Downtown diners can get their Thai on with the arrival of Ka-Tip, a new restaurant specializing in Thai street food, coming in fall 2018 to the Dallas Farmers Market.
Ka-Tip, which refers to a small bowl in which rice is cooked, comes from husband-and-wife George and YuYee Kaiho, who are fulfilling a longtime dream to open a restaurant together.
George heads the bar program at Jettison, the companion lounge to Houndstooth Coffee at Sylvan Thirty. He made the list of top 10 bartenders in CultureMap's 2017 Tastemaker Awards. His background includes a childhood spent in Japan before moving to Texas when he was 18.
"I'm half Japanese and one of only two half-Japanese bartenders in Dallas," he quips. "YuYee is Thai. She grew up in a big family, and they always cooked a lot of food, with great home-cooking recipes you would only find in Thailand."
They'll do the classics like pad Thai that people expect, but their main focus will be on smaller plates.
"We call it Thai street food," Kaiho says. "It's more like small bites, with papaya salad and ground chicken — dishes that are unique to the Isaan region of Thailand that's neighboring Laos. You'll have a bunch of small dishes, tapas-style, that you eat with sticky rice."
They're going into a new space at the Farmers Market, which is still being built.
"We like the energy there and the fact that it's close to downtown Dallas," he says. "In the downtown region, there are few options for Thai restaurants."
Meanwhile, they're offering a preview via a casual dinner at Jettison in late September, with three courses for $35 per person, plus cocktail pairings for an additional $15.
"Jettison is a small space with only 28 seats, so we'll do two seatings," says Kaiho, who will remain at Jettison, even after Ka-Tip opens.
Since May, they've been manning a stand at the outdoor shed space on Sundays, where they've built up great word of mouth on their food. That will be on hold during September, since YuYee is headed to Bangkok to pick up "smallwares" and furniture that will convey the utmost in authenticity.
"Our goal is to provide a real cultural submersion in the sense that we'll be serving exactly what you would have in Thailand," George says. "I feel like we need more of this kind of stuff. It makes Dallas a better city."