The following article is the work of a new CTbites contributor, "Realguy." While this is his first review, Realguy is not new to the site. You may recognize his name as one of the most active commenters since CTbites' inception.
The passage of time is strange. The distant past and the very recent can bend back on each other and almost touch, and what was once long ago can feel as real now as the blossoming of first love, as the comforting aroma of mom’s home cooking… Lately when I’m in the mood to go back up the river of time to that place in Southeast Asia that destiny would see us go just once, I visit Thai Kit on the Post Road in Fairfield. It's a brand new Thai restaurant with a couple of advantages over some other places I have tried. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, or if you live in the neighborhood, just past the McDonalds at the circle in Fairfield heading toward Black Rock on the left-hand side, Thai Kit is a delicious destination well worth exploring.
Her name is Nattima and she’s the lady of the house, and she’s also your hostess for your guided tour of Thai cuisine. In America for only three years, her short tenure here belies her already formidable success, earning already an MBA in finance and of course having just opened this quickly-growing restaurant. And she’s nice, radiating both beauty and sense of integrity. Her dedication to freshness is stated right on the menu andmy experiences at Thai Kit confirm her credo…freshness is key to the success of these (and really any) dishes.
Green curry chicken (seen above) is my favorite. The one at Thai Kit is outstanding. The sauce is richer than some I’ve tasted, hot but not too hot. There are five other curries as well, and I also had another favorite, the massaman curry with beef. Really nice sauce, really fresh beef.
The Pla Rad Prik is a work in progress. It's a crispy fish filet in a chili sauce, and it's good, but getting better fast. The fish in question the night I ordered it was that denizen of bathtubs and fish farms across southeast Asia, the dreaded Tilapia. I won’t pull any punches. Because Tilapia, has no inherent flavor, it generally makes for a darned uninteresting fish. While talking with Nattima, I discovered that they are in the process of switching the fish filets from Tilapia to Red Snapper. That is a really good idea. Presently the whole fried fish is a sea bass, which is a good thing.
Nattima was kind enough to sit down with me and tell me a little about her life back in Bangkok and growing up there and about coming to America and some of her experiences here. I ordered a plate of panfried sweet and sour shrimp while I contemplated her success. Nice and sweet, not too hot but a little bit spicy.
Fried pork dumplings. Mmm good. Really nice pork, really delicious dumplings. Crab Rangoon. Actually I don't eat crab, since watching a documentary about what happened to Amelia Earhardt and her first mate Noonan on that tiny pacific island they crashed onto. What did happen? Well, let's put it this way…On Gilligans Island they slept on hammocks for a reason.
Pad Thai, Pineapple fried rice, are all “on point”, as a certain spiky-haired friend would say. I also devoured beef with garlic sauce. Kind of reminiscent of Chinese. Lemongrass shrimp and Mango chicken are both excellent options. Beyond tasty, there’s a quality here across the entire menu that is worthy of attention. But who knew that the best, and for me most adventurous dish was yet to come?
When I was a kid we had a family of ducks that would season on our property. One year a male died (shot dead by a crazy chef with a hankering for duck fried rice, no doubt) leaving a female without a mate. My mom used to sit outside with her and they would talk and spend all afternoon together one summer. Anyway, she never made her best dish, duck a l’orange, ever again.
Now I myself have few such qualms and preconceptions. I used to work in an office with an unbelievable view of Times Square and my buddies and I would often lunch splendidly on the glorious, glistening ducks dangling in the front windows of the one great Chinese place left on 39th street; a man would stand in front chopping them up on round wooden butcher’s blocks. Fun times. But the most fun time was the time my drunk friend Paul, an excellent salesman but a bit of a rapscallion, went in alone and ran up an enormous bill with no intention of paying, and the Chinese guys were hunting for him all around Midtown for months, looking even in the offices above when they would make deliveries. But I do digress.
Duck is ubiquitous in southeast Asia, but here in America it can be absent, or hit-or-miss when it is on a menu. Thai Kit makes three duck dishes, one of which was ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I'VE EATEN ALL YEAR and it's been a very good year of eating (thank you Brian, I’m going to the tailors’ to have the pants adjusted). The basic one is called Home Style Duck, which is half a duck, roasted and then deep fried, in a sauce of tamarind and orange with some veg like broccoli and snow peas. This dish blew me away; it is as interesting a meal as anything in Fairfield county now. Kind of reminds me of my mom's duck from long ago. The orange one, not the one from the yard. The two other duck dishes are spicier, the first one is basil duck, and the second one is duck in a red curry and coconut milk sauce.
I will leave it to you intrepid reviewers to report back to me what delights you may discover in the far corners of Thai Kit’s menu. In the meantime, I will be out and about dining anonymously, tasting here and nibbling there until the top destinations have been discovered and reported on by me, your trusted tastemaker and general trendsetter. And I do want to emphasize that this review like any is not a finish line but a starting point, a jumping off place for new experiences and explorations. In addition, anyone who stops in at Thai Kit this week and mentions me will receive a puzzled look, and then the normal kindnesses and great food that are bestowed on any paying customer😊 I leave it in your capable hands to go and taste and report back here and tell me if and where I got it wrong. Until then, this is your friend realguy signing off, and promising as always to keep on keeping it real.
Rolling south toward Bangkok she's falling asleep on my shoulder as the sun sinks mercifully below the horizon; twilight wrapping itself around the approaching city like a veil of mysterious darkness. Just yesterday we swam in pools of blue, slept in a bungalow where cliffs rose up like castles out of the ocean. Slipping deeper into a dream, where past and future, real and imagined intertwine with tigers and elephants and fire-stick dancers, I can still feel her in my arms, lying together under a blanket of stars on that warm beach after midnight. If only that trip could have lasted forever…
Thai Kit 222 Post Road, Fairfield 203.955.1650