Tigerland (Brief review)
Last night I went to Tigerland in the east village. It has been on my radar for a long time. My experience bolstered a view I hold about NY dining. One perception of this restaurant was mostly accurate. The room was basic and the buzz non-existent. This did not in any way mar the experience for me.From top to bottom I enjoyed every dish and got the feeling that the owners lack business savy, but understand food quite well. Berkshire pork ( in several dishes), Creative vietnamese crepes with bacon and vegetables, Chinese/Thai style egg wrap with lettuce and herbs, spicy curry chicken, citrusy beef salad, gently fried chicken wings, two rice fried rice dishes scallion and shitake and pork fried rice. All good. I liked the egg dish most, but was impressed with the freshness, subtlety and coherence of all the food. Sometimes the Thai/Vitenamese stuff in nyc is heavy, sweet and almost over flavored. This was not. It was simply done, but represented what good chefs can do with fresh ingredients. To drink we had sangria and sing ha. The sangria was mellow, but good. It did not have that sweet taste that sangria can have. For desseert we had flan with caramel sauce and a coffee cupcake. The flan was firm and flavorful. The cupcake just ok. Later in the evening I spoke with women at the bar that worked there. They concurred with me that the food is terrific, but the business plan may be lacking. I am not an entrepeneur so beyond a basic PR discusion I could not offer advise for Tigerland. I just wonder sometimes if the dining public is paying attention to their food when they eat. If they were than some of the other popular, but mediocre spots would not fill stomachs, and peple could dine where the food is simply done right. I guess Tigerland and some other "under the radar" restaurants would need to do better on their end to accomplish that.
i finally tried tigerland last night and was not disappointed! while i have a dislike for 'asian fusion' and as a diehard fan of authentic and unamericanized asian food (growing up on it does that to you), i have to say i was quite happy with Tigerland's take on organic, fresh ingredients and bringing two cuisines together in an inventive and kind of upscale way. had a delicious duck pad khee mao (a bit oily but tasty and crisp with lots of basil, the way i like it); and crispy shrimp summer rolls w/ bacon, which was dipped in a sauce that seemed to be a mix of peanut and plum. it was tastier than your usual viet summer rolls though i'm not sure how; all i know is the shrimp & the vegs inside were crispy which was a nice contrast with the soft rice crepe and all the steamed vermicelli inside. i also had a delicious lime sugar soda, which was not too sweet and just the right mix of bubbly, sweet, and tart, and made w/ fresh limes. overall, nice, light, and perfect.
unfortunately i wasn't very hungry so i didn't eat much. but from what i did eat, i was happy & quite satisfied. service was extremely attentive but not intrusive, and very accommodating to my tastes. the only thing was the place was completely empty for all of the 2 hrs that i was there, and while a large group came in, i think they were daunted by the lack of customers and left. just wanted to fuel this thread so we can spread the word...
and thanks hounds for turning me to this place!
thanks for the review, jsmitty! i live right down the block from this place and was always curious, but couldn't get past the lack of crowds and didn't want to risk it. ended up at takahashi instead, half a block down, which i loved. i looked that up on chowhound once and couldn't find anything about it, but was curious why after i had a very good meal there. perhaps i spelled it wrong on my search?
but i will definitely give tigerland a try next time i'm scouring the hood. i'm not a big fan of asian fusion but i'll give it a try.