Kiin Thai Eatery

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85 Very Good

Herbaceous regional Thai eccentricity tucked in the throes of NYU-dom.

36 E. 8th St., New York, NY, 10003

212-529-2363

http://kiinthaieatery.com

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The lowdown

Those who have dined at the East Village’s Somtum Der know that the restaurateur duo behind it don’t mess around when it comes to Thai food. So it should come as no surprise that Kiin Thai delivers an eclectic interpretation of traditional Southeast Asian dishes. Meals here are of the choose-your-own-adventure variety. Starters range from the more familiar Som Tum Seafood salad (a spicy papaya salad laden with calamari and shrimp) to the atrociously named but delicious Golden Bags (fried vegetarian wontons stuffed with potato, mushrooms, water chestnut, and cream cheese). Another crowd favorite, especially when paired with Dark Beer Laos, is the Nham Prik Ong, a dip heavy on the fish sauce but perfectly balanced when eaten atop savory fried pork skins. Mains include family-style noodle dishes, like Khao Soi (egg noodles in a hard-to-share curry) and Pad Kee Mao (rice noodles with diced pork, chiles, and dark rum), along with fried and grilled meats. Each dish is herbaceous, flavorful, and true to origin — even the pad Thai comes swaddled under a traditional crêpe-y egg blanket. The only misstep — or sidestep, because it’s more confusing than off-putting — is the décor. The white-washed walls and Hamptons-chic fittings contrast starkly with the local flavors and the low prices, blurring the line between out-east Montauk and far-east Asia.

What you need to know

Recommended DishesPad kee mao with pork; ‘Khao soi’ with chicken leg; grilled beef with grilled coconut sticky rice; Golden Bags.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized