A neighborhood with a surfeit of Thai restaurants, Chelsea finally has one that is a joy to eat at. Galanga Garden, which just opened on 9th Ave. between 18th and 19th is a revelation. Get in now while you can enjoy the peaceful setting in peace, because the food is so good it's only a matter of time before it gets crazy packed. We left with massive smiles on our faces and even exchanged high fives for deciding to go here tonight.
We split the Tom Yum soup, which is not your average formulation. Very rich citrus and long, smooth spice, redolent of mushroom. Really delicious. Then we had the laap pet -- juicy, grilled duck and red onions in a rich mint broth. Wow. The duck was as good as any of the half dozen duck dishes I had in Paris this summer. Then we had the Poor Pork, which was a deceptively simple pork belly matched with a perfectly cooked egg and perfectly cooked Chinese broccoli. The chef told us we ordered well, and I'd have to agree.
The setting was just as good as the food. You will have a hard time believing that the space was a doggy day care in its previous life (actually a great business, and we were really sad to see it go, but our dinner tonight softened the blow). And you definitely will not believe that a place this nice has $12 entrees.