Alan and I have been married for almost 6 years now and I must say I’m proud of the fact that despite that, we have managed to keep our dynamics as a couple going, even if we now have Angel and both our Moms living with us. (Plus there is the stepson who is with us when he feels like taking a break from his Mom or when his Mom gives him the boot.. it’s one or the other.) It’s a crowded house and one with a lot going on — time management is important because we can no longer go out to dinner in the city on a whim like we used to. We have to time our late night outs to be scheduled far enough apart so as not to unduly burden my Mom with looking after her apo. It’s a little more complicated now, but we continue to try to keep the romance going. We may not do it as often as we used to (at least once a week) but we continue to indulge in our penchant for enjoying the restaurant offerings in New York, Restaurant week or not.
So we decided to invite our friend, Jeff and Jackie, to have dinner with us at Kittichai, the Thai restaurant over at 60 Thompson, one of New York’s more popular hotels. What is most striking is the decor of the bar and the veranda which is a smoking area. (Some establishments pay a fine to be able to allow smoking in their establishments… not many go through that expense, though.)
When you enter, their very able hostess meets you next to an aquarium inside an ornate birdcage. (I tried to take a picture discreetly with my razr but it just didn’t come out nicely.) Once you step into the bar, you are greeted by walls of bottled orchids in water with an incandescense illuminating from within the bottle. It took me a while and a glass of reisling to figure out that there was a bulb inside the cap of the bottle which illuminated the whole fixture. (There are now led-battery operated tea lights available for this purpose.) They were very soothing to the eyes and hypnotized you with their serene appeal. Inside the main dining area was an infinity pool with floating votive candles in ultra small fish bowl-like glass which glided around as if there was a slight current, sometimes bumping into each other like billiard balls and deflecting each other. Cattleyas were hanging from the ceiling by a string, giving the illusion of floating blooms.
We decided to do two appetizers to share: The Chocolate Baby Back Ribs with Thai Spices and the Crispy Rock Shrimp. No, the Baby Back Ribs were anything but sweet, but you could definitely see the cocoa in the color. The ribs were falling off the bone and a filling appetizer even in small portions. What was distinctive about the shrimp was the sweet sauce which was not overpowering. For the entree, I chose to do the special which was pan seared scallos with a sweet glaze, Jackie ordered the Crispy Whole Fish with Tamarind Sauce. Alan ordered the Braised Short Ribs in Green Curry and Sweet Basil while Jeff went for the Chili Smoked Hangar Steak with hot basil, wild ginger, and lemon-grass pepper sauce. It was as authentic as modern Thai dishes can get because Kittichai is actually the signature restaurant of Chef Ian Chalermkittichai.
We ended the evening with individual desserts and while I can no longer remember Jeff and Jackie’s, Alan had the Mango sticky rice and I had the coconut crepes with kalamansi sauce which was basically their take on a french crepe with coconut flavor, swimming in kalamansi instead of the usual orange syrup that crepes suzette are doused with. Yummy! Well worth the $50+/head it cost us, and service was very good, as well! Our Thai server was very helpful with the selections and was very friendly. It’s a place for beautiful people but they serve beautiful food, too. And back to my gauge of authenticity — yes, there were a lot of Asians dining, and being a lover of Thai food myself, Kittichai rates high on my Thai food place to go to!