In this life I live, I am always in search of great experiences in the realms of food & drink, music, and fitness. When I am not in a bind for time, I thoroughly enjoy walking through different neighborhoods to see the offerings of local small businesses. As a lifelong resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, we have many mainstays on the business-front, but as of the past few years, I have noticed a few new spots popping up on the larger strips of Church Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, and Cortelyou Road.
Late last year, I noticed the opening of Thai Farm Kitchen on Church Ave between East 4th and East 5th Streets. I believed it was incredibly convenient, as I live just two blocks away, but as the NYC dining market is inundated with Thai restaurants, I quickly thought that perhaps, they were just like the others.
I continued passing the restaurant on my way to the subway as I was constantly in a rush, and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw that I had been followed on Instagram by the @thaifarmkitchen account. I decided to stop in one sunny Saturday afternoon post-nail appointment next door, and I am so glad that I did.
Thai Iced Tea
Upon entering, I immediately noticed that nearly all seats at tables were full, a feat in itself for a new restaurant in the hours between lunch and dinner service. I was greeted by co-owner Jess Calvo, and informed him that I noticed the restaurant had followed me on Instagram, so I wanted to pop in, say hello, and try out some dishes. He quickly brought over his wife and chef, Elizabeth Kanyawee Calvo, and sat us all at the single unoccupied table to chat about their business, culture, and journey to the States.
I told them a little bit more about myself, the fact that I have lived in the neighborhood all of my life, and that on my blog, I enjoy reviewing local restaurants in my neighborhood, and beyond. I ordered a Thai iced tea, and we began our conversation.
Interior view from the entrance
As written on the cover of the menu, Thai Farm Kitchen offers farm to table Thai cuisine. The Calvos opened the restaurant in October 2018, and quickly gained recognition from The New York Times. But this isn’t their first rodeo. The couple and their family owned three farm to table restaurants, along with a farm in their native Thailand. They decided to sell it all in search of their American dream, which conveniently set up shop right in my stomping grounds.
I started my food tasting with the Chicken Satay, seen in the photo above. Made with “free range chicken, marinated with lemongrass, turmeric, spices, served with peanut sauce”, it was a perfect beginning as all flavors were well-balanced and not overpowering. I really enjoyed the sauces on the side as they added another layer to an already delicious appetizer.
The interior of the restaurant is very thoughtful, featuring decor from Thailand and various plates, flatware, and dishes from the collection of Chef Kanyawee Calvo’s grandmother’s kitchen. Many of the dishes on the menu are also her grandmother’s recipes, which give the dining experience a very homey vibe. Although it was my first visit, all of these factors made me feel very welcome, and at home.
Tom Yum Noodle Soup
Mr. & Mrs. Calvo presented me with my main dish, the Tom Yum Noodle Soup, which they insisted to me was incredibly delicious, and could not be found at any other Thai restaurant in NYC. The soup consists of rice noodles, fish meat balls, lemongrass, galangal, ground meat, and a spicy sauce. I must say, the spice level of this dish made me shed a few tears, but it is by far one of the most unique and delicious soups I have ever had. The flavors were so complex, which kept me guessing what the next bite would be like. I enjoy the adventure of trying new foods, and with this meal, I unlocked a new level.
If you find yourself in Kensington during the afternoon or evening, be sure to stop into Thai Farm Kitchen. In addition to their dinner offerings, they have a lunch special which is a bang for your buck. Tell them Andrea sent you. You won’t be disappointed!
Menu & food photos by Andrea K. Castillo
Interior/decor photos courtesy of Thai Farm Kitchen
I received a complimentary meal from the restaurant