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Good Thai on the UWS

princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 08:13 AM

Meeting some friends from out of town who are staying at a hotel on the UWS. They are looking for good Thai. Any suggestions?

Also, they are also looking for BBQ in that area but dont want to travel up to Dinosaur in Harlem. Any recs for BBQ would also be appreciated.

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  1. thew RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 08:29 AM

    while i have only eaten at their UES location Land thai is excellent thai food. (amsterdam and 82nd is the west side location)

    It's incredibly simple to get up to dinosaur from the UWS, by trains, bus, cab, or even foot (depending how upper west they are), and the minimal effort required is well worth the payoff in quality over anyting you would get closer to their hotel

    2 Replies
    1. re: thew
      lnedrive14 RE: thew Jul 29, 2009 08:35 AM

      Second Land. Good food and well-priced. Definitely your best bet on UWS.

      Also second dinosaur. It isn't nearly as difficult to get to as people think (the train is very simple) and doesn't take long. Alternatively, you could go to Daisy May's in Hells Kitchen, although I think Dinosaur has the far better taste/cost ratio.

      1. re: lnedrive14
        uwsgrazer RE: lnedrive14 Jul 29, 2009 01:26 PM

        Gosh, I'm not familiar with Land Thai but the positive reviews here make me want to visit soon.

        What's good there? These dishes caught my eye from the on-line menu:

        starters -
        chicken wraps
        crispy calamari
        vegetable dumplings

        spicy beef salad

        "Tom Yum Goong" soup

        various wok dishes

        sides -
        pea tendrils

    2. s
      sholli RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 09:55 AM

      I agree w/ Land, or their sibling Thai Market (Amsterdam and 108th), although that may be too far north for you. If you can't make it to Dinosaur (which is the better option), I think Rack and Soul (Bway and 109) is owned by the same people as Mobay, and it's perfectly decent. I think it also delivers.

      1. h
        harrison RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 10:07 AM

        Land is decent - but it's a tiny place. I'll throw out Bar Bao - while it's more Vietnamese than Thai, it's very good and has a bit more atmoshphere.

        Agree with everyone on dinosaur - worth the trip. Very easy trip from the UWS.

        1. w
          whitneybee RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 10:40 AM

          Definitely agree about Land Thai. Note that if you want to eat at a peak time you can expect to wait - not sure if they accept reservations.

          1. m
            metfan630 RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 10:51 AM

            Agree with everyone here. Land is great and cheap, Bar Bao is also very nice with a little more price involved (and Vietnamese as well).

            Last and certainly not least, go up to Dino BBQ, and quickly. Rack and Soul is also solid, but if you've gone that far up, why not go the distance...

            1. princeofpork RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 12:37 PM

              I am a huge fan of dinosaur and would certainly venture up their from the UWS. In fact, I am considering just meeting for drinks at the Thai place the then going up to Dinosaur for dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: princeofpork
                sholli RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 02:05 PM

                As others have said, Land is tiny and so I doubt meeting there for drinks will be feasible. Dinosaur also has a wide selection of interesting beers on tap, and so you might do best just skipping the Thai altogether.

              2. s
                Simon RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 01:39 PM

                it depends on what your friends consider to be "good Thai"...if they like sweeter Americanized Thai, then go for it..if they like authentic Thai, there is nowhere in Manhattan that serves it on a consistent basis (a few specific good dishes at Wondee Siam and Zaab City notwithstanding)...

                If they want a fun place for drinks and dinner and/or snacks and are willing to sub Vietnamese for Thai, then Bar Bao on the UWS might be a good choice, before/after/instead of BBQ...

                3 Replies
                1. re: Simon
                  cimui RE: Simon Jul 29, 2009 03:24 PM

                  hallo, simon. there's a wondee siam on amsterdam between 107th and 108th, now. my one meal there was pretty mediocre, but i haven't tried your trick of asking for the food "thai spicy".

                  1. re: Simon
                    thew RE: Simon Jul 30, 2009 06:04 AM

                    having spent a fair amount of time in thailand, i disagree with this oft stated "knowledge".

                    1)e.g. land, rhong tiam, and the original pongsri(tho i have not been in years) had some very authentic thai dishes.
                    2) i had plenty of overly sweet dishes in thailand, that were not being prepared for farangs. so it isn;t a matter of "americanized" but many asians prediliction for sweetness.

                    1. re: thew
                      Simon RE: thew Jul 30, 2009 09:39 AM

                      1) as i said above, it's possible to get a tasty dish once in a while...but there is no place in Manhattan that serves a selection of authentic Thai food on a consistent basis...most places do not even carry the necessary ingredients...(until very recently, Zaab City, far and away the best Isaan in Manhattan, did not even have dried shrimp in their kitchen --- almost no place in Manhattan uses dried shrimp in their somdam: this is comparable to not having something like basil on hand in an Italian place)...a lot of the places do not even use fresh chilies (and use canned glop instead) and many used prepackaged sauces and pastes...this is on par with going to an Italian restaurant and being served Ragu or Paul Newman's sauce from a jar on your pasta...last year, i went to a the staff Xmas party of a Manhattan Thai place: despite being held in the restaurant, all the food was made in Queens and brought in...sometimes Thai friends of mine will eat at Manhattan restaurants but this is almost always because they have friends who work there and they want to be social and/or because they'd rather eat mediocre Thai food than good food of other cuisines (comparable to Americans eating at McDonald's overseas)...no Thai person ever says: "Hey, let's go get some great ___ (insert any Thai dish of your choice) at ___ (insert Manhattan Thai restaurant of your choice)"...if you find some dishes at some Manhattan places that you like, that's great (i often get nam tok moo and somdam from Zaab City, and have a couple other places where i know they can make me a particular dish that's not on the menu)...but until i find a place where you can go in, order 4 or 5 dishes and have them all made with the proper ingredients, spice levels as requested, not candy-sweet, and range anywhere from half-decent to great (as opposed awful to half-decent), i'll hold to my view.

                      2) Americanized Thai food is sweeter...true, there are lots of sweet dishes in Thailand and a lot of Thai's like sugar...but, a) not *all* dishes are sweet, whereas in Manhattan places, pretty much every single dish has copious amounts of sugar or syrup, b) the proportions are very different: i.e. Americanized Thai food is more sweet in relation to the sour/salty/spicy/herby/fishy...so even if you request things to be Thai spicy, etc, you're fighting the disproportionate amt of sugar in there, plus the lack of fresh herbs, proper chilies, dried shrimp, good fish sauce, etc...

                  2. c
                    cimui RE: princeofpork Jul 29, 2009 03:21 PM

                    Thai Market is actually quite a lot better than Land. (I didn't know they were sister restaurants, Sholli!) They had a downturn about a year and a half ago, recovered a bit. Hopefully they're still good. I haven't been there for about 4-5 months. They're best for small plates and grilled items.

                    Charm would be my second choice for grilled items and northern Thai, only.

                    Land would be my third choice.

                    For BBQ, Rack and Soul on 109th between B'way and Amsterdam is a solid option for pulled pork and ribs. It's actually better for ribs than Dinosaur when Dinosaur has an off day (though not as good as Dinosaur on a good day). I'm not a huge fan of the brisket at either restaurant.

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