UES’s New Thai-Inspired Gastropub – Review of Flight

BY BETH KAISERMAN

1479 York Avenue at E. 78th Street
Upper East Side
212-988-5123/flightnewyorkcity.com

Flight

Seafood flight of jumbo crab cake, blue corn crusted calamari and roasted jumbo shrimp

Flight is a new gastropub featuring 16 rotating craft beers, happy hour food, and soon, live jazz.

Flight1

The chef is inspired by the flavors of Thailand, which he features in dishes like PEI mussels with a wonderfully spicy coconut curry sauce. I could eat that dish with one of a few IPA draft options and be perfectly happy. It paired nicely with Newburgh Double IPA.  

Cheese and charcuterie flights are available, as well as slider flights, seafood flights, or a “barnyard flight” of filet mignon, fried chicken and rack of lamb. Prices are reasonable; 3 cheese and charcuterie options are $15 or 5 for $22. A slider flight with fries is $14. All of these work well with flights of beer, wine or whiskey.  

Beverage director Dermot Kelly brings his Irish heritage to some of the menu (traditional Irish breakfast and homemade brown bread ice cream, anyone?), but it really shines on his beer list. Four 6-ounce pours cost only $12.   Flight replaced longtime neighborhood spot Dresner’s, but Kelly said they see both former Dresner’s regulars and new folks. The light cream chairs and hanging lights give the atmosphere a brightness that most other craft beer-centric restaurants lack. There’s a glass outdoor cafe for warm months. Check it out for good beer and affordable bites.

Flight on Urbanspoon

Home of Manhattan’s Best Banh Mi Sandwich – Review of Sao Mai

BY ELENA MANCINI

203 First Ave.
East Village
(212) 358-8880 / Sao Mai 

East of the East Village bustle and trendiness, this family-run East Village Vietnamese restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese fare and the best Banh Mi Sandwiches on the Manhattan side of the East River.

Vegetarian Bahn Mi

Available in six varieties including pho, sliced pork, grilled chicken and vegetarian, these sandwiches make a quick, nutritious, flavor-packed meal that’s easy on the wallet (priced between $6-$7). The Bahn Mi are prepared on baguettes are consistently fresh and crusty with a soft and chewy middle. Independent of the filling you choose, the kitchen always strikes the right balance between bread and ingredients. Their vegetarian Bahn Mi is among my favorite comfort-food lunches. Prepared on two warm halves of choice baguette, they’re stuffed with toothsome strands of sauteed bok choy, straw mushrooms, seedless cucumbers, shredded carrot and abundant swaths of cilantro, the sandwiches and seasoned with lemongrass,  sriracha mayonnaise, that provides a subtle and reverberating pitch of complex heat. In sum, it’s a light, filling lunch that delivers high-flavor rewards.

Pho’ Sao Mai

Front: Summer Rolls; Far: Spring Rolls

Lest one think Sao Mi is just about Bahn Mi, flavor mavens and fans of traditional Vietnamese fare will find other  sections of its menu will prove well worth exploring. The Pho Sao Mai will not disappoint. A flavorful broth, rich in tender strips of brisket, sprouts, rice noodles and a medley of herbs will consistently hit the spot. Adding appeal to  Sao Mi’s attractions is its steal of a lunch menu, which includes the choice of an appetizer, entree and a soft drink, all for $10. Sweetening things further,  both the Bahn Mi and the Pho are included in this deal!

Ga Gary – Chicken Curry

With a wide variety of vegetarian options on its menu, Sao Mai is also a smart choice for a low-key dinner that guarantees value, quality and flavor. Pity that wait staff has not yet mastered the walk-in dinner crowd on weekends. During these times, the  friendly service  can turn into a source of frustration for those who do not suffer extended waits and uneven food delivery times lightly.

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Thai Flavors that will make your taste buds dance – Review of Laut

BY AMY WASSERMAN

LAUT
15 East 17th Street (Between Broadway and Fifth Ave)
Union Square / Flatiron
212-206-8989

http://lautnyc.com/

Chicken Pad See Ew from Laut

There are certainly enough Thai restaurants in the city to be able to eat at a different one every night for one year without ever dining at the same Thai restaurant twice, but the combination of Malaysian and Singapore influences along with Thai make Laut a great and unique alternative to every other Thai restaurant in NYC.

Located in the heart of Union Square on 17th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, you can get to Laut by almost any train line in NYC. Although, you may walk past it and not even notice it is there by its unassuming storefront, once inside you get an instant aroma of the spices and know you are in for a great meal!  As you look through the large menu options you will notice most of the dishes have common ingredients such as, turmeric, chili paste, coconut milk, tamarind sauce, curry and lemongrass. These are the key ingredients that make up their flavorful dishes.

Basil Chicken from Laut

Speaking of these flavorful dishes, after studying the menu and wanting eight different dishes, including the appetizer of Roti Canai with a curry dipping sauce, which are similar to Indian pancakes, curry puffs and crispy spring rolls, I settled on just a main dish of Chicken Pad See Ew, a dish consisting of flat broad noodles with onion, egg, Chinese broccoli in a soy based sauce. This more than met my expectations. It exceeded them by a mile. I have had this dish at many restaurants but this was the best I have tried. The sweet and salty flavor of the soy sauce along with the broad noodles layered with the egg, onion and broccoli made my taste buds dance; a happy dance! Each of the menu items comes with your choice of meat; chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, vegetable or tofu. My friend ordered the Basil Chicken and I had to try it. With layers of flavor between the fresh basil bamboo shoots, the onion, bell pepper and chili paste, the dish did not disappoint her or me.  She let me have some of hers on my “side plate” and after I ate it at warp speed, I found myself longing for more of hers in between bites of my incredible dish. I knew better than to stuff myself though even though I tried to rationalize with myself that I could walk it off on my way home. I refrained. I knew next time I ate there, which would be very soon, I would try one of the curries or the drunken man noodles. For now, I was completely satisfied. Its no wonder it’s been a Michelin recommended restaurant for several years now.

They have a lunch menu served from 11:30am – 3:30pm Monday through Friday and Dinner from 5:00pm-9:30pm. Saturdays and Sundays they are open for dinner only 5:00pm-9:30pm.

The lunch prices are very reasonable with dishes ranging from $10-$12 per dish.  The dishes were the perfect lunch size for the price.  Dinner appetizers range from $8-$13 and entrees are $13-$2

The service was friendly and extremely attentive if not too attentive. They came to our table four times in 7 minutes to ask if we had questions or were ready to order. To be fair, it was lunchtime and they were busy and had to turn tables.  We would have been if we have stopped catching up on girl talk long enough to decide on the many mouth watering options. I know we made the right choices. My taste buds agreed with me too!

* You can read more by Amy Wasserman at www.AskWass.com

Laut on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Eclectic, Exotic, and Enticing – Review of KITTICHAI

BY STEPHANIE HARRISON

KITTICHAI
60 Thompson Street
Soho
212-219-2000 / kittichairestaurant.com

Kaffir Lime Leaf Pancake topped with maple syrup from KITTICHAI

Authentic isn’t the first word that comes to mind when thinking about this SoHo restaurant. KITTICHAI’s Thai cuisine is eclectic, exotic, and enticing. The lobby of the restaurant has a birdcage filled with fish for goodness sake. This place is Thailand’s home away from home, but with a nice, more upscale twist. Decorated with bamboo and wooden fixtures, it offers an original feel of Asian architecture that provokes a soft-spoken type of conversation. More importantly, the food is the heart of KITTICHAI.

Beginning with the Spicy and Sour Oxtail Soup with Kaffir Lime Leaves and Charred Tomatoes, you can taste every drop of sodium injected into the broth. If you dare to try oxtail, this soup is not a bad first choice. Their brunch menu offers many Thai classics, but it’s more fun to take an alternative route and nibble on something new. The Kaffir Lime Leaf Pancake with lemongrass butter and toppled with maple syrup is sure to get your brain twisted. You normally expect a margarine, sugary taste when it comes to pancakes and syrup, but within moments, the first bite of the pancake is filled with a curry aroma and flavor. If your brain can get over that, then try this fluffy, Thai inspired breakfast.

Delectable duck egg omelette

Following the exotic pancake was the Duck Egg Omelette (bacon, wok-fried morning glory with nam jim jaow sauce) and the Seared Duck Breast (Asian Pear Salad, light soy-vinegar dressing). Both phenomenal, it’s easy and crucial to jump back and forth from one duck to the other. You decide which bite you want taste last.

The Duck Egg Omelette had the perfect crisp combined with a soft fluffy texture of the egg. Dipped in the nam jim jaow sauce, a bit of a sweet and spicy flavor is added to enhance the duck flavors. This is sure to keep your mouth salivating. To take a break from the strong taste, dabble to the jasmine rice topped with lamb bacon on the side for a nice intermission. This dish has to be a popular one of many.

Fresh, thirst quenching seared duck breast

My last bite was decided on the Seared Duck Breast. It was a light, airy crunch with a sweet and sour bite to it. This small dish makes you not want to share even a little at all – you want every single taste of it, trust me. I loved it so much, I honestly had no idea and forget it had Asian pears in it. The light dressing did not overwhelm the natural flavors of the duck, it was just enough to make you want to eat it bite after bite. It is amazing what a simple dish can do – I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. KITTICHAI’s duck entrees are surefire dishes to sample.

Banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream

No meal should end without dessert. Recommended with the Banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream – you might as well go home and take a nap after the ridiculously delicious finish. The banana spring rolls are no surprise; they taste exactly like it sounds, sweet, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. What is to die for is the burnt honey ice cream. I don’t care how they made it, it’s hands down the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever tried. Just think of the sugar that’s lighted fired on top of a crème brulee, add a touch of honey, and that’s the exact flavor minus however many degrees it takes to make ice cream. Warning: devour the scoop of ice cream before anyone gets a lick of it, or else you’ll regret sharing.

Next time you want Thai food and don’t want to break the bank and buy a air ticket to Thailand, head over to SoHo and treat yourself to KITTICHAI. Don’t miss out on the ice cream and the duck.

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