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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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THAI/ PAN ASIAN

 

SookkThai. 2686 B-Way @ 102-3rd; 22/19/$27; 870-0253; Cozy yet welcoming Thai star in the Upper West; Tasty selections with a Chinese edge to them; BYOB; Very inexpensive so order multiple appetizers.  Lunch specials are affordable for anyone; Vegetarian friendly dishes; Huge menu featuring Duck dishes, Currys; Striped Bass; Tilapia; Numerous appetizers & great Pad Thai. Very cool décor. Try the tom yum soup & spring rolls.

 

Land: Thai. 450 Amsterdam @ 81-2nd; 23/16/$29; 501-8121; Small but truly wonderful food; Seems more upscale than price; Very spicy food; Pad Thai perfection. Problem is the seating/ size- go early! Vegetable dumplings stand out; Wok basil beef dish; Green curry with chicken; Red snapper; Honestly – just a great place that is ideal for casual dates, pre-gaming, or just a weekday meal. Menu outstanding. 

 

Asiate: Asian. 80 Columbus Circle – Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 35th floor; 24/29/$111; 805-8881; Voted Zagat’s #1 restaurant in NYC for décor; Epic view of Central Park; Pampering service; For a special occasion; Insanely overpriced; Dinner is $95 3-course prix-fixe or a tasting menu for $135- 6 courses; Menu is seasonal and is Asian/ New American. Brunch is 3 courses $64 – way to go. Cocktails at brunch only $9. Burrata; Maine Lobster; Hamachi Sashimi; Branzino; Long Island Duck.     

 

Pure Thai Cookhouse: Thai. 766 9th Ave @ 51st-52nd; 26/15/$28; 581-0999; Genuine Thai shophouse style restaurant; Homemade noodles are the secret; They offer small plates (snacks) for under $10, wonderful stir-fried dishes; Amazing noodle dishes including Pad Thai with Shrimp; Also, pure Thai noodle soups such as the seafood soup and duck noodle soup. Décor is okay- small place and stools for seating. Best for lunch.

 

Buddakan: Asian. 75 9th @ 15-16th; 24/27/$70; 989-6699;  Incredible interior; Epically popular; Trendy; Sexy; Hot spot for large groups or dates; Amazing food- wide variety; Top shelf appetizers; Perfecto drinks. Truly one of the 5 best date spots in the city as you will be sure to impress; Good looking crowd; Reserve a week in advance at least!  Menu allows for easy sharing of multiple entrees.  Great location.  $15 cocktails, $8 beer, Dim Sum menu including Oxtail Dumplings;  Singapore Chili King Crab.

 

Nyonya: Malaysian. 194 Grand @ Mott-Mulberry; 22/14/$22; 334-3669; Dirt cheap tabs for a true Malaysian experience; Properly spiced; Great for lunch and to walk around Chinatown or Little Italy afterwards; The most popular dish, in this very popular spot, is the ROTI Canai – flatbread with a curry sauce. Gigantic menu and everything is dirt cheap. Lunch menu as well.  Cash only. 

 

Uncle Boons: Thai. 7 Spring @ Bowery; 25/21/$50; 646-370-6650; The new Thai hotspot; Vibrant flavors and seriously spicy food; Fun bar scene and quirky setting; Excellent service;  Try the Golden Curry.  They have a dozen or so small plates you can sample and then a menu of charcoal grilled entrees to die for.  The Red Snapper is excellent as are the boneless beef ribs.  1 Michelin star.

 

Kuma Inn: Filipino. 113 Ludlow @ Delancy-Rivington; 24/15/$35; 353-8866; Small but unreal food and very affordable; Foodies heaven; Located on 2nd floor. Small plate format; BYO policy; Essentially Pan-Asian small plates. Strong service and bargain costs; About 25 or so different Tapas style dishes to choose from. Small corkage fee. Friendly chef/ owner.  Share a selection of items for dinner! 

 

Pig and Khao: Thai / Filipino. 68 Clinton @ Stanton-Rivington; 25/16/$40; 920-4485; Be adventurous and you’ll be rewarded; Dishes designed for sharing;  I’m daring but I shy away from the “pork head”; Try the Red Curry, Shan Noodles, BBQ Ribs, Seafood Sinigang – Cod, clams, shrimp;  There is a 5 course tasting menu for $45.  Honestly – the food is not Americanized at all and you’ll need an open mind.

 

Somtum Der: Thai. 85 Av A @ 5th-6th St;  25/17/$36;  260-8570; Well spiced dished, some mild, some incredibly hot;  Michelin 1 star; Reasonable pricing and unique flavorings; Try the flat noodles with shrimp & calamari; Food focus is northeastern Thailand;  Check out the online menu – photos of all dishes beautifully done. You will go running there after you see these dishes. Love the menu.  

 

Klong: Thai. 7 St Marks Pl @ 2nd-3rd Av; 21/17/$29; 505-9955; Extremely affordable street food reminiscent of Bangkok; Cool overall vibe and open very late; Great soups, curries and Pad Thai variations. Try the spicy Basil Noodles – a house specialty; 5-7pm Happy Hour; Pretty cool décor. Fairly crowded and noisy but great food.  Very inexpensive;  Dine tapas style by ordering several items to share. 

 

Jeepney: Filipino. 201 1st Av @ 12th-13th; 23/18/$38; 533-4121; Try something unique and adventurous; Colorful décor; Traditional menu; Super fancy cocktails; They have a Kamayan Night – a feast eaten off of a communal table; Hard to explain…. Menu here is adventurous for even me;  There are a few things I can’t mention – ewe – like Duck embryo.  But I hear it is a lot of fun.

 

Ngam: Thai. 99 3rd Av @ 13th; 27/19/$30; 777-8424;  Famous Chef Hong (Iron Chef contestant) offers cooking classes and has a great Thai cookbook; As authentic as it gets; Fairly small space so go early or for lunch; Brunch available as well; Multiple Grilled Calamari dishes; The currys are amazing; Soft Shell Crab in season; Crispy Pad Thai; Drunken Noodles; Lobster Dumplings; “Cutie” Duckling. The dishes are creative and mouthwatering. Really an amazing find.  Possibly best Thai in New York.  Grilled Surf & Turf for 2 $20; Wow wow wow; Lychee Punch and other amazing cocktails. 

 

Laut: Malaysian / Thai. 15 E 17th @ BWay – 5th Av; 24/14/$28; 206-8989; Massive menu – all extremely affordable; Large selection of soups for meals or appetizers; Dumplings galore; Dozen plus wok fried noodle dishes; Multiple curries, 2 dozen or so entrée specials; The focus is on different styles including Singaporean; Casual and low key; Can get cramp so go early or off-hours.  Great for large groups.

 

China Grill: Asian. 60 W 53rd @ 5th-6th Av; 23/21/$62; 333-7788; More of an Asian fusion, upscale option; Spicy beef and scallion dumplings to die for; Lively scene with a bustling bar for pre-dinner drinks; Happy hour 4-8pm creates a pick-up scene here; Same ownership as Asia de Cuba; Prix fixe options available for lunch & dinner; Excellent menu- but pricy for the genre.  Great for a big party.

 

Ma Peche: Asian Fusion. 15 W 56th @ 5th-6th Av; 24/18/$52; 757-5878; David Chang’s mostly French-Vietnamese fusion eatery; Usual Chang minimalist décor – retro feel (I don’t like it); Spicy, flavorful and unique offerings; Popular in part due to owner who is ‘in’ right now; Balcony bar for a pre-dinner drink; Smallish menu with a prix fixe available. Clever twists on Dim Sum.  Unique menu items.

 

TaoPan Asian. 42 E 58th @ Mad-Park; 22/26/$59; 888-2288;  Just a huge club atmosphere with truly excellent food as well; Very Noisy; Great scene & bar; Beautiful décor & staff;  Food is Asian mix; Fancy drinks and a fun experience with mind-blowing décor. Best suited for partying couples out on dates in their 20s. Food though – is actually quite great. For a quieter dinner, go Monday- Wednesday. Sushi as well.  Cocktails $16 and endless drinks to choose from.  Order lots of small plates/ Dim Sum. 

 

Fatty Fish:  Asian Fusion.  406 64th @ 1st-York; 22/16/$44; 813-9338; Enchanting back patio in otherwise Zen-like setting; Extremely affordable; Very fresh sushi selections; Dim Sum selections, entrée salads; Kobe beef Burger; Exciting cooked entrees and did I mention sushi? The special rolls are large in size and absolutely delicious. The menu is more Japanese focused. Sushi pizza. Lunch or dinner.