Depending on how you draw the lines, it’s a close race between Thai and Mexican restaurants when it comes measuring which cuisine has the largest presence around Capitol Hill. We count around 21 Thai restaurants within easy walking distance around the Hill with the recent debut of the comedy-infused Bites of Bangkok on 15th Ave E.
But there is only one joint on the border of Capitol Hill and Madison Valley where Kin Dee opened earlier this year as a new take on authentic Thai food. Popular dishes and street food are combined with a new style of presentation curated by chef Bell Wongsupalak and his wife and menu influencer Ira Saejeam. According to Saejeam, “Kin Dee means good food, good quality. In Thai, Kin means ‘eat’ and Dee means ‘good.’ It’s also easy for everyone to remember.”
The couple said the border zone location was the best option after a long search across the Hill.
“We looked all over Capitol Hill, and Bell liked this location because it’s a good neighborhood with a lot of lot of houses,” Saejeam said. They’re also in the new Hamilton Apartments building and because they were starting from a blank slate of a restaurant space, Wongsupalak could design Kin Dee in his specific style.
“I like to see if the customer likes my food, so I designed a more open kitchen,” Wongsupalak said. “It’s important to me that my customers know my food is authentic, we use real Thai Basil unlike most Thai restaurants around that use Sweet Basil. You can tell a difference.”
While Wongsupalak is the driver behind the food and decor, Saejeam brings a lot of heart to the place. So much so, the bar manager has named a drink after her, the “Ira Pink Rock” which features a strawberry frozen in an ice cube. The cocktail menu adds some flair to the experience with drinks like the Electric Butterfly which changes color when lime juice is combined with a syrup made from Butterfly Peas flowers.
With a focus on authentic street food, classics like Pad Thai are on the menu, but served with a new presentation more befitting of a sit down restaurant in Seattle than the streets of Bangkok. The Duck Panang is crispy and the curry is a delight, but the Kao Ka Moo is a favorite of Saejeam’s. With a friendly staff and Saejeam happy to inform you what she likes the best, you’ll likely enjoy your visit and might as well give anything on the menu a try. Besides, what other choice do you have? Kin Dee is the only Thai joint for at least three blocks.
You can find Kin Dee at 2301 E Madison. Learn more at kindeeseattle.com.
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