Best Thai in Theater District?
I looked up some Thai restaurants on menupages, but could use some help. How are the following:
Qi Bangkok Eatery
The sites for the restaurants aren't that great. Would like a little atmosphere to go with the food as well.
I have enjoyed Pure Thai Cookhouse/Shophouse on a couple of occasions, they have a little atmosphere as well. Wondee is certainly pretty good, but fairly bare bones. Of the ones you listed I've only been to Topaz and would not likely return.
I've been to Pongsri Thai about 25 times since 2005. Most visits have been on Saturday afternoons, pre theater, but I've been there in the evening as well. We've never had bad service.
On the contrary, service has been excellent. Because we're heading to the theater we're very sensitive about timing. When we're ready to leave if the check hasn't been presented already a quick glance at any waiter or FOH staff member gets it delivered in 60 seconds.
The place does really good business on Saturdays. It's usually 85% to 95% full but that hasn't prevented them from giving us attentive service.
I don't doubt that you had a bad experience but it was atypical. Service glitches can happen anywhere but in my long experience they don't happen very often at Pongsri..
I've had one thing that was stellar at Pongsri, a number of things that were very good, and one thing that was pretty bad.
The Pad Gra Prow had been consistently good. Your choice of meat. The chicken, beef, and pork are equally good.
The Pad Key Mao had also been a winner.
The Nam Sod with ground pork is terrific, easily as good as Ayada and Sripraphai. The best thing we've had there by a long shot.
After about 12 or 13 successful visits I decided to branch out and ordered one of their pricier chicken dishes. It was bland and virtually flavorless. Truly disappointing. (I wish I could remember the name. I still have bad dreams about it.) The next time I went I ordered one of my old favorites and it was as good as ever.
Order modestly and you'll do very well.
ETA - I only went to Wondee once. We ordered 2 dishes that were supposed to be spicy and when the waitress asked, confirmed that we wanted them hot. When they came out they weren't hot at all. Worse still, what flavor there was was bland. Totally uninteresting.
Maybe we ordered wrong. Maybe the regular waitress was sick and her clueless cousin was taking her place. Maybe the regular chef was vacationing in Bangkok. I dunno, but we haven't been back. YMMV.
Being that we were in the theater district last night, Pongsri was the most conveniently located of the ones that always come up for the Theater District (Wondee, Pam's and Pongsri).
We all thought the food was tasty. Honestly, I don't know what "authentic" Thai really is (have not yet made the trek to Queens for Thai). The closest I have come to getting it was in Amsterdam 10 years ago. Compared to that (and Philly Penang -- Malaysian I know), this almost seemed like the Thai equivalent of "old school 1950s Chinese" (ie. heavy sauces etc.
The dish I had was Bami something or other (#128) which was a heavy peanut sauce with shrimp. (I enjoyed it, as I like it drowning in peanut and the shrimp were plump and not overcooked).
Less successful was the soft shell crab dish that my husband ordered which was a little to breaded and tended to drown out the crab.
The upshot of all this is that you can do a whole lot worse in the theater district and if your expectations are not insanely high, you will enjoy this place. However, I do agree with the "average" comments when compared to some of the best Thai/Malaysian type places I have ever eaten (none of them in Manhattan).
Toon Thai Cafe aka Tom & Toon(51st and 8th or 9th) has very good noodle dishes, excellent moo yang, laab kai is very good. Formerly Toon's was on Bleecker St.
Pongsri is one of my favorite completely-hidden places in Times Square. Tourists rarely find it, and the currys are tasty. There isn't much atmosphere and I've found it's better for lunch than dinner, but a solid place to pop into.
Qi has atmosphere, and also fantastic food. It's all sparkly with creative cocktails.