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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Asian Soho Moderate Great

Apparently Thai is the new black. With the opening of Highline, and now Kittichai, all things chic must end (or begin) in Thai. Kittichai is the stateside debut of Ian Chalermkitttichai, a young chef who is renowned in Thailand—he is the chef behind all of the restaurants at The Four Seasons in Bangkok—including the original Spice Market. Ian was lured here by Robin Leigh, an owner of 60 Thompson (and a partner in Bond St, Town) to launch a new concept in the space that was previously called Thom. Based on our meal there last week, we should all send Mr. Leigh a note of thanks. Ian is innovative, feisty and a sure talent. All of his dishes don’t work, but there is enough stuff that is brilliant to make up for the duds.

The restaurant, spatially directed by Feng Shui master, Patrick Wong, feels like some sort of a high end Asian-day spa. It has a very serene and sexy vibe, with a wide clear-blue central wading pool (do try to resist the urge to take a dip), and wood-trellised walls that are draped in tufted, jewel-toned raw silk curtains. At several times during the evening I expected to be led back to some secret room for a Thai facial or massage, and imagined that those draped silk curtains would be drawn back for a puppet show. Alas, no massage and the puppets never surfaced. However, a lot of very exciting food did.

The family-style menu is a bit overwhelming in size—it includes Kittichai tapas, appetizers, soups, entrees, curries, and sides. I was utterly unable to decide what to order. It’s sort of like shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond. There is just too much to choose from, which means I either end up leaving with nothing, or spending hundreds of dollars on nothing of use, like a set of matching garlic peelers or a doorstop in the shape of Shrek. Anyway, back at Kittichai the staff does a top-notch job of explaining the dishes and navigating you through the menu, guiding your choices so that you don’t order too much or too little. We started with several of the tapas, which were hit or miss. The Southern Thai Ceviche of diver scallops with caviar and lemongrass wrapped in a duck egg crepe ($14) was a cool idea in theory. I love the concept of wrapping ingredients up in a lacey net made of egg, but in its execution, it was a bit salty and sort of slimy inside. The limestone tartlets ($6)—fragile little tart shells—were served with a bowl of minced wok-fired chicken. You are supposed to spoon ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Soho :
+ Balthazar   + Savoy   + Blue Ribbon   + Lupa   + Public   + Kittichai   + Lure Fishbar   + Barmarche   + Porcupine-- CLOSED   + Ama   + La Esquina   + Jerry's- Closed Now   + The Tasting Room   + Papatzul   + Shorty's.32   + The Monday Room   + Ed's Lobster Bar   + Aurora   + Provence   + Tailor   + Hundred Acres   + Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen   + The Mott   + The Dutch   + Cherrywood, by Guest Reviewer Dara Pollak   

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