an example. Scenes can be fun in that adult Disney kind of way, but when you’re 7 months pregnant – it’s about the food. And, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with my meal. That is certainly thanks to the restaurant’s eponymous chef Ian Chalermkittichai who is the former executive chef of the Four Seasons Bangkok.

The reviewers have been consistently positive, but not gushing with their opinions although they seem to vary a little on the favorite dishes. We started off with the galangal soup with chicken, lemongrass and kaffir lime ($8) and chocolate back ribs marinated in Thai spices ($9). The classic soup was delicious. The lime flavors blended smoothly with the richness of the coconut. It was as good as at my all-time favorite Thai place, Tamarind in Atlanta. Although…I did feel pretty silly paying eight bucks for it. I found the ribs moist and not too fatty, but I wouldn’t have thought of them as a Thai dish. Some have complained about the sweetness of this dish, but I found it only subtly so. For entrees, we tried the crispy whole fish with lesser-ginger and Thai hot basil ($27) and wok-fried chicken with roasted cashew nuts, dried chili and green onion ($18). For me, the whole fish was the star of the show. It came in a panang-like sauce which paired perfectly with the crispy fried fish. I could eat this every day of the week. The wok-fried chicken was solid, but not noteworthy. We also got a side of the pineapple fried rice with sweet sausage and shredded egg ($7) which is served in a carved out pineapple. The pineapple chunks were limited and mild. I liked this dish for its textures – thin strips of egg with chewy rice and chunks of sausage.

I, of course, had to pass on the intriguing list of specialty cocktails. Marty did try the mandarin martini (fresh mandarin juice with Cointreau, fresh lime juice and Skyy vodka - $12), and wasn’t very impressed.

If you’re more the foodie and adverse to scene-y places – go early, a 7:00 p.m. reservation would work. If you want to see more of the atmosphere in action, get a drink first and go late. Kittichai manages to satisfy both the foodie and the fashionista, not crowds that usually mix well together, and that may well be the restaurant’s greatest achievement.


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Jennie/Female. Lives in United States/Jennie Auster/New York, speaks English. Eye color is blue.