August 16, 2004 | Ask Gael

How romantic can it be?

         It doesn’t get more romantic than Kittichai: two soot-defying gazebos out front, a lounge where petals float in jars, and a shadowy dining room with tea lights adrift on a shimmering pool. Ian Chalermkittichai gave up his reign as the first-ever Thai executive chef at the Bangkok Four Seasons to woo New York with stylish Thai fusion in this intimate silk-wrapped lair by the Rockwell team. Cocoa-dusted ribs that didn’t work on first tasting definitely do now. The kitchen remains uneven, but I’ll be back for short-rib curry, braised black cod in lime-coriander broth, Chilean sea bass with morning glory, and rare honey-glazed duck. In a small threat to romance, the servers in their tropical pajamas may look sexier than thou. And why do they insist everything is to share? (Spice Market does it, too.) Two shrimp in a citrus salad or three nests of seviche divvy into a mess at a table for four. Still, sensuality ultimately triumphs with dessert—luscious smoked coconut-milk tapioca with passion-fruit sorbet, and the stunningly devilish frozen chocolate cake with spicy pineapple chutney.

60 Thompson Street 212 219 2000
Patina Restaurant Group