Harold Dieterle, Chef, Kin Shop, Perilla, New York, NY, NYC, Manhattan, West Village, American, Asian, Thai, Top Chef, Bravo, Where to eat in New York, Thai recommendations, best thai in New York, Thailand, Where to eat Thai food, chef recs, F.E.D. recs

Q & A


Q. Please tell us about Kin Shop:

A. It’s definitely not authentic, it’s contemporary and definitely my take on Thai food, using those ingredients with classical techniques. It’s a little of everything. There are no rules.

Q. Before you opened up, did you do a lot of research?

A. I went to Thailand and spent about two months cooking over there in 2003 and again in 2008.

Q. Where were you?

A. The first trip I took, I spent about two weeks in Bangkok and then I went down south to Phuket and Koh Samu. In 2008, I spent time in Bangkok again and then went up north to Chiang Mai.

Q. Did you work in restaurants?

A. No restaurants, just with street food.

Q. A lot of places cook Thai food, but what makes a place really stand out?

A. I think it’s the balance of flavors. You need the heat, the acidity, the salt and a touch of the sweetness, all need to come through. Where I feel like most places, especially in New York, really hold back on the heat, because they think people can’t take it and they go a little heavy handed with the sugar.

Q. How do you balance that?

A. I just said I’m going to cook what it tasted like to me when I was in Thailand, I’m just going to go for it. Because some of the dishes are ridiculously spicy.

I make a Spicy Duck Laab Salad, which is probably on the borderline of being authentic, even though I’ve never really had it with duck. The first time I ate it, I had it with pork and it was by far the hottest dish I’ve ever had in my life. I was at a restaurant, which was actually inside a mall, and I was tearing beyond belief and the Thai folks in there were pretty much laughing at me. They kept bringing me water. So I didn’t want to create that, but I was kind of looking for a happy medium. I’ve had all different types of Laab in New York and none of them even made me break a sweat.

The first couple of times I made the Duck Laab Salad at Kin Shop, there was an asterisk to let people know it’s spicy. I would say that one of out every ten orders would get sent back, because it was too spicy. Now I put four asterisks on the dish and a little note on the bottom of the menu and I think we’ve found the happy place with it!

Q. When you’re having super spicy food, how do you put out the heat?

A. Two things that usually work, I have a cooling cucumber relish and I’ll offer that to the guest or a bowl of rice.

Advice / Tips

Q. What are some essential spices/herbs to keep on hand for cooking Thai food?

A. Ginger, if you can get Galanga - which is a young ginger, it’s great. Garlic, shallots, lemongrass, as far as aromatics. You’ll need lime, lime juice, and fish sauce - I like the Three Crabs Fish Sauce.

[See details.]

Q. Are there particular gadgets or tools for Thai cooking?

A. A rice cooker is very, very helpful.

A lime juicer: you know the lime juicers people use for margaritas? Those are very helpful. You go through a lot of lime juice in Thai food. If there is one gadget out there, that’s the guy.

Gloves: when you’re cleaning chilies, some latex or vinyl gloves or whatever you like to use, because some people for whatever reason, just touching the chilies will burn their skin.

Q. Is there a useful Thai cookbook?

A. David Thompson’s Thai Food is really good. It’s kind of a bible, I would say. It’s definitely not for somebody that wants to pick up Thai food and learn, because it’s pretty detailed and there are a lot of ingredients in the book that you’re not going to be able to get. But it’s legit.

[See details.]



Q. What are some of your favorite markets around New York to pick up ingredients for cooking Thai food?

A. The Bangkok Center Grocery in Chinatown. I can pretty much go there and pick up everything I need to make a nice Thai meal.

Around the corner is the Asian Market on Mulberry Street. I go in for things like fermented duck eggs, and they’re looking at me like what are you going to do with that?

[See details.]

Q. And what do you do with it?

A. In Thailand, they eat it over rice. It’s one of those things that it took me three or four times to enjoy eating foie gras and sea urchin, and I’m hoping that I’m going to like eating these at some point, but i just don’t see that happening!



Q. Are there places where you’ve had stand-out authentic Thai food in New York?

A. I eat at a place in Elmhurst called Chao Thai. It’s tiny, like ten seats. It’s almost like walking into a Chinese take-out restaurant, except it’s Thai food.

Sripraphai in Woodside is pretty consistent and the food is generally good. They’ve got a duck curry that is pretty good.

I get more excited about going out and eating Chinese food, because I’ve never been to China and I don’t have anything to base it off of. My favorites are Schezuan places.

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Q. Which Chinese places do you love?

A. Spicy and Tasty in Flushing off Main Street. Spicy and it’s good.

Grand Sichuan, all their locations.

I like Peking Duck House in Chinatown, for the peking duck really.

Phoenix Garden in Midtown, which is BYOB, and really good. It’s Cantonese food and it’s not about the decor. I like their Salt and Pepper Shrimp, which is pretty good. I like getting them with the shells on, but I know that freaks people out.

Shun Lee Palace, which is high-end Chinese and they do a nice job.

[See details.]

Q. What other New York spots do you like to go to?

A. Dovetail and annisa. I love them both for the same reason. The food is executed perfectly, the service is always great, and the rooms are beautiful. Everything is very focused and well thought out. Both conceived excellently.

At annisa, I had boiled peanuts in a composed dish for the first time, which I thought were really cool.

At Dovetail, I don’t think there is anything going better right now than the Monday night Veggie Night over there. It makes you think about food differently.

For Italian, I really enjoy Lupa.

For Japanese and sushi, I love 15 East. The sushi is awesome and it’s one of the few Japanese places where I really enjoy the cooked dishes. They have a duck soba dish with scallions that’s really out of control. But it’s not cheap.

[See details.]

Q. How about for affordable Japanese?

A. Kanoyama: the guy opened it and went back to Japan and left it to his students and they do a really nice job.

[See details.]

Q. Off the beaten track places?

A. Steinhof in Park Slope. They have great wiener schnitzel and spaetzle.

[See details.]


Q. Your wife is from Atlanta, any new places from your visits to Georgia?

A. I recently ate at Miller’s Union, which was awesome. Market driven, very hearty, meat-focused, not a lot of fish on the menu. Food was very good.

I still like Colonnade for chicken fried steak.

Bacchanalia. It’s probably my favorite restaurant in town. It’s a special occasion restaurant, it’s very expensive and it’s really nice.

In Northern Georgia, about an hour’s drive from Buckhead, is Poole’s Barbecue. Probably the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten. You pay like $5 or $10 and you get a pig and you write your name on the pig. So there is a huge mound outside of the restaurant with different people’s pigs. Not live pigs! Something you push into the ground like a stand.

[See details.]


Q. You’ve been to Thailand, if you were to go back... what specific places would you go to eat at (that we can also visit) and what to order?

A. In Bangkok there is a restaurant that I like that I went both times to and it’s called Poonsin Restaurant. The food was very good and it’s where I had Mango Sticky Rice for the first time ever. It was just one of those things, the ingredients are so simple and so many places do it, but it was just executed perfectly.

[See details.]


Q. You recently honeymooned in Italy... any great restaurants that you discovered?

A. Taverna Paradiso, in Trapani in Sicily, incredible pastas. I had a sea urchin pasta and a pink prawn pasta with leeks, both of them were crazy.

Marmoreo during the day it’s a fish market, and whatever doesn’t get sold, they do a tasting menu at night.

[See details.]


Q. Are there any great Thai beverages that should be on our radar and what do you love about them?

A. I really enjoy drinking Mekhong, even though it’s a little rough. It’s very rum-ish and it has some of the characteristics of whisky. It’s a little sweet like rum is, and it’s a pretty bad hangover!

We use it in a cocktail called the Sohm & Khing. We take the Mekhong and infuse it with ginger and let that hang for a little bit. It’s pretty good. We add Domaine de Canton, which is like a ginger liqueur, Aperol, grapefruit bitters and finish with bitter lemon soda. It’s a good drink.

[See details.]


Details of Harold Dieterle’s recommendations on where to eat in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Atlanta, Italy, and Bangkok.


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West Village


469 6th Avenue

New York, NY 10011

T: 212.675.4295 (make a reservation)




Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Sun: 5pm - 10pm


Greenwich Village

American/ Asian

9 Jones Street

New York, NY 10014

T: 212.929.6868 (make a reservation)




Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 11pm

Fri- Sat: 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Sun: 5pm - 10pm

Sat- Sun: 11am - 2:30pm


Recommended By

- Chef Joey Campanaro (Little Owl in New York, NY)

- Chef Hadley Schmitt (Northern Spy Food Co. in New York, NY)


Harold Dieterle’s recommendations on where to eat in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Atlanta, Italy, and Bangkok.



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