Kittichai’s overnight success

Kittichai’s overnight success

Kittichai was an overnight success when it opened in 2004.The shadowy, aqueous dining room, which wraps itself around a shimmery wading pool, is the perfect backdrop for the well-heeled crowd that has been filling the room ever since.Suspended orchids, floating candles and lily pads, wood trellised walls draped in tufted, jewel-toned raw silk add to the sensual allure.

A giant goldfish filled birdcage at the entrance adds a touch of whimsy.The staff that greets you there; and those that serve you are extremely knowledgeable and help you navigate the creative offerings, which have a refinement rarely seen on Thai inspired menus.Sharing is a must with appetizers like the texturally wonderful Crispy Jasmine rice crackers with Coconut and organic chicken relish, Northern Thai beef salad, Chinese long beans and sticky rice powder, and banana blossom and artichoke salad with roasted cashew nuts and chili jam.An exceptional Coconut and galangal soup with organic chicken and straw mushrooms riffs on the classic.Monkfish and hearts of palm in lesser ginger curry and a Lamb shank in Massaman curry with roasted butternut squash and pineapple relish breathe new life into their category.Wok fried pineapple rice with Chinese sausage and Thai omelet with lump crabmeat and siracha sauce are unexpected sides.

Yes, the menu is vast but soulful and assertive, clearly declaring its Thai roots in the recurring flavors of kafir lime and lemongrass, Thai basil, chilies, coriander, and coconut.This chef orchestrates a flawless harmony of sweet, salty, yet cleverly juxtaposes sour and spicy, sublime and bold, smooth and crunchy, hot and cold.These familiar themes appear on a backdrop of products of superb quality and through seasonally driven dishes.And only a handful of dishes pack a fiery punch.There is a lot of conceptualizing here, from the front door to the last sip of tea, and it’s all very appealing.At lunch, simpler dishes showcase the chef’s hand with subtle flavors and delicate usage of spices.

Word of advice: arrive fashionably early for your reservation so that you can linger out in the orchid-studded lounge and take advantage of the bar’s excellent cocktails, like the immensely refreshing Ginger Lemongrass and Watermelon Coolers.The wine list offers options by the glass and a very reasonable selection of bottles.