Friday, November 16, 2007

Chili Thai in Hell's Kitchen (or have the real estate people renamed it "Clinton" now?)

I heard about this place on the Chowhound boards with
some supposed relation to Sripraphai, but when I asked our server, she knew nothing about it. She did say she was from the area around Chiang Mai in Thailand, being a good reason why they had Khao Soi on the menu. This place has been getting really good reviews and has only been open several months, so new in fact that Google still lists it as Cozy Thai, perhaps its previous incarnation.

Cozy Thai might be a better name since it is pretty tiny with only about 8 2-person tables. Sorry for the crummy phone camera picture. It is very nicely done for the small space, however, not feeling cramped at all with a nice dark wood on the walls, good lighting (I like to see my delicious food!), and not too noisy on the Thursday night we were there after checking out my friend Martin Dockery's excellent one-man storytelling show Wanderlust. Since it was pretty late when we got there we only ordered one dish, so I can say what the other food is like, but other reviewers seem to love it.

I would say this is in the top four of Khao Soi's I've had in New York so far, up there with Pam Real, Sripraphai, and Ozen, as it had a delicious broth that didn't skimp on the coconut milk, sourness, mustard greens, or spices. It was so good in fact, that despite having had some delicious pastries earlier (my other food obesession, hmm, maybe an idea for
another blog given that I live in what I've dubbed "Dessert Row" with Babycakes, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Sugar, and Il Laboratorio di Gelato!) from How Sweet It Is in the LES courtesy of Naomi, I downed the entire bowl to the last drop, which I rarely do. Or maybe it was that I hadn't brought a to-go container which I usually do, as I hate to create new plastic trash that to-go containers do in spades. I wish someone would make a collapsible silicone food container that you could fit in your bag or pocket for situations like this. Silicone is the plastic that has the least leachants like bisphenol-A and phthalates that polyethylene, polycarbonate, PVC and other plastic containers contain, really bad for hot foods and your reproductive health as these are human hormone disruptors.

Anyway... back to the yummy food at hand! Naomi had tasted the Khao Soi from Regional Thai Taste before, so she was blown away by this one. The toppings of fried noodles, a lime wedge, and pickled mustard greens were already in there when the dish was brought to our table, and the chili sauce and shallots were absent (does anyone in NYC do these?), but I didn't really notice it since it was spicy and sour enough. Perhaps in a small place like this it's easier not to have lots of extra side dishes to keep around and clean. Definitely a recommended stop if you're up in this neighborhood.

Chili Thai
712 9th Ave
New York ‎ NY‎ 10019
between 48th/49th street
(212) 265-5054

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