BY AMY WASSERMAN
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.
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