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Aug 25, 2007 06:55 PM

Zabb City

I've ordered from here before b/c its close to my apt, but i've never actually eaten at the restaurant. So tonight my gf and i ate at the restaurant and.....its much much better actually eating there, i thought it was very good overall.

- pork labb - excellent, really tasted nice with the lime juice plus nice and spicy
- stick rice
- papaya salad - sliced papaya, red onions and chillis that are like pickled or in some type of vinegrette....again very good and complimented the dishes very nicely
- crispy duck salad - first time i had this, its basically crispy chopped up duck with thin slices of apple and onions plus some chillis; duck is nice and savory while the vegetables are somewhat pickled was very tasty i really like the apples with the duck
- red curry with chicken - pretty standard, but nicely done

Highly recommend going, lady was really nice too.

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    1. re: LeahBaila

      13th bet 2nd and 3rd, south side of the street

    2. I'm glad you liked it too. They've got some really light, yet flavorful salads, which are very filling too. Perfect for the hot, muggy weather. They're no longer BYOB, which is what got me going in the first place, but I will still return for the food. I agree that the curries are aren't distinctive, but I found mine tasty as well.

      They are truly nice there. When I called ahead about the BYOB a few weeks ago, the lady on the phone told me their AC was out and recommended me getting either takeout or going some other time. Such honesty is really refreshing!

      1. Tried Zabb City for the first time this Friday. Favorable review but not dying to go back, had the papaya salad (good); duck salad (very good); pad ki mao (ok) and red curry (ok to good, but nothing special, a bit watery). Staff was very friendly and helpful, atmosphere comfortable and warm.

        Zabb is a great option if you're hackering for a Thai fix in Manhattan but I'm a Queens native so Sri is still my favorite.

        1. I was really really disappointed when I went there in late December.

          My friend and I shared the papaya salad, which was really good - the papaya was at the right ripeness and it was firm and perfectly tart. There were tons of peanuts in it, which I liked.

          I ordered the Vegetarian Kee Mao Noodles and it was horrible - NO flavor, greasy bland sauce, and the vegetables were generic freezer vegetables that were barely steamed (and not the ones listed on the menu). Seriously, the dish had no color to it save for the HUGE carrot slices and barely cooked broccoli. It looked like elementary school cafeteria food and didn't taste much better. I sent it back and didn't order anything else.

          My friend got the Green Curry Fried Rice with chicken, which she was none too thrilled with - it was supremely spicy but didn't have any of that great green curry flavor (or salt, for that matter). She's not as vocal as I am, so she just didn't eat the rest of hers.

          And then we left and got ourselves pizza, and swore never to cheat on our favorite EV Thai restaurant, Klong (at which we've been eating regularly for years, and it is always awesome).

          5 Replies
          1. re: scarlet starlet

            the problem with zabb city is that u have to order certain dishes there b/c not all of their dishes are good...its kind of like a chinatown restaurant that has alot of dishes, but really there are a few things u go there to eat. i've eaten at zabb city enough to know what i like now b/c its pretty close to my apt

            the dishes i stick with are the salads (pork labb, papaya salad, duck salad) and the calamari appetizer is pretty good as well...i pretty much stick to that (with an order of sticky rice).

            I'm far from a thai food expert (so feel free to correct me), but zabb city is really an isan specialist (area of northeast thailand) and some of the above named dishes (ex-the calamari) are all isan dishes...i believe the classic is the pork labb coupled with papaya salad with stick rice.


            1. re: scarlet starlet

              More about Klong, since it came up? Can you get a burnishing panang if you ask for it? What do you eat there?

              1. re: sing me a bar

                I have no idea what a burnishing panang is! (What is it?)

                I eat, um, pretty much everything there. They have a special pumpkin red curry I love, their noodles are awesome, their curries are very good, and I have a soft spot for their floating market noodles (their take on Khao Soi). I have to admit that I'm not overly fond of their stir-fried dishes, but everything else is really really really good.

                By the way, I love Thai food, and I don't like most Thai places. So I think it says a lot about Klong that I love it so much!

              2. re: scarlet starlet

                My kee mao was pretty bland too and had big wedges of tomato that I wasn't too crazy about. Haven't ever tried Klong but I do like Thailand Cafe in EV alot, 95 2nd Ave btwn 5th & 6th. Their kee mao was very tasty and well spiced. The scene is a bit lounge-like so it's not as warm and comfy as I prefer. But the food is much better than Zabb City, imo.

                1. re: moymoy

                  I had a decent pork larb at Zabb a few months ago, and I took a friend here from out of town hoping to find some decent Manhattan Thai along the lines of Sri, Queens Zabb, Boon Chu, Arunee etc. Let me tell you--this place is absolutely horrible. It is no better than most of the Thai places along 1st and 2nd Avenue...the papaya salad (which I ordered 4 out of 5 on the spice scale but the waitress wrote down 3 anyway) was bland, small, and not very complex. My friend's chicken red curry was awful, super sweet, full of American vegetables (big old eggplant slices, green beans and canned Bamboo shoots) and tasting like a spicy red Pina Colada; my beef Zabb curry saute, which again I ordered very spicy but was bland, was just atrocious. It was nothing but an entire can of Bamboo shoots in a boring, one-dimentional curry sauce with some OK beef slices. Both dishes were nearly ten dollars. I felt like I was back at Siam Square in Evanston, Illinois experiencing "Thai food" for the first time.

                  Because she asked, I informed the waitress that the food was mediocre and un-Thai, and she replied that "Americans like this Thai food." I say, if you're one of those Americans, then go ahead and eat here. But if you're expecting anything remotely approaching real Thai food, than stay far, far, away. The only Thai place I've ever eaten at in Manhattan that has come within reach of the Queens places has been Wondee Siam--only after pleading with them to make me real Thai food. Incidentally, the single best Thai meal I've ever had in NYC was at Zabb on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights.

              3. Zabb City just makes me sad. It's the sister restaurant of Zabb Queens, but it's only about 1/8 as good.