Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jun 27, 2009 12:09 PM

Tonite: Thai Food Hell's Kitchen

Many Thai places in Hell's Kitchen. Mmany uninspiring reviews on menupages. Any recommendations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wondee Siam is always good (the original location on 9th/53rd). Also, there's a relatively new spot on 10th and 51st called Heng. We've gotten delivery 3 times and it's been absolutely delicious. Their location is less desirable than 9th Ave Thai spots, so it tends to be a bit quiet in there. However, I would highly recommend it for dinner.

    1. Unfortunately tonight has passed for you several days ago, but just to add to the discussion --

      I am a big fan of Chili Thai on 9th between 48th and 49th. The food is fresh and I found the prep decent. Minimal ambiance as it is very small, but not a "take out only" atmosphere either. Entrees run around $10, which is great for a casual neighborhood place. It's not Michelin three star food, but for a local spot serving the Thai stuff you'd expect, I think highly of it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: CarGuy

        I found Chili Thai to be very dissapointing. Bland and not spicy. Nothing special. I much prefer Pam Real and had a decent experience at Wondee Siam.

        1. re: CarGuy

          I went to Chili Thai expecting a nice restaurant, and instead I found it to be a small, crappy take out looking place. Maybe the food is fine, but I never want to go to a place like that to eat.

        2. Meeting a friend tomorrow night for Thai in Hell's Kitchen, not sure which one to go to.... Which of these restaurants will listen to you when you ask for your food to be Thai spicy? Also - Is one a bigger bang for the buck? Thanks!

          13 Replies
          1. re: michele cindy

            If you order off Wondee Siam's "Secret Menu" you will get excellent, spicy, delicious, Thai food.

            1. re: MWinston

              Strongly second Wondee Siam's "secret menu", especially the Mieng Ka Na (dried pork salad in broccoli leaves), which is solidly the best dish I've had there, including other secret menu stuff. To clarify, even if youre ordering off the secret menu you should point out to the waiter that you want the food thai style and spicy.

              1. re: brettnyc

                How do you ask for the secret menu? Just say give me the secret menu please?

                1. re: michele cindy

                  Its actually not that secret(which is why I put "secret" in quotations)--they'll put it on your table along with the standard menu, its a small square menu labeled the "secret thai menu". I think they name it that to be playful. Also at one point it was untranslated from thai, and then due to popular demand they translated it, hence the "secret" name. To clarify I don't think people should avoid items from the regular menu though just because they aren't on the "secret" menu--just ask for those items to be prepared "thai style". I just had the duck penang from the regular menu today and it was good. But the dried pork salad with broccoli leaves from the secret menu is the absolute must order. The spicy pork salad from the secret menu is also very good, and the chive pancake while a little greasy the one time I had it had a nice glutinous texture and good flavor.

                  1. re: brettnyc

                    More on the original Wondee ...

                    Wondee Siam
                    792 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                  2. re: michele cindy

                    Yeah I sat down and when they handed us menus I said to the waitress "So I hear you have a secret menu." So she reached behind the counter and pulled out the plastic 'Secret Menu'.

                  3. re: brettnyc

                    I had the Mieng Ka Na. Thanks to all who rec. it. It was great! I can see this becoming something I crave. One question, is it a dish that is meant to be spicy? Not knowing I asked for it to be cooked Thai style, the waiter asked are you sure? I said yes, but the dish wasn't really all that spicy to me. I was thinking it might mean just more flavorful, which it was, very flavorful. I just added extra chilis to it to bring up the heat.
                    We also had the chive pancake which was also good. There was another dish folks were ordering that looked great, an appetizer maybe, cold shrimp, and I think someone else's had crab in it, with a lot of chili. Any idea what it may have been?

                    1. re: michele cindy

                      They questioned the reality of you actually wanting it Thai Style... maybe they toned it down for you. When I was there, I spoke to the waitress asking her for a recommendation for a dish that is spicy and has meat in it when I was there, and when I chose my dish I looked at her and said "I like it spicy", so they didn't question that I wanted it authentic.

                      1. re: MWinston

                        Not sure... I made sure to tell them I wanted it spicy, and my friend even chimed in, she likes her food really hot. I do have a high tolerance to chili heat so maybe it was but I just couldn't tell??? The main thing is regardless of the heat it was delicious!

                      2. re: michele cindy

                        Glad you liked it! Yes its a very crave-able dish, I've been to Wondee several times in the past week or so, basically from a Mieng Ka Na craving(and for curiosity as to whether some of the other dishes are on the same level). Its interesting, the first time I had it there it was great, and I believe it had more heat than you got, but I've definitely noticed that on repeat visits they've brought the heat up further. I bet if you go again, and if you haven't yet introduce yourself to the waiter/s, and repeat that you like very spicy and thai style, they will appreciate that you want what you are asking for, and that you will get more heat. But you're right, even with the heat not on full blast, its great.

                        1. re: brettnyc

                          I've had three meals of Thai-style food at Wondee. The first meal was great, the second very good, the third great. The way we got them to make it really spicy the first time is that my girlfriend told the waiter that I used to live in Malaysia (which is true), and we both told him we like the food very spicy and tasty, like he likes it. The second time, I think we may have suffered a bit because one of my dining partners doesn't eat various foodstuffs, so I think the waitress pegged us as not that adventurous. The food was still pretty spicy, but not optimally. The third time, I explained to the waitress that our first meal had been really spicy and great, the second, not as spicy and very good, and we wanted this meal to be really spicy and great. When she expressed doubt, saying that she likes it really spicy but her friend can't take it, I told her that I take responsibility if it's too spicy for us to eat, and promised not to send anything back. So you have to work on them a bit, but it's worth it.

                          Pam's Real Thai at 49th is also good, but I've had better meals at Wondee.

                          1. re: Pan

                            the story of your second visit is something that i've found happens often when trying to get Thai-spicy food: if you hedge on your request in any way, even for a just for one member of your party (i.e "All the other things Thai-style, but these two dishes just medium"), the staff kitchen doubts your resolve, and then entire order gets diluted...

                            Because of this, i usually hesitate to get Thai food w/ a group that includes someone with a lower spice tolerance...they become the proverbial weak link in the chain...

                            1. re: Simon

                              The thing is, the other guy has if anything an even higher spice tolerance than I do, but doesn't eat mammal meat, octopus, or overfished species of fish.

                2. I like Wondee Siam and Vynl. Vynl is not completely Thai, but they have some options. Wondee Siam would be better though because Vynl thai food can be iffy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TheIceCreamMan

                    Has anybody ever been to the Wondee on 10th Ave? Does it compare to the other places? Any info would be great, thanks.

                  2. I've always enjoyed the food at Pan Real Thai Encore on 47th and 9th. Great Pad Key Mao, Duck, Curry etc..