BY STEPHANIE HARRISON
Authentic isn’t the first word that comes to mind when thinking about this SoHo restaurant. KITTICHAI’s Thai cuisine is eclectic, exotic, and enticing. The lobby of the restaurant has a birdcage filled with fish for goodness sake. This place is Thailand’s home away from home, but with a nice, more upscale twist. Decorated with bamboo and wooden fixtures, it offers an original feel of Asian architecture that provokes a soft-spoken type of conversation. More importantly, the food is the heart of KITTICHAI.
Beginning with the Spicy and Sour Oxtail Soup with Kaffir Lime Leaves and Charred Tomatoes, you can taste every drop of sodium injected into the broth. If you dare to try oxtail, this soup is not a bad first choice. Their brunch menu offers many Thai classics, but it’s more fun to take an alternative route and nibble on something new. The Kaffir Lime Leaf Pancake with lemongrass butter and toppled with maple syrup is sure to get your brain twisted. You normally expect a margarine, sugary taste when it comes to pancakes and syrup, but within moments, the first bite of the pancake is filled with a curry aroma and flavor. If your brain can get over that, then try this fluffy, Thai inspired breakfast.
Following the exotic pancake was the Duck Egg Omelette (bacon, wok-fried morning glory with nam jim jaow sauce) and the Seared Duck Breast (Asian Pear Salad, light soy-vinegar dressing). Both phenomenal, it’s easy and crucial to jump back and forth from one duck to the other. You decide which bite you want taste last.
The Duck Egg Omelette had the perfect crisp combined with a soft fluffy texture of the egg. Dipped in the nam jim jaow sauce, a bit of a sweet and spicy flavor is added to enhance the duck flavors. This is sure to keep your mouth salivating. To take a break from the strong taste, dabble to the jasmine rice topped with lamb bacon on the side for a nice intermission. This dish has to be a popular one of many.
My last bite was decided on the Seared Duck Breast. It was a light, airy crunch with a sweet and sour bite to it. This small dish makes you not want to share even a little at all – you want every single taste of it, trust me. I loved it so much, I honestly had no idea and forget it had Asian pears in it. The light dressing did not overwhelm the natural flavors of the duck, it was just enough to make you want to eat it bite after bite. It is amazing what a simple dish can do – I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. KITTICHAI’s duck entrees are surefire dishes to sample.
No meal should end without dessert. Recommended with the Banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream – you might as well go home and take a nap after the ridiculously delicious finish. The banana spring rolls are no surprise; they taste exactly like it sounds, sweet, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. What is to die for is the burnt honey ice cream. I don’t care how they made it, it’s hands down the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever tried. Just think of the sugar that’s lighted fired on top of a crème brulee, add a touch of honey, and that’s the exact flavor minus however many degrees it takes to make ice cream. Warning: devour the scoop of ice cream before anyone gets a lick of it, or else you’ll regret sharing.
Next time you want Thai food and don’t want to break the bank and buy a air ticket to Thailand, head over to SoHo and treat yourself to KITTICHAI. Don’t miss out on the ice cream and the duck.