Chef Kimberly Gamble opened Blessed Fowl in 2019—before the pandemic moved into city. Positioned in close proximity to the UC Berkeley campus, Gamble closed down the chicken-centric cafe in 2021. “All the higher education college students weren’t there any longer,” she stated, “and we wished to improve the menu.” Cousins Asian Road Foods is her new cafe strategy, which opened very last thirty day period in the very same Lucky Fowl house on Shattuck Avenue. As the identify suggests, Gamble introduced a younger cousin in to assist her run the business.
“We have a family recipe for home made noodles,” Gamble reported. Her grandmother taught her mother how to make them. And, in flip, her mom taught Gamble. “My grandma used to make them on particular instances,” she stated. “I keep in mind coming back again to the States [from Thailand] and inquiring my mom to make them, specifically if I wasn’t experience fantastic. That noodle, in a soup, is actually superior.” The chef felt that finding do-it-yourself noodles like theirs at eating places was a rarity. So they determined to concentrate on them at Cousins.
I requested a plate of Nam Suggestion Street Wok ($14.50), her variation of Pad Thai. Alternatively of the standard slim flat noodles, Gamble’s selfmade types were prolonged, thick and chewy, like udon but denser. They transformed the regularity of the dish and the way the components melded collectively. It was Pad Thai, but reinvented, and generously sprinkled with refreshing inexperienced onions and mint.
I didn’t get to try Fortunate Hen prior to it closed, but the area, in its Cousins reincarnation, is stuffed with natural gentle from several windows. At most, there are 10 tables overall, but it doesn’t experience crowded within. The address shares a tiny “alley” amongst the constructing entryways, in which there are also a several tables established up outside the house.
There is some good information for diners who skip Blessed Fowl. Cousins hasn’t ditched each dish from the preceding menu. Gamble nonetheless makes her eggplant fries, crispy pork stomach and a pumpkin curry ($13.50) with the warning “spicy” printed in crimson. The warmth in that curry is no joke. Gamble claims she’s, in element, making Southern Thai foodstuff. “It’s based more on spices. The pumpkin curry is truly flavorful, simply because of the fresh turmeric and the chili pepper.”
Gamble’s family also runs Lanna Thai in Livermore. “The curry there is built with our have curry paste that we established as ‘medium,’” she says. “If individuals want it spicier, there is ‘hot’ and ‘high scorching.’” Even although the chef prefers a medium degree of warmth in the food she eats, lots of of her prospects can tolerate substantial sizzling, and they enjoy it. Gamble also factors out a Cousins dish termed Mother’s Wok Dry Curry. “It’s also built with a curry paste but without coconut milk,” she suggests. “It has that curry flavor, but it is even spicier.”
If Gamble’s identify is acquainted to East Bay diners, they may be familiar with her cooking at Daughter Thai Kitchen area in Montclair. In truth, she is the daughter the cafe is named for. “I grew up in the restaurant company,” Gamble suggests. “Since I was 10 several years aged, I was generally supporting my mother at the restaurant.” Her mom not only taught her how to cook but also how to operate a business enterprise. Opening Daughter Thai Kitchen for the operator was a very good experience for the chef, but just after a few of several years there she desired to start her possess restaurant. That’s when she decided to open Fortunate Chook.
Growing on the menu at Lanna Thai, Gamble is interested in combining different cuisines alongside one another. “If you think about Thai foodstuff and Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese—they’re all very very similar,” she stated. “We all use the exact same ingredients, but the methods are distinct when we cook dinner them.” Even though she does help her mother out at Lanna, Gamble’s interest is centered on Cousins.
“I did not want to open a regular Southeast Asian restaurant. I preferred to have a exceptional dish,” she mentioned. In addition to her Grandmother’s noodle recipe, Gamble is usually looking at techniques to occur up with new dishes. “I like combining different cuisines alongside one another. Later on on, there’ll be distinct forms of curry noodles, noodle soups and stir fries.”