On Saturday night, AV and I battled the snow to grab dinner in the neighborhood. We tried Hell's Kitchen, which I liked when I checked it out with my friend CF, but the wait was too long (i.e., more than 0 minutes). So we ended up down the block at Tai Thai, a small local Thai joint that gave us a table immediately.
I will say straightaway that the host/waiter was one of the most amusing people I've ever run into. His walk was a unique and creative combination of sashaying and prancing, and he walked the short distance from door to table-for-two as though he were gracing the catwalks of Milan. After we had decided what we wanted from Tai Thai's extensive menu, he returned to take our order with the unabashed eagerness of a five-year-old on Christmas morning. He was, in a word, spectacular.
Since I was ordering an appetizer and AV was opting for an entree, our waiter asked us whether we were going to share the dishes. My response was "sure, just bring them both at once." Apparently there was a bit of a miscommunication, because my selection, a large order of summer rolls (the starters are offered in either small or large sizes, a nice touch), arrived first and was quite clearly supposed to be our appetizer. Thus began the long and laborious process of me attempting to eat the summer rolls with chopsticks without getting the ingredients all over the table, while AV observed. Note: mission impossible. The rolls were quite tasty, though, with a really fresh filling of vermicelli, fresh vegetables, and tofu, all sprinkled with peanuts and garnished with a swirl of hoisin sauce. I asked for a dish of peanut sauce on the side, which turned out to be a great choice-- the peanut sauce was truly superlative. All in all, the summer rolls were very good and a great value-- lots of rolls for a relatively reasonable price.
Several minutes later, once I had managed to eat my meal, AV's selection-- pad se-ew with chicken-- made its appearance. I stole the odd veggie or rice noodle-- you know, just to make sure AV didn't feel uncomfortable eating alone-- and this dish was delicious as well. The sauce was incredibly savory and flavorful, and who doesn't love wide rice noodles? Nobody. That's who.
And so it was-- two meals, two satisfied diners, a check that hovered around $20. While Tai Thai isn't uber-deluxe fine dining, the atmosphere is pleasant enough; the tiny room has just-poor-enough acoustics to lend it a buzzy energy even when there are only a few tables occupied. And there are several dishes remaining on the menu that I'd like to try, so I'll definitely be back. So while a place like Tai Thai would normally garner a solid three-OS rating, because of its excellence within genre I hereby award Tai Thai four Offset Spatulas.
Author's note: If you go to Tai Thai, which I hope you will, be careful removing the chopsticks from their plastic packaging. Unfortunate experience reveals this process can result in nasty splinters.
693 Ninth Avenue, between 47th and 48th