There is always a new “you have to try this” restaurant in San Francisco. This month it is Kin Khao, a Thai restaurant that recently opened in the Parc 55 hotel downtown. After reading Sandy’s post and seeing that Michael Bauer (our local food critic) was going to post a review soon, I jumped at the chance and made a reservation before it became too well known (read: busy).
A little backstory: the owner Pim was one of the first original food bloggers and managed to gain a lot of honor in the food world with recognition and awards throughout the years. Kin Khao is her tribute to the childhood dishes and flavors she picked up while being born and raised in Bangkok.
I do not speak Thai but I am assuming that their language structure is a little similar to Chinese. We would say chi fan, which directly translates to “eat rice” but really means “let’s eat!”.
I knew after looking at the menu that I had to order the Pretty Hot Wings. How can you go wrong with a fish sauce+garlic marinade, tamarind and Sriracha glaze? To say they were delicious would be an understatement, although I did expect them to be a lot spicier. My dining companion is the type of person to start sweating at the sight of peppers but was not phased by these chicken wings. Perhaps my batch did not have as many chills compared to others.
I also wanted to show off the original bottle of Sriracha that they use in Thailand. I wish I had more of an opportunity to try it but the food was seasoned to a T overall and the additional heat was not necessary.
Kin Khao has an impressive list of cocktails and I almost gave in; however, the Thai Ice Tea was calling my name and I answered without hesitation.
The first dish to come out was an unique take on a traditional Pad Kee Mao. This is usually one of my staples when I go eat Thai but I never had it with rabbit before! It is not located on their menu online so I can’t remember everything in it but from the picture alone we can assume that there is basil, julienned peppers and onions. What you cannot see is the Bird’s Eye Chili that leaves you unable to close your mouth from the slow, burning pain. Worth it every time.
Next is Pim’s take on a traditional Cantonese dish that I remember from my own childhood: Khao Mun Gai.
The chicken was poached with ginger and served alongside rice that was cooked in chicken fat. I love how the dish was presented with the long sprigs of cilantro because it did not last long after I poured Pim’s special sauce (in the following picture) and mixed everything together.
What was really interesting about the dish (above) was that it came with a side of ‘intense’ chicken consommé. The waitress told us to take a sip every few bites to cleanse the palate.
Okay, now what I have been waiting to share. I do not know if your eyes are even worthy to look at the picture below (and to be honest, Sandy got a better shot).
The real star of the show was the Massaman Nong Lai. Man oh man, this might have been the best thing I ate these past two months.
First, the bone-in beef shank is braised for over 24 hours in a medley of complex flavors such as house-made Massaman curry paste, coconut milk, burnt shallots potatoes. (oh, the potatoes)
Second, you might notice a little spoon and that is where the jackpot is at the end of the rainbow. Nestled inside is rich, melt-in-your-mouth bone marrow; it does not sound too appetizing but I am thinking about going back just for those few bites. Really makes the curry worth the $26.
We wanted to get dessert but felt like a good ol’ fashioned San Francisco It’s-It instead.
And to leave this off with a surprising fact:
I rarely take pictures of myself. Yes, this blog has like 10,000 almost identical pictures of me eating, smiling and/or laughing but I never remember to take selfies. So here I present to you, my first selfie of 2014.
(do not worry, the car was parked and I realized I forgot to take one at dinner so I had to find a way to make up for it.) 🙂
Also, after opening this picture on my computer I realized how horrible my iPhone front camera is. Time to upgrade…iPhone 6 when are you finally coming out?
When eating different cuisines, do you prefer traditional or fusion?