ทานให้อร่อย (taan hâi a-ròi). That’s Thai for “bon appétit.” Now that you’re well versed in Thai dining lingo, you can hit our five favorite spots in NYC.
1 Pok Pok NY
Pok Pok, Thai slang for “mortar and pestle,” is Brooklyn's go-to for good ol' Thai home cooking. The menu boasts unctuous options like the kaeng hung leh crock pot with pillowy chunks of curried, caramelized pork belly and pork shoulder as well as the plump, charcoal-roasted whole chicken kai yaang served with tamarind and sweet-and-sour chili dipping sauces. A strict no-reservations policy and Asian street market-esque bright plastic and metal plates make Pok Pok NY casual yet modern and creative. The lethal Lord Bergamot cocktail is not to be missed.
117 Columbia Street at Kane Street
2 Land Thai Kitchen
Bangkok native and wokmaster David Bank serves up meticulously prepared Thai specialties in an adorably intimate setting tucked away on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Sweet and savory are juxtaposed in an intriguing manner while sticking to Thai tradition and dishes are ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Bank's time as Mercer Kitchen's sous chef. Grab a two-top along the whitewashed brick walled sleek leather banquettes or a coveted seat on the patio; the food is killer regardless of dining room real estate.
450 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets
3 Kin Shop
Top Chef Harold Dieterle and restauratrice Alicia Nosenzo's West Village gem features modern Thai flavors with subtle preparations, consistently cranking out tantalizing dishes for the young and trendy foodie crowd. In a martini mood? Grab a glass of the uber-refreshing artisanal gin splashed with house-brined Thai pickle juice. Curries and creams are ground and whipped on site for an authentic edge. Seal the deal with a scoop or two of ice cream, the trusty Pan-national favorite, spiced with exotic flavors like galangal and Thai iced tea.
469 Sixth Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets
Whimsical Thailand meets dark, sultry splendor: enter Kittichai and its ceiling-bound orchid labyrinth. Chilean sea bass bathed in palm sugar glaze and red curry paste, curried monkfish, and braised short ribs in a green curry sauce serve as menu frontrunners, although competition is fierce. The cocktail list is equally intriguing, featuring coconut milk and fresh juice-infused craft libations that complement the delicately presented dishes flawlessly, making tastebuds dance. Almost as mesmerizing as the front-and-center reflection pool.
60 Thompson Street between Broom and Spring Streets
5 Pure Thai Cookhouse
Thai kitsch at its finest. Enjoy no-frills fare with a view of the wide-open kitchen pumping out dish after mouthwatering dish. Old-school Southeast Asian trinkets adorn the walls and neighborhood regulars populate tables flanked by vibrantly colored industrial stools. David Bank (yep, same guy) dazzles with regional classics cooked to perfection. Turn up the heat with with the Jungle Curry fried rice or please the palate with the Nakorn-Patom duck soup. Either way, Pure does not disappoint.
766 Ninth Avenue #2 between 51st and 52nd Streets