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Sep 14, 2012 05:32 PM

v{iv} Regional Thai

Wanted to alert hounds to a place that probably deserves some looking into.

Last night I was (begrudgingly) going to meet a friend in Murray Hill when I passed by this place. From the outside, it looked like one of those loungey Thai places that probably has the same food every other Thai place in Manhattan has. But the name caught my eye, so I took a look at the menu.

Well, not only does it have some of the regional specialties that you don't see much outside of Queens or Pok Pok Ny, but it also has some dishes on the menu that you can't find anywhere in the five boroughs. They have categories for Northeastern and Northern Thai cuisine (listed as "featured") and for Central (chinese-style stuff) and Southern (listed as "attractions") Given its appearance, I'm not sure how confident I am, but at the very least it is a sign that regional Thai food is making real inroads in NYC. I am definitely going to give it a try soon.

Some menu items that, as far as I know, you can't even find in Queens:

Tom Mara - Bitter melon with ground pork and vermicelli in broth. This dish gives me hope that they're for real, as I doubt it appeals to your typical Murray Hillite.

Naem Kho Tod - This is one of the dishes that Lotus of Siam is famous for, fried rice balls with Isan sausage. The menu translation says ground pork, but I'm hoping that's just an attempt to make it more appetizing to the unadventurous.

Gang Hoa: vermicelli with pork belly, pickled bamboo, and vegetables in northern style red curry sauce

Pla Abb - Grilled Marinated Tilapia with lemongrass and northern curry paste wrapped in banana leaf

Kua Gling Moo - Pork spare ribs with kaffir lime leaf in southern chili paste

Pla Pow - Salt-Crusted Fish with Northeastern Chili Sauce. I know lots of places do whole fish, but I'm not aware of any that do it the salt-crusted Lao way.

They also have Hung lay Curry, which I think only Pok Pok does in NYC, a Khao Soi that they specify is "chicken thigh only," Yum Pla Duk Foo (the fried catfish salad), Mieng, Chiang Mai Sausage, and Thai dried beef.

Honestly, if not for the decor, I would be unbelievably excited about this place. Let's hope its just the facade, and there's serious food behind it.

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  1. What's this place called?

      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks. Strange name for a restaurant. :-)

        1. re: kathryn

          Seems to be related to this place:

          Except the new location has an entire regional Thai section, and the original doesn't.

        2. Well I like your name,, i hope I'll say aroy mak after i eat the food there

          1. Finally got around to trying this place, and although I only tried one dish, it was absolutely fantastic, and I hope some more hounds try this place out.

            I had the Naem Kho Tod, which is a salad of broken-up fried rice balls with ginger, chiles, herbs, peanuts, fermented Thai sausage (Naem), and the typical fish sauce-lime dressing. Although the menu says ground pork, it is actually naem, a delicious sour pork sausage. The rice balls are made with red curry paste, fried, and then broken-up in the salad. The result is a great contrast of the crispy rice ball pieces with the sour naem and all those other great elements. Very spicy too, but not so much that the heat is all you taste. It seriously might be the best Thai dish I've had in New York.

            The atmosphere definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Really looks like a place trying to be trendy. Pretty much everyone there seemed to be ordering the Americanized Thai standards. Service was very slow too, but given the quality of the dish, I can deal with that.

            Can't wait to try more of the regional specialties, and I hope enough serious food people patronize it that they don't give up on offering the more obscure dishes.

            2 Replies
              1. re: aroymahk

                aroymahk, where in Manhattan do you reckon this type of "advanced" Thai restaurant belongs? East village? But it wouldn't be out of place in much of Queens with this current menu, right?