"Those restaurants with the giant menus? They're not making food from scratch, they're making it from the freezer."
Every item on Kin Khao's menu of traditional Thai dishes--overseen by chef Michael Gaines, late of Manresa and Central Kitchen--is painstakingly made, beginning with the curry pastes and sauces underpinning the menu.
Even the sourcing--tracking down apple eggplants, importing Thai-made Sriraja Panich, the original Sriracha--is a headache.
We're glad someone is taking such great pains, though--pains resulting in dishes such as kua kling ribs ($15), pork riblets that are fried and smothered in a turmeric curry paste and showered with filaments of Kaffir lime leaves. Who else would make us khao mun gai ($16), extraordinary rice cooked in chicken fat, accompanied by ginger-poached chicken and a cup of golden chicken consommé?
The Massaman nong lai ($26), a bone-in beef shank curry luxuriating in a rust-colored sauce with a float of vivid orange oil, takes two days to prepare. There are no fewer than 15 ingredients in the curry paste in Khun Yai's green curry with rabbit ($22), and the lush, silky, coconut milk-based sauce obscures a bunny trifecta: loin, saddle, meatballs.
Pim Techamuanvivit | The Hua Hin Beach cocktail
Techamuanvivit has also had the good sense to introduce a very of-the-moment cocktail program, created by the Bon Vivants. The improbably delicious Hua Hin Beach cocktail ($12) combines Pampero dark rum, stout, coconut cream, lime and salt, poured over a mountain of crushed ice.
"I'm making the food that I want to eat, the food I like to cook," says Techmuanvivit, nodding toward Gaines and the kitchen, "but I don't have to make it myself anymore."