Ask St. Louis chefs for their favorite under-the-radar dish, and a surprising number will say the exact same thing: the khao soi at Fork & Stix. The unassuming Thai restaurant on the edge of the Loop has been a cult favorite since it first opened in 2012, name-checked by no less than James Beard winner Gerard Craft. It's one of Ian Froeb's "100 Best St. Louis Restaurants" and the RFT's "40 Restaurants We Love." And no menu item has been more lauded than its signature northern Thai curry noodle soup.
And now you don't even have to drive to the Loop to try it. Earlier this month, Kiin Essentially Thai (550 N. 7th Street, 314-241-1989) quietly opened its doors in the MX building downtown — or at least as quietly as anyone can open their doors in a busy development in the heart of downtown. But while the owners haven't done much to publicize the opening, word of the restaurant's pedigree has clearly gotten out ... or maybe just word of that khao soi. On our recent visit, the place was packed.Now, as the name should make clear, this isn't Fork & Stix Part II. Phatcharin Wanna, the original restaurant's proprietor, has opened Kiin with a new partner, Kobe Tanya. And the space has a much different look. With a soaring ceiling and sophisticated visual touches, it's ready for the downtown lunch crowd, not just food lovers on a mission.
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