Is Kittichai The Thai For Me?

picture-2You can find really affordable and tasty Thai food on every other block of the city, so how does Chef Chalermkittichai’s expensive fare at Kittichai compare? Well… I shall tell you as this is a food blog.

When you walk in, Kittichai’s decor hits you right away. It’s absolutely stunning. Lush fabrics drape from ceilings and the soft lighting makes everyone look good. Intricate wood panels rise from floors, expensive and impressive tables stand tall and even the bathrooms were very sleek for being a potty. My Thai tea martini was wonderfully silky and smooth and decorated beautifully with an orchid (though I have issues with decorations I can’t eat in my drinks or on my food, I have a weakness for flowers). The presentation of the family style platters was exquisite, chicken perfectly stuffed and sliced, seafood glistening with sexy red tomatoes, my eyes glazed over and a sleepy and lopsided smiled emerged from my face. And then I took a bite and sobered up and then took another bite to make sure that my tastebuds didn’t deceive me and sobered up a bit more, so I do what I do what this happens. I ordered another drink, a stiff one.

Each dish had a part that was overseasoned and underseasoned as if someone was hoping that the two would balance each other out. No, no, no, no, no. Uh-uh. It doesn’t work that way. And some dishes were just ‘eh.’ I dont’ mind ‘eh’ dishes if I’m paying ‘eh’ prices, but the prices were kind of far from ‘eh.’ Dishes that were “over” and “under” and “eh” included the:

Northern Thai beef salad, Chinese long beans (hmmm, maybe I’m remembering wrong ’cause I thought mine had regular string beans) and roasted sticky rice powder

Lemongrass stuffed chicken breasts, wild mushrooms, chili-jam drizzle

Tuna tartar in cripsy edible cups
Curried short ribs (they were green so I expected them to be hot, but I guess it wasn’t green curry)
Artic char with tomatoes

Artichoke and banana blossom salad (so sad because I love artichokes and I felt like banana blossoms are very likable as well. After I discretely moved my portion to someone else’s plate I was chastised for making them eat bad food)

What saved the meal were the wonderful and succulent mussels cooked in sake and the desserts. The broth from the mussel dish was perfectly seasoned and I managed to sneak in a few spoonfuls into my mouth. (It was family style so I felt bad for double-dipping, but we’re all friends right?) The desserts were a pleasant surprise to the end of the meal. Everything flavor a perfect balance for your tongue. Here were indulged in banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream, jasmine flan with a coconut-jasmine rice tuille and a flourless valrhona chocolate cake with fresh cream. Yummy.

Though there were some strikes that we had against us. Because we were a large group it was decided that a family style prix fixe meal would be best. I’m not a big fan of prix fixe meals. You don’t get all of the good stuff when you order that way. It’s like restuarant week in my eyes. It’s cheaper, but just not quite the optimal experience. And two, after speaking with a woman outside of the restaurant who had dined at Kittichai many times, it turns out that as time went by, the food simply got worse. She also was disappointed in her meal, especially because she had something to compare it to.

But weighing in the prix fixe, the mussels and desserts definitely gives Kittichai a boost in ratings.

6.5 out of 10 stars

-Joyce Huang

Kittichai
60 Thompson between Spring and Broome
(212) 219-2000
Kittichai on Urbanspoon

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