At Kiin, which means "eat" in Thai, you’re encouraged to do just that—if you can stand the heat. The menu focuses on central and northern Thai food, fiery with chilies and fragrant with lemongrass, kaffir lime, Thai basil and fish sauce. A white-washed interior provides an unobtrusive backdrop for the cuisine, which is at once tantalizing, exciting and profoundly flavorful. Floral notes interlaced with spikes of heat (of both temperature and spice) make every bite unpredictable—beware even the tiniest fleck of chili.
Start a meal by paying attention to restaurant owner Supanee Kitmahawong’s recommendations. She’ll guide you through the menu, with the best dishes coming from her list and veering off the beaten path of generic choose-your-own-protein Thai.
Ho Mok ($16) is a fish pudding, and though that may sound a little suspicious, the outcome is wildly intriguing: A firm, red curry egg custard, slightly sweetened with coconut milk, anchors firm chunks of fresh sea bass perfumed with kaffir lime and basil. Even a simple sauté of stir-fried cabbage ($10) is captivatingly complex, with peanut oil coaxing a distinct nuttiness out of the humble vegetable, sharpened with garlic and whispers of chili.
The Siamese stalwart pad Thai ($15) gets a novel presentation, its loosely sticky noodles swaddled in a crepe-thin omelet like a fat, eggy burrito that lets you curate each bite to taste. Portions are so big that it behooves a diner to bring an entourage for sharing purposes, and even then you'll only scratch the surface.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER DEBORAH FENKER