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Authentic northern Thai restaurant opens in South Beach

Staff writer

John Kunkel, who most recently brought the award-winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar to South Beach, has opened Khong River House, which features the flavors of northern Thai cuisines.

Kunkel has traveled through Thailand and wanted to bring some of his experience to South Florida.

“A handful of these recipes are being shared with this part of the world for the first time,” he said in a press release.

Like food prepared in the markets of northern Thailand, Khong’s menu will feature Burmese, Laotian and Vietnamese influences.

The kitchen is headed up by executive chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn (known as Chef Bee), who hails from the small town of Ban Sankhohiang in the Chiang Rai region. Chef de cuisine Duangwiwat Khoetchapayook (known as Chef Danny) is from a region known as Korat in the northeastern part of Thailand. Sous Chef Sudarat Loasupho (known as Chef Pai) is from he region of Yasothorn also in the northeastern part of Thailand.

Look for menu items such as Jin Som, marinated pork cooked in banana leaves, which Chef Bee learned from his grandmother. There’s also Kauyteaw Reau Neau (Boat Noodles), which comes for Chef Danny’s sister, who operates one of the most popular boat noodle restaurants in his region.

Kunkel’s 50 Eggs Inc. team designed the restaurant to look no unlike the rural farm house along the Mekong River with rustic hardwood butcher block tables and an open kitchen with a heavy raw steel hood to resembled the hand-made aesthetic of the rural Thai country side. There are 100 seats in the main dining room, two private rooms that seat 10 eat and an  upstairs dining area for another 75 guests.

Khong River House (1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, 305-763-8147, served dinner daily. Lunch and weekend brunch will follow soon.

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