Thai food is all the rage in New York right now and it’s not hard to get excited about the slew of new restaurants opening throughout the city. However, this increasingly saturated field also comes with two things I absolutely dislike about restaurants attempting to serve ethnic cuisine: the food ends up being either too toned down or too sweetened up for the American palate. Rest assured, the duo behind New York’s beloved Somtum Der opened up their third Thai restaurant, Kiin Thai Eatery, serving authentic Central and Northern Thai cuisine. Conveniently located on 8th street between University Place and Broadway, this new restaurant is right here on NYU grounds.
Walking into Kiin Thai might feel like walking into a Hamptons seaside café. From the black-and-white palm tree wallpaper to the mason jars, the space attempts to make one feel at home. The space is undeniably beautiful: well-lit, clean and very spacious.
“Kiin” means “eat” in Thai, and the restaurant’s extensive menu plays on the country’s traditional family-style eating practices. While you can easily find the popular rice, noodle and curry dishes that are ubiquitous in Thai restaurants, you will also see a focus on small, shareable plates. A dish worth ordering is the stir-fried morning glory ($11) – water spinach fried in a wok over high heat with chili and fermented soy bean paste.
For those looking for a simple and filling, yet affordable lunch, Kiin Thai offers a lunch special with a variety of options. Opt for classics like pad Thai ($9) and green curry ($9) or the flavorful and Instagram-worthy pineapple fried rice ($10), which is served in a hollowed-out pineapple half. These lunch specials hover around $10 and come with either a side salad or soup.
Kiin Thai is a refreshing new restaurant that stands out among the rest. The flavors presented in Central and Northern Thai food are quite reminiscent of Chinese and, some would even say, South Asian food. Students distraught over Cafetasia’s closing need not be anymore – Kiin Thai is here to stay.