HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Opinions on Kittichai

Coming to NYC on 11/30. Have Kittichai res for first night. Any thoughts? I know that it isn't "authentic Thai," but we wnated a more refined ambiance. That being siad, food quality always a priority. Opinions?

May try to get back to Ko that night, but havce to wait to try the online res.

Thanks

BTW, have 15 East, Marea, and Del Posto for the other nights.

-----
15 East
15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

Del Posto
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Kittichai
60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. You will not be sacrificing food quality for ambiance. It is delicious, and just because it is not traditional does not mean it is not authentic. I'm sure there are "modern Thai" restaurants in Thailand.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      Rrems, havent been to Kittichai for years so i cant weigh in...but if u r going to compare to in-Thailand places, i'd be both interested and highly skeptical to hear about any "modern" places u think are decent there...

      -----
      Kittichai
      60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

      1. re: Simon

        I'v never been to Thailand. I just could not imagine that they have no contemporary versions of Thai cuisine there, decent or not. It really doesn't matter either way, Kittichai is great however one describes the cooking style.

        1. re: rrems

          what dishes do you like at Kittichai?...i haven't been in many years and they have a new chef since there anyway: if i go there, what should i try?...

          1. re: Simon

            My favorites:

            Appetizers - rock shrimp, Thai beef salad, spicy and sour oxtail soup

            Main - Duck two ways, crispy whole fish, tiger prawns, barbecue chicken

            Dessert - Chocolate cake

            1. re: Simon

              Do let us know what you think if you try Kittichai again - I also went years ago, was quite disappointed with their food. But there is a new chef now, and I think I've read some good things about him, though nothing concrete...

      2. Your list is first rate. Kittichai is not authentic, but it is delicious.... and it is a nicer room than some other places..

        -----
        Kittichai
        60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

        1. Nice atmosphere, good flavors, small portions, obnoxious service.

          4 Replies
          1. re: princeofpork

            Thought Kittichai was good, but not superlative. There were a few dishes that just missed the mark. If you want more authentic Thai, I would not recommend Kittichai. If you want decent, Thai-inspired/influenced food that is also pricey, then go for it. The ambience was okay and the food quality was good - what you would expect for a pricey restaurant located in a Soho hotel. I wouldn't recommend it though. I just feel there are other places to go. I would recommend Kin Shop over Kittichai in terms of flavor and value. Personally, I never saw the point in a repeat visit to Kittichai and neither did my friend.

            -----
            Kittichai
            60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: lulumoolah

              Actually, the more I recall my dinner there, the less I recommend it. It just fell flat in terms of taste. The quality of the ingredients was apparent, but it just missed the mark. I have no plans to return. I don't see the point and I know my friend would concur. Neither of us expected "authentic" Thai, but our meal was not very satisfying when it came to the food experience itself. I wish I could explain more and recall the exact dishes we ordered.

              1. re: lulumoolah

                I happen to love the food at Kin Shop, and it is less expensive than Kittichai, but it is also noisy and crowded and the decor is nothing exciting. It's great for a casual meal, but for something more upscale (OP aked for "refined" ambiance) Kittichai works better IMO.

              2. re: princeofpork

                I would second princeofpork. The service is so bad it feels almost deliberate, and that is why I don't go more often, despite the food being consistently good.

              3. I'm perplexed but what exactly do you mean by ambience in this case? If you mean a typical expensive restaurant atmosphere in a hotel, then yeah, Kittichai succeeds on that front. However it's not unique in it's decor or ambience for what you would expect.

                -----
                Kittichai
                60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                3 Replies
                1. re: lulumoolah

                  Thanks for all the responses. What I mean by ambiance is nice decor, excellent service, refined food. I realize that Kittichai is not "authentic Thai street food." I am just not looking for a casual, loud, paper napkin kind of place. I realize that the food may be "better true Thai" at aother venues.

                  Thanks

                  -----
                  Kittichai
                  60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: tboner6

                    Thanks for clarifying. Yeah, check out Kittichai if you want quiet, though depending on when you go to Kin Shop it can be a relatively laid back experience. I've had both the jam-packed and laid back experience at Kin Shop. As for the decor, I didn't think much of Kittichai or Kin Shop's decor, it wasn't memorable but it wasn't butt ugly either.

                    -----
                    Kittichai
                    60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                    Kin Shop
                    469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  2. re: lulumoolah

                    I'd highly recommend Kittichai for someone who's visiting New York. Are there more authentic restaurants? Of course. Is there better food? Of course. Are there cheaper restaurants? Of course. Does Kittichai have a top notch decor, gorgeous servers, beautiful customers worth people watching, very good food, and a really great vibe? Definitely.

                    -----
                    Kittichai
                    60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                  3. I've only been for brunch, but I recall the ambience was euro trance music, and model waitresses in a pretty sterile, overly designed room.

                    The menu was far more exciting than what arrived, which was okay, but extremely dull...but again, that's merely based on their attempt at french toast, and eggs.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sugartoof

                      Seems like I am getting mixed reviews. Maybe I should consider Jung Sik. Seems like a modern interpretation of Korean cuisine. Thoughts?

                      -----
                      Jung Sik
                      2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: tboner6

                        Absolutely, 100% yes to Jungsik (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815513). I had a most wonderful meal there recently. It's truly something special.

                        1. re: tboner6

                          Totally agree with Cheeryvisage about Jung Sik. Stellar in every way!

                          Jung Sik photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                        2. re: sugartoof

                          Your description of the ambiance is spot on 100% correct

                        3. The only thing I'd add to the comments is that for those whose lackluster experiences at Kittichai were over a year ago, there's been a new chef since September or so of 2010, and he's changed things quite drastically. Frankly, it's better than when the resto's namesake was running the kitchen. Where Chef Chalmerkittichai used jarred pre-mixed curry pastes heimported from Thailand (though decent quality ones) Chef Bellingham makes everything from scratch daily - a big difference in quality right there. He also uses only fresh lime huice, where the previous chef used bottled. He's also added quite a bit of his own spin. And he's made things more "authentic" - though that's his word, as I debate the term has any meaning let alone value.

                          -----
                          Kittichai
                          60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: sgordon

                            My brunch visit was the week of Christmas, last year, 2010. The Thai influence was mostly drowned out.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I try to judge a resto's brunch and dinner separately - first, because usually the "B" team is running brunch service, and second (especially in hotel restaurants) there's an insistence on putting certain classic brunch ingredients on the menu, even if they don't fit the restaurant's style - and so the restaurant tries to fit the square peg into the round hole by doing some (usually disastrous) riff on it.

                              I mean, Eggs Benedict with Norwegian smoked salmon and Panang Curry Hollandaise? There's something that should not exist. Especially when the chef is known for being pretty traditional, like Bellingham - leave the fusion stuff to guys like Brad Farmerie, who make it work.

                              1. re: sgordon

                                I'm not sure I agree entirely, but obviously my own posts are based solely on my experience at brunch.

                                If it's on the menu, and the restaurant is open for business, the food served is a reflection of the quality they put out. Don't you think the same chef designed the menu?

                                1. re: sugartoof

                                  I agree, to an extent. I just feel that there are some otherwise good restos that kind of flub on brunch, just as there are some places that do great brunches that are kind of lackluster for dinner. For whatever reason, that's fairly common.

                                  Maybe the chefs don't put as much effort into brunch as they would a normal weekday lunch, which is often just a scaled-down version of their dinner menu. Or maybe they just don't have a feel for it. Who knows? All I'm saying is that a resto's brunch is not necessarily indicative of their non-brunch offerings. Whether that SHOULD be the case or not, is irrelevant - it just is.

                                  1. re: sgordon

                                    I can't think of any great restaurants that botch it at brunch.

                                    I do think if they fail to execute a fusion concept at brunch, it is telling. As is putting fruit out of season on a plate. It's all indicative.

                                    1. re: sgordon

                                      I agree w/ you, sgordon - I don't think a NY Times critic would go to brunch to judge a restaurant's merit, for instance.

                                      1. re: uwsister

                                        unfortunately, we also have reviews of lackluster dinners too.

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          Oh, I'm not defending the restaurant at all. I actually had a pretty mediocre dinner there years ago. I was just commenting on brunches not being the best meal to judge a restaurant by.

                                          1. re: uwsister

                                            If brunch counts, i guess i have been there recently: stopped in for some quick smoked salmon and coffee with a friend who lives across the street...but gjven that its a hotel restaurant, i think diff rules apply when judging its dinner vs brunch quality: i.e. The hotel may have dictated, "ok, do this trendy upscale Thai thing at night, but make sure we can count on you to make eggs and French toast in the mornings" (which is not a bad deal for the restaurant since the profit margin on hotel breakfast/brunch can be huge)

                                          2. re: sugartoof

                                            And as noted already in this thread, many of them predate the arrival of the current chef. Negative comments about the performance of a chef who is no longer there are not useful to anyone.

                                            1. re: rrems

                                              Wether a review is useful or not is subjective.

                                              Same Executive Chef, same ambience, and many of the same dishes remain on the "overhauled menu".

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                But it's not the same chef though, is it? Bellingham was not the executive chef when I dined there - and same goes for almost all negative reviews on this board. Sounds like this chef definitely has chops and credentials to back it up. I'd be open to giving it another chance - and not for brunch!

                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                  <Same executive chef>

                                                  Uh, no.... This is simply untrue.

                                                  1. re: rrems

                                                    http://www.kittichairestaurant.com/op...

                                                    then click on "information".

                                                    possibly an old site they forgot to update?
                                                    but they also forgot to update the name of the restaurant..... and part of the menu.

                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                      Yeah, their website is sadly out of date. If you go to ianchalermkittichai.com you'll note that Kittichai is listed under his projects as "2004 - 2008" - he hasn't been associated with them for three years now. Now he's doing crappy collaborations with Todd English.

                                                      -----
                                                      Kittichai
                                                      60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                        "Bellingham" doesn't quite have the same ring though, huh?

                                                        1. re: uwsister

                                                          Ha! Not quite, no. But those Aussies seem to know their Thai food pretty well. Chef at Betel is an Aussie too, I think.

                                                          1. re: uwsister

                                                            Wish that explained why from Appetizer to Dessert, they're still serving some of the original menu?

                                                            How does one know if they're getting the new chef's dishes or the old chef's dishes?

                                    2. I'll also add - aside form all the business about what chef does what and etc, etc, etc. That while it's a good restaurant, I wouldn't put it remotely in the league of the other three places you're going.

                                      So that said, if you've got that kind of money to burn, I see tables available on 11/30 at:

                                      Aquavit
                                      Blue Hill
                                      Bouley
                                      Cafe Boulud
                                      Corton
                                      Craft

                                      ...and I'll stop at the Cs. Suffice to say there are many better options if you want to go high-endy.

                                      -----
                                      Aquavit
                                      65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

                                      Cafe Boulud
                                      20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                      Blue Hill
                                      75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                                      Craft
                                      43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

                                      Corton
                                      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                                      Bouley
                                      163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sgordon

                                        Ended up cancelling Kittichai, and have res for Ko. Thanks for all the input!

                                        -----
                                        Kittichai
                                        60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                                        1. re: tboner6

                                          Lucky you! Still the toughest rezzie (besides Brooklyn Fare, I suppose) in town. Good deal. Check back in and let us know how Ko's doing lately... been awhile since I've been, sadly.