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Malaysian at Laut?

f
foodwhisperer Feb 10, 2009 01:16 PM

Since Franklin Station closed in Tribeca, i'm at a loss for good Laksa and authentic Malaysian food. Someone recommended Laut on 17th st. ,, I looked at the menu and it says malaysian /thai. I assume they mixed both cuisines as thai will get them more business. However, my question is , is the Malaysian there good and is it authentic? I want to take someone who spends half the year in Malaysia there.

  1. grandma Zaza Nov 21, 2010 09:47 AM

    Personally, I prefer it to Nyonya and Penang. It tasted more authentic to me. I loved it and I'll definitely be back!

    1 Reply
    1. re: grandma Zaza
      p
      Pan Nov 21, 2010 10:33 AM

      No dispute on that. As far as I'm concerned, Nyonya and Penang suck and Laut is the best Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan. But that doesn't make it worthy of a Michelin star.

    2. p
      penang_rojak Nov 6, 2010 06:40 PM

      Article on Laut's Michael Bong in The Sunday Star Malaysia today:

      http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?...

      1. huiray Nov 3, 2010 06:20 PM

        Here's an article from today's NYT about Malaysian/Singaporean food in NY, with KF Seetoh (a well-known Singaporean chef/food authority) as the guide: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/din...

        NOTE that Laut is NOT amongst the recommended places listed in the article in the insert ... :-) :-

        )

        (Yes, perhaps Michelin should stick to French food)

        -----
        Laut
        15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

        7 Replies
        1. re: huiray
          s
          Simon Nov 4, 2010 03:34 AM

          nice nytimes article!

          1. re: Simon
            huiray Nov 4, 2010 04:37 AM

            Mind you, my comment about KF Seetoh was 'what I was given to understand', if you will. it seems that opinions about KF Seetoh vary.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7421...

            1. re: huiray
              l
              Lau Nov 17, 2010 08:08 AM

              seetoh is not universally liked in singapore as you can see from that link huiray put up. when he put out his makansutra guide, it was well received, but alot of people think he has turned into some sort of zagat's guide (i.e. not that credible). I don't really have feelings on him either way as i'm not super familiar with all his reviews and i haven't spent enough time in singapore recently to have a concise view on what i like and don't like anymore

              also in the NYT article, if you read closely you'll find that some of the restaurants seetoh did not opine on (such as overseas), it was the author (a singaporean food novice) who inferred what he thought seetoh would say based upon the guidance seetoh gave him on what makes a good stringray

            2. re: Simon
              p
              Pan Nov 4, 2010 05:18 AM

              It IS nice, though by my count, it contains several geographic errors, one pronunciation error ("canai" in roti canai is pronounced "chah-nye," not "chen-nye," at least in Malaysia), and one culinary error, which I'll mention here, in the description of ikan pari panggang (note the proper spelling, too!):

              "Served with wedges of lemon and rings of onion"

              No, not lemon; lime! I guess Mr. Seetoh didn't explain to Ms. Moskin that limes are a basic aromatic taste in Southeast Asia, and that lemons are not a traditional crop.

              1. re: Pan
                thew Nov 4, 2010 06:01 AM

                to be fair, in SE asia the limes/lemons are sorta a cross between the two, as we understand them here.

                1. re: thew
                  p
                  Pan Nov 4, 2010 10:10 PM

                  Not my experience at all. Malaysian limes - of all kinds - are highly aromatic. Lemons that you generally get here are not.

                2. re: Pan
                  s
                  Simon Nov 4, 2010 09:09 AM

                  my fav part of the article was this:

                  Times writer: “Would you really eat this in Singapore?”

                  Seetoh: “We’ll talk outside,” he said, tersely.

                  Substitute "Thailand" or "Sichuan" for Singapore, and i can feel Seetoh's pain :)

            3. thew Jun 15, 2010 08:37 AM

              i was underwhelmed by Laut. the food was good, but nothing supremely memorable

              -----
              Laut
              15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

              14 Replies
              1. re: thew
                LeahBaila Jun 15, 2010 01:33 PM

                Agreed. Ordered-in last Friday and wasn't blown away. While it's not bad, by any means, it definitely won't be in the rotation for my next "Blockbuster" night.

                www.thelunchbelle.com

                1. re: thew
                  bigjeff Jun 15, 2010 01:37 PM

                  what did you guys order? I've been there a few times and stuck with nasi lemak, asam laksa, different vegetables in typical shrimp paste stuff, and had the claypot too which was pretty damn good; sticking with the malaysian stuff.

                  1. re: bigjeff
                    LeahBaila Jun 15, 2010 01:42 PM

                    I ordered the Tom Kha soup with veggies. Next time, I will do shrimp, instead. Got a side of jasmine rice and a tea, but didn't want to spend over $15. There were a couple of appetizers that caught my eye, but, again, I couldn't go over budget.

                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                    1. re: LeahBaila
                      r
                      Ricky Jun 16, 2010 09:37 PM

                      You ordered a thai soup and rice at a malaysian restaurant and expected to be blown away?

                      1. re: Ricky
                        LeahBaila Jun 17, 2010 06:39 AM

                        Yes, actually, I expected to be much more satisfied. And, like Thew said below, "the foods of southern Thailand and northern Malaysia are pretty damned similar."

                        www.thelunchbelle.com

                        1. re: LeahBaila
                          JungMann Jun 17, 2010 07:48 AM

                          Except tom kha isn't a southern style dish. Tom kha is a light soup you'd expect more in Northern Thailand or among Laotians, with added chicken to make it more filling. Panning Laut because its vegetable broth didn't satisfy you is like complaining Phyllis Diller's rendition of "Bad Romance" didn't rock your world.

                          -----
                          Laut
                          15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                      2. re: LeahBaila
                        bigjeff Jun 17, 2010 08:34 AM

                        apps in asian restaurants are usually . . . not good or at least, just not my personal taste; the curry puffs and spring rolls and whatever. so I'd avoid most of those generic ones.

                        for sure, at Laut the focus for me is on the Malaysian food so you can skip the rest of the menu; thai in manhattan has its own issues anyway.

                        give it a go and try to order your favorites; I don't remember the menu being strictly organized by country so you'll just have to go thru it and find the malay stuff or, just ask the servers for their best recs for serious malaysian classics; especially if you go this week where the focus is on malaysian, you should be able to have a much more satisfying meal.

                        -----
                        Laut
                        15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: bigjeff
                          LeahBaila Jun 17, 2010 08:44 AM

                          Agreed. Thanks for the tips, Jeff. I'm sure it's better to dine-in, as opposed to take-out, anyways.

                          www.thelunchbelle.com

                          1. re: LeahBaila
                            bigjeff Jun 17, 2010 11:01 AM

                            in case you missed this link:
                            http://www.malaysiakitchennyc.com/new...

                            enjoy!

                            1. re: bigjeff
                              LeahBaila Jun 17, 2010 11:04 AM

                              Just heard about this! Thanks for the link. :)

                              www.thelunchbelle.com

                      3. re: bigjeff
                        thew Jun 16, 2010 04:52 AM

                        the lakhsa was good. a friend had softshell crab, maybe in massaman curry, that was good. the claypot was OK, not fantastic, but ok. the thai shrimp and basil was meh.

                        1. re: thew
                          p
                          Pan Jun 17, 2010 02:15 AM

                          Laut is a Malaysian restaurant that is serving other types of food to appeal to a general audience that wants them. In order to get the most out of such a restaurant, make sure not to order Thai dishes like Thai Shrimp and Basil, and get genuine Malaysian curries instead of Massaman Curry, which is a Southern Thai Muslim curry - definitely related to Malay curry in northern Malaysia but something you would be better off ordering at a Thai restaurant that makes good Southern Thai food.

                          I agree that Laut is not supremely memorable, but they serve the best, most authentic Malaysian food I've had in Manhattan (OK, the food wasn't spicy enough the first time or two I went there, so it really does help that I speak Malay and they recognize me now, but even then, the food struck me as tasty and made with good ingredients). If you want cheaper very good Malaysian food in much more informal surroundings, go to Taste Good in Elmhurst. I don't think they serve Thai food, and they definitely don't have sushi.

                          1. re: Pan
                            thew Jun 17, 2010 04:39 AM

                            the foods of southern thailand and northern malaysia are pretty damned similar. that said, te soft shell crab was one of the better things on our table.

                            1. re: thew
                              p
                              Pan Jun 18, 2010 02:17 AM

                              I used to live in northeastern Peninsular Malaysia (specifically, Terengganu, plus several visits to Kelantan, though I also spent time in KL and have visited various other places on the West Coast). Though I've never actually been across the border to Southern Thailand, I understand the relationship pretty well and also know that Malaysian cuisine has in recent years been suffused with Thai influence (you can get pad prik, often spelled paprik, in many Malaysian restaurants in Malaysia, for example). Nevertheless, I think my remarks stand as a general rule, especially in New York.

                    2. p
                      phoenikia Jun 7, 2010 12:35 PM

                      For laksa, would you recommend Laut or Nyonya?

                      I enjoyed other dishes at Nyonya several years ago, but have not eaten at Laut.

                      -----
                      Nyonya
                      199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                      Laut
                      15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: phoenikia
                        p
                        Pan Jun 7, 2010 11:41 PM

                        I've had asam laksa at Laut and liked it.

                        1. re: phoenikia
                          bigjeff Jun 8, 2010 06:01 AM

                          give Laut a go; it's quite good and delicious there; the price premium is well worth it (and not by *that* much either).

                          -----
                          Laut
                          15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: bigjeff
                            p
                            phoenikia Jun 8, 2010 09:03 AM

                            Thanks Pan & bigjeff. Will give Laut a try ;-)

                            -----
                            Laut
                            15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                            1. re: phoenikia
                              bigjeff Jun 10, 2010 10:28 AM

                              I don't know what the prix fixe will consist of, but next week is Malaysian Restaurant Week, might be a good time to check the joint out as Laut is one of the participants.
                              http://www.malaysiakitchennyc.com/new...

                              1. re: bigjeff
                                p
                                phoenikia Jun 10, 2010 10:36 AM

                                thanks for the heads up!

                                1. re: bigjeff
                                  r
                                  round2 Jun 15, 2010 07:09 AM

                                  I had dinner at Laut last night, taking advantage of the Malaysian Restaurant Week prix fixe. They were awfully nice about providing vegetarian versions of dishes that are, of course, not traditionally veg. Must say that I enjoyed them too. I loved seeing a birthday cake with lit candles emerge from the kitchen and have it be in surprise celebration of one of the staff, not a patron.

                                  -----
                                  Laut
                                  15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. re: round2
                                    bigjeff Jun 15, 2010 08:27 AM

                                    cool; what exactly is the restaurant week deal or choices?

                          2. bigjeff Jul 30, 2009 07:12 AM

                            short writeup in the NYTimes this week:

                            http://events.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/...

                            seems the writer missed some of the best malaysian hits! wew, she did like that mee hoon goreng tho.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bigjeff
                              w
                              wew Apr 21, 2010 01:56 PM

                              Went for lunch today and had the asam laksa, "malaysia traditional spicy sour thick lemongrass fish flake gravy onion cucumber pineapple vietnamese mint - shrimp paste laifun noodle", as the menu says. Great flavor but a tad heavy on the sweet for me. I didn't use any of the dark soy they serve as a garnish, might have liked some lime though. And a bunch more noodles. Unlike the mee hoon goring, Big Jeff, this was rich with aromatic fish flavors.

                              1. re: wew
                                f
                                foodwhisperer Apr 22, 2010 06:05 AM

                                The Malaysian restaurant on Grand St next to Ferrara, had very good Malaysian food and less costly than Laut. I do like Laut, especially the roti, the hakka chicken was good but my Malaysian friend requested broth, apparently its supposed to be served with broth and they dont serve it that way at Laut unless you ask

                                -----
                                Laut
                                15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                  p
                                  Pan Jun 6, 2010 12:40 AM

                                  The place next to Ferrara is Nyonya, and we differ on it. My experience at Laut is that the food is consistently good and maybe very good, but that's partly because though I don't go frequently, they recognize me and know I have Malaysian tastes, including for hot pepper. My only problem with Laut is that a meal there costs probably over 3 times as much as I would pay at Taste Good in Elmhurst, but the difference is in rent, decor, and ambiance (whether one prefers the attempt at "cooler" ambiance or not). It's basically the difference between around $60 for dinner for 2 vs. maybe $20 or so at Taste Good.

                                  -----
                                  Nyonya
                                  199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                            2. s
                              suelynyeoh Jun 9, 2009 02:04 PM

                              After Penang closed, I've been going to Sentosa on Prince Street in Flushing. The prices are very affordable, easy to get there by LIRR and 7 train and the food is fairly authentic, especially the asam laksa and other noodle dishes. I particularly like the curry mee and the char kway teow and the seafood scramble egg chow fun. The beef rendang tastes like my Mom's. Start with the roti canai and a bowl of hainanese rice to sop up the curry. Some of the rice dishes come out in a ridiculous looking pineapple boat for the tourists but don't let that throw you off. I think the restaurant is Michelin-recommended.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: suelynyeoh
                                w
                                wew Jun 24, 2009 03:47 PM

                                roti so good, mee hoon goring boring, not a trace of shrimp paste

                                1. re: suelynyeoh
                                  bigjeff Jul 30, 2009 07:13 AM

                                  have you eaten at laut yet? what other places do you like for malaysian, in manhattan or maybe elmhurst?

                                2. bigjeff May 20, 2009 11:16 AM

                                  ate here last night; finally! and was very very happy. we ordered the asam laksa, the nasi lemak, and the okra with belacan; our waitress later commented that we ordered the most malysian of the offerings; the menu is definitely . . . . . and I'm being generous with the word . . . expansive. more like confusing, what with the sushi bar and crap, but, they pretty much fuse thai and malaysian even tho the place is really a malaysian joint (at least all the staff and such are, malaysian-chinese folks).

                                  the nasi lemak was great; all of the components very good (the ikan bilis was exceptional, such hard-fried anchovies!) while the chicken curry was alright (they used white meat instead of bone-in dark meat); the rice was nice and overall, quite good. the achat/achar was a little limp tho.

                                  the asam laksa was wonderful; very nice thick soup without heaviness, the combination of noodles, the fresh mint, the fish, the major sourness and all the flavors was wonderful. we didn't dump in the little dish of tamarind squid seasoning because the soup tasted fine without it; just an overall very very nice dish, if you like sour and pungency.

                                  the okra with belacan was quite good; not spicy, and somehow, could use a shake of salt, but generous with seasonings, the okra was perfectly cooked and just delicious. there must have been a cumulative spice effect because by the end of the meal, there was actually some lingering heat on my tongue, even though I didn't see any chilis.

                                  their dessert selection could use some shave ice! really wanted some cendol but they only had different variations of sticky rice desserts which we couldn't possibly eat after polishing off our 3 dishes (plus a side of hainan rice and malaysian ice coffee).

                                  had absolutely no problems dropping $50 on this delightful meal for two and the place was quite low-key. almost no sidewalk/street presence but the place was pleasantly crowded so I hope they do well; they've been open for almost a year and the servers and staff were very nice; we got into conversations about food, travel, etc.. the menu looked like they had a lot of different salads which I would like to try next time, and they also serve a rojak off the menu if anyone is into that; our server said they can try to make any dish if anyone has some conception of a malaysian homestyle dish that they left off the menu.

                                  thanks everyone for the recommendations to this place; really enjoyed the meal.

                                  1. i
                                    iloveguacamole Feb 16, 2009 05:05 PM

                                    Laut's pretty good but I haven't tried a lot of their dishes. I really liked their Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai but it's not my go-to Malaysian restaurant (I too grew up in Malaysia). I second Nyonya. Love the Asam Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Char Kueh Teow, Yong Tao Foo, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Crispy Golden Fried Squid... I could go on and on!! I don't care so much for the Indian Mee Goreng

                                    1. thew Feb 16, 2009 05:54 AM

                                      just curious - if this person spends half the year there, why do they want malaysian food here? i see this often .. people will have visitors from country x, and want to eat x-ian food with them. never quite get it..... did they request this?
                                      not judging, just asking,,,,,

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: thew
                                        f
                                        foodwhisperer Feb 18, 2009 09:06 PM

                                        Thew, when you spend alot of time in a country and you like the food. Sometimes you miss it. But when you do miss it and you find a place that has it , you want it to be good.
                                        Laut is good. We get cravings for things we know. Right now I could go for a falafel.

                                      2. GirlFoodieNYC Feb 12, 2009 08:30 AM

                                        Hey there - I can't speak for Laut (never been there myself) but I was born in Malaysia and haven't stopped eating it since... the best I would say is Nonya in Little Italy. They have great prices, always busy, and I always leave with a full belly.

                                        Hope this helps!

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: GirlFoodieNYC
                                          p
                                          Pan Feb 12, 2009 06:31 PM

                                          Maybe I should try Nyonya again. What do you particularly like there? Also, what other Malaysian restaurants have you been to in Manhattan, and what are your comments about them?

                                          1. re: Pan
                                            GirlFoodieNYC Feb 13, 2009 11:20 AM

                                            Hey Pan - I got the Rotai Canai, the Chow Keuh Teow, the Hokkien Mee, Nasi Lemak, and the Hainanese Chicken Rice.. alll great! I have been to a few others in the city but I can never remember the names or the food! Not impressive..

                                            1. re: GirlFoodieNYC
                                              p
                                              Pan Feb 13, 2009 08:03 PM

                                              Is Skyway one of the places you've been to? By the way, where were you born and how old were you when you came to the U.S.? I lived in a kampung in Terengganu for most of Standard 5 and 6 and also lived in KL for a month at the beginning of my stay and a few other shorter trips to there and several other places. That was back in the 70s. I finally returned for a 4 1/2 week visit in 2003.

                                              1. re: Pan
                                                GirlFoodieNYC Feb 18, 2009 11:47 AM

                                                I don't think I've been to Skyway.

                                                I was born in Penang but my mother's side of the family is from Ipoh so I've spent a lot of time in both. I moved here when I was one but with once a year pilgrimages back to Malaysia.

                                                1. re: GirlFoodieNYC
                                                  p
                                                  Pan Feb 18, 2009 06:13 PM

                                                  Wow, Penang and Ipoh. Sedap sangat! :-)

                                                  I like Skyway and have repeatedly recommended it. As a matter of fact, I had dinner there today and yesterday. Today was asam laksa, which I enjoyed, but I have to say, their nasi lemak yesterday had very dry, overcooked chicken, so that's an inconsistent item there. If you go there, try their seafood dishes in particular and see what you think.

                                                  1. re: Pan
                                                    bigjeff Mar 28, 2009 09:54 PM

                                                    how's the nasi lemak at skyway? and, any other specific recs?

                                                    also, any preferences for various malaysian or SE asian ice desserts?

                                                    also, does anyone remember that great series of posts that I think silverjay (maybe someone else) did on eating malaysian in nyc? that person hit up the same 3 or 4 dishes at all the spots in manhattan at the time (around 2007 maybe); was looking for those threads, it was so good!

                                                    1. re: bigjeff
                                                      p
                                                      Pan Mar 28, 2009 10:53 PM

                                                      I wouldn't recommend the nasi lemak at Skyway anymore. The chicken curry that's part of the dish has been too dry. Actually, I've concluded that Skyway has gone downhill some and am now figuring on making more visits to Laut.

                                                      I have never liked ABC/Ais Kacang, and never loved Cendol, though it can be OK. The only Malaysian shaved-ice dessert I really like is Sago-Gula Melaka, and I don't know of anyplace in New York where you can get that!

                                          2. re: GirlFoodieNYC
                                            f
                                            foodwhisperer Feb 14, 2009 05:25 AM

                                            I went to Laut with a friend from Malaysia. The food was exceptional. They had Thai food as well. We mostly had only the Malaysian dishes. The only Thai was the fish cakes. They were home made and better than even the popular queens thai restaurant .
                                            The chicken was delicious. The laksa was a little different than i;ve had before but very good. They had pineapple i the laksa and gave us shrimp paste on the side. If they know you are from Malaysia or know about Malaysian food, you'll get things like the shrimp paste, the chicken soup with the chicken dish. Dessert was coconut rice steamed in banana leaf. The chef and most staff are from Malaysia not Thai.The place is great

                                            1. re: foodwhisperer
                                              p
                                              Pan Feb 15, 2009 09:05 PM

                                              I did a little research, so to save someone else a little time, the place is at 15 E. 17th St., between Broadway and 5th.

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                s
                                                Simon Feb 16, 2009 05:46 AM

                                                cool...i'll try it...do you they have a bar there that you can eat it?

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                  p
                                                  Pan Mar 27, 2009 09:18 PM

                                                  My girlfriend and I went to Laut tonight. Service was very nice, the staff is Malay-speaking (fun but not essential), and the food was good and tasted right. We got Ikan Asam Pedas, made with skate; Kangkung Belacan; and Pulut Hitam for dessert. The kangkung had a good shrimpy taste and was more or less moderately hot. The fish had a very good taste and was slightly hot. We were given some cili padi (birdseye chilis) to add. I'd like it better if the dishes were simply made with uniform spiciness, but they did have the right taste. The pulut hitam came unmixed but ended up being the best I've had in New York, with a very nice coconut creaminess. I won't say that the food was great, but I will say that it was satisfying and good, and I will be back.

                                                  One tangential comment: The sound track was funny; I felt like I was in a dance club the whole time. :-)

                                                  To sum up, it's a good experience, I recommend it, and I hope that the new addition of sushi that our waitress told us they were inaugurating doesn't end up being the start of a decline in the realness of their Malaysian food. I'm guardedly hopeful.

                                                  1. re: Pan
                                                    bigjeff Mar 29, 2009 09:48 AM

                                                    maybe this is the malaysian food revolution needed; e.g., looked at menupages and nasi lemak is $12 vs the usually $5 or $6 at most c-town/queens places; maybe malaysian food has just fallen into this rut of budget ethnic meals and not something that you can actually pay $30 a head for and not feel like you overpaid and it was worth it for some elevated form of the cuisine. or, that rents in chelsea are simply more expensive than elsewhere. either way, will check it out. a stretch to call this the rhong-tiam of malaysian food?

                                                    1. re: bigjeff
                                                      f
                                                      foodwhisperer Mar 29, 2009 11:04 AM

                                                      Check it out Big Jeff. i went there with a friend from Malaysia,,,if they know you know Malaysian food they will make it exactly how you expect it to be. They also offer thai food , which i dont recommend except the Tod mon Pla ( fish cakes ) are excellent, really excellent,,,) The people arent thai there, they are Malaysian. If you want a bargain you wont get it ,,but if you want good food you will get that . I went to Malaysian Cafe on UWS for an inexpensive meal of this type ,,,not even close ,,not authentic ,,, I'd rather pay triple for good food. Every dish is good at Laut

                                                      1. re: bigjeff
                                                        p
                                                        Pan Mar 29, 2009 05:43 PM

                                                        Jeff, dinner there wasn't expensive. For two dishes plus pulut hitam, the bill was a little over $40 - for two people.

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