We don’t like to do straight-up comparisons on The Infatuation much, but with Kin Khao we can’t help it. The entire time we were at Kin Khao we wished we were at Lers Ros.
Our meal was decent, but our minds kept wandering to that other Thai place, mere blocks way. Kin Khao tended to suffer in the comparison.
Lers Ros wins on price, atmosphere (assuming you dig the noisy casual vibe), and taste. Kin Khao wins on cocktails and finickiness. We’re not sure tweezers were used in the construction of our meal, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the chef owns them. And look, that’s fine, but the food needs to taste better.
In fact, the whole experience felt a bit "tweezered," if you know what I mean. The restaurant design was a bit sterile and bland, and it’s located inside a sterile and bland hotel. Down a sterile and bland hallway. The entire feel was…well, you can guess.
The dish descriptions raised our expectations, though, as bringing high-quality NorCal ingredients to classic recipes is a tried-and-true formula. But the food itself didn't pack the wallop we've come to expect from really good Thai. The ingredients were clearly expensive and well-chosen, but the sauces and spices didn't give us that flash of deliciousness we were hoping for. We'll trade fancier cuts of meat for more of a tasty kick any day of the week.
Kin Khao could be pretty good someday. Clearly someone in the kitchen’s got some skills. They just need to up the flavor game and, we dunno, move out of the hotel?
Pretty Hot Wings
How hot do you expect “pretty hot” to be, on a 1-10 scale? We were thinking like an 8. These were more of a 5. They were oddly acidic as well. Not bad but not a must-order.
Kua Kling Ribs
Now these were a must-order. For starters, they were spicier than the wings. And the meat is tender and tasty. Our favorite of the night.
Massaman Nong Lai
A bone-in beef shank braised in Massaman curry paste. Surprisingly, we’ve had a fair number of massaman curries (the coconutty one), and this didn’t really pack the flavor punch. The beef shank was pretty great - a very solid piece of meat with some nice marrow to dig out.
Khao Soi Gai
Oh man do we love a good Khao Soi (chicken curry broth with egg noodles). It’s one of god’s gifts to broth. Except for this one. In the night’s recurring theme, it lacked the kick.
Khao Mun Gai
"Chicken fat rice, ginger-poached chicken, Pim’s secret sauce, served with intense chicken consommé." Reading these menu descriptions, it seems like they know what they want their food to taste like at Kin Khao. Chicken fat rice with intense chicken consommé? Sign us up! But it’s not all the way there. It’s like 40% there. When they get there we will be very excited to eat here.
Crab Sen Chan
This Dungeness crab meat and rice noodle dish is something like a mediocre pad thai. Kind of a bummer for the crab. He died in vain.