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Kindee

By Lavender May 7, 2010

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Serves Superlative Authentic Thai Cuisine

More than one legend surrounds the Thai “Son-in-Law Egg,”  but I will do my best to recount the version I prefer. Long ago, while a young man’s wife was out, her mother stopped by for an unexpected visit. Hoping to impress her, the anxious but unskilled son-in-law threw together a random, kitchen-sink type of dish made from very simple ingredients: hard-boiled eggs, tamarind sauce, and fried onions. To his surprise, the dish was a smash hit, and a culinary legend was born.

Son-in-Law Egg with crispy shallot and tamarind sauce; Panacotta with Lychee; Fried Banana; dining area. Photos by Hubert Bonnet

Yet, of all the Thai restaurants I have visited, I had my first taste of the famous Son-in-Law Egg ($4) at Kindee. The ingredient list may not sound fancy, but if you like the idea of a Scotch egg with more kick, order it there.

Kindee’s philosophy is to stay very close to authentic Thai cuisine. After all, why try to reinvent an already-perfect culinary wheel?

However, Kindee, where the dress code is come-as-you-are, also respects its Minnesotan location. Yes, it does have the Asian-restaurant requisite cream cheese wontons.

Spice levels at Kindee are tailored to Midwestern customers. But even diners with a higher tolerance for spice would be wise to give their palates a rest, as heat tends to build over the course of a meal. In the case of the Son-in-Law Egg, the traditional bite from chili peppers is optional—simply crumble your fried pepper garnish over the top, and enjoy.

Next, my dining partner and I tried the very mild Tod Mun Goong ($6)—fried shrimp cakes with housemade plum sauce— the perfect companion appetizer to Son-in-Law Egg.

Yum Woon Sen ($11), a traditional clear noodle salad, easily can be spiced up with any of the Thai condiments provided at the table. Our dish included octopus and squid for an unexpected treat, along with cherry tomatoes, red onion, ground chicken, peanuts, and fresh herbs. It’s satisfying, yet light and very refreshing.

Our server explained that Kindee’s menu changes each season, though it retains a significant portion of diner favorites in each category. I hope the summer menu, which is expected to debut in late May, still offers Yum Woon Sen.

For the true Thai experience, one really should try at least one imported Thai beer. Singha ($4.95) once entirely dominated Thailand’s market with its dry finish and uplifting flavor. However, Chang ($4.95) managed to push its way through as a worthy competitor, with a zestier interplay between sweet and bitter. Both beers are fairly light, which suits their climate of origin. They are perfect to pair with spicier items on the menu.

Our Angry Crystal ($12) noodle dish was served at a mild-to-moderate level of spiciness. I would describe myself as spice-indulgent, but I enjoyed it tremendously just as it was prepared. The “crystal” terminology refers to the clear mung bean noodles in the recipe, which are prepared to be somewhat chewy. Their calamari-like texture lends them a bit more substance and interest. They’re tossed with stir-fried bell peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms, along with fresh, invigorating Thai basil—plus your choice of meat for an additional $1 to $2. I think it would be fair to say that this dish has a flair for taste-bud drama.

I shall have to return at some point to try one of the curry dishes, but both my dining partner and I barely had room for the desserts. However, we did sample the sweet and innocent Lychee Panna Cotta ($5), served with berry coulis.

Come summertime, Kindee would make the perfect late-night dessert for two on a muggy evening. I’m sure its location opposite the Guthrie beckons more than a few for an après-theater refreshment or two.

The heartier Fried Banana ($5), however, was my favorite. It is tossed delicately with coconut milk, then wrapped in a spring roll wrapper, and fried. The roll is presented prettily sliced, drizzled lightly with honey and chocolate sauce. It’s pure heaven!

Along with your dessert, or perhaps as a charming and unique substitution, sip an imported Thai iced tea ($3). A healthy infusion of half and half helps release the tea’s luscious vanilla and cinnamon notes.

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