A Guide to Wine at Kin Khao
Tucked away in a corner of the Parc 55 Hotel, Kin Khao is on every Bay Area foodie’s hot list. It was opened a year ago by Pim Techamuanvivit, a Bangkok native and food blogger, who longed for the food she grew up with in Thailand. She hired Michael Gaines, who came from the Manresa kitchen, to help create and execute an authentic menu but smartly realized that she needed a well-chosen wine list to match her vision.
With 40 wines from half a dozen countries available by the bottle, the selection is manageable. Each wine has a brief and, thankfully, accurate description created by buyer, Sam Zelver, an alumnus of Soif in Santa Cruz. Since many of the dishes are spicy, wines with a little residual sugar, especially Riesling, are a strong suit. The ’06 Toni Jost Riesling Spätlese, “Bacharcher Hahn,” is a good deal at $48 and stands up to nearly all the spice the kitchen can throw at you. The 2011 Domaine Bechtold Pinot Gris “Silberberg,” ($48) from Alsace can also handle the menu, handily.
The cuisine is definitely more oriented toward white wine but the red section is also well suited to the menu. Most are relatively low alcohol, which is key, especially when pairing with dishes that have a lot of heat. Copain’s 2013 Trousseau ($58), from the Russian River, is, at 12.5%, perfect. Light-bodied, somewhat fruity, a little peppery and moderately floral, it complements the flavors without overwhelming the dishes.
Including sake, a dozen wines are offered by the glass and as makes sense, five are white. Leitz’s 2013 "Dragonstone" Riesling ($13gl/$40bt) is an easy “go-to” but the others, such as the 2013 Pallavicini Frascati “Poggio Verde,” can take on a good chunk of the menu, especially the cold plates. The three red wines served by the glass, which at present include the 2013 Succés Vinicola “La Cuca de Llum,” ($12gl/$38 bt), a vibrant Trepat from Cataluña, hit the right spots.
Annotated wine lists such as these can be a good aid but that doesn’t let the staff off the hook and the servers at Kin Khao are able to enthusiastically help you make a wine choice. They genuinely seem into what the restaurant is doing and that extends to all of the beverages.
Here is the ultimate wine list litmus test: would you go to a restaurant to drink wine, even if you were not eating? Quite obviously, the food here does not play second fiddle but the wine list at Kin Khao lives up to the high standards set by Pim Techamuanvivit and probably most wine enthusiasts, too.
55 Cyril Magnin Way
Photo via Kin Khao