Kru Thai Restaurant opens with Fish Cheeks

Chef Om Suansilfong, former chef of Thai seafood fish chips, will hit his own with Kru Restaurant, which will open at 190 N. 14th Street, between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street, in Williamsburg, on Friday, September 16. Suansilphong remains a partner at Fish Cheeks, and this is his first endeavor with his wife, Chef Kiki Supap, who will take over the managing side of Kru (other Fish Cheeks partners are not part of Kru).

The name Kru, means teacher or guide in Thai, and as such, looks at all the staff that Suansilphong has worked with over the years: from cooking at his father’s restaurant in Thailand, to working in Australia at Long Grain Restaurant in Southeast Asia, too. The case in the famous Bangkok restaurant, Nahm, before the days of Fish Cheeks.

Swansilphong, via an interpreter, says the cooking at his new restaurant has also been influenced by Sukhothai, Thailand’s north-central province where he grew up, along with ancient recipes from Thailand’s royalty and aristocrats.

The menu is divided into sections of small plates, such as crab meat salad with Japanese fish sauce, and family-style dipping dishes (from $30)—a dish of almond meat, usually made with fermented soybeans, but often made with fermented soybeans. Prepare it with kalamata olives with coconut cream and Thai pepper. Other dishes to share are the curry (also in the $30 range), which includes whole lobster with pineapple and salted egg yolk, beef tongue with hearts of palm, pork belly with mushroom button, pickled garlic, and chile paste. For dessert, there’s a play on sweet fermented rice dessert Khao Mak, which is served in the form of rice-based peach melba ice cream. Sobab comes from a long line of Thai dessert makers, and while she grew up helping them make desserts, the kitchen team handles the desserts.

Beef dish in Kru.

Cow tongue.
Teddy Wolfe / Crowe

Co-owners and spouses Om Swanselfong and Kiki Subap.

Co-owners and spouses Om Swanselfong and Kiki Subap.
Teddy Wolfe / Crowe

When Fish Cheeks first opened in 2016, The New York Times Restaurant critic Pete Wells helped put the restaurant on the map with a one-star rating; He wrote that the cooking done by Suansilphong and his brother, Chat Suansilphong, Tom Colicchio alum, was somewhat uninspired but “alive”. The crowds are still flowing. Om Suanselvong has maintained its approach to packing flavor without modifying Western tastes. In 2018, the unofficial Chicks Isan opened (although it has since closed), and more recently, Team Fish Cheeks teamed up with spice brand Omsom. Diners may find Kru different from other Thai restaurants in the city, with a global perspective on the cuisine.

The Kru dining room has 50 seats, eight in the bar, and six outdoor seating on the patio. The restaurant is open from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with service seven days a week to keep up.