If one cuisine fascinates chefs and gastronomes most, it's surely that of Thailand, with its fiery heat, sour-sweet balance, and ungodly oomph and brightness. Sadly, New York is no mecca of Southeast Asian food. But we have a few very good Thai restaurants, and for that we should be grateful.
They don't screw around with the heat at this fine Thai restaurant in Murray Hill, a neighborhood not known for its uncompromising flavors. Assume that these flavors are americanized at your own peril.
Outrageously cheap and very good, this Queens Thai eatery has been a neighborhood pleaser for years. It's not the final word in Thai by any means but I wish we had one as good in the East Village!
If you are into monstrously spicy, incendiary Thai food this is the place for you. It's good, or so they tell me -- I had to quit after one bite. The heat here is almost infernal.
Obscure, tiny, out of the way, and looking like a well-maintained 7-11, this Sunnyside spot also serves some of the best Thai food in town.
Originally a cross-country expansion of Portland cult classic Pok Pok, this uncompromising Thai storefront is dedicated to pad thai. (A bigger, more ambitious Pok Pok is to be found in Brooklyn.) If you have come to think of pad thai as a bland, insipid dish -- and who could blame you given how it's made in New York -- you are in for an awakening. There are also some unpronounceable Thai dishes that are worth trying -- along with cold Thai beer.
Ayada Thai is said by many knowledgeable persons to be the finest Thai restaurant in New York City. I tend to agree with them, but only after spending many months considering the question in the burn ward.
The fiery cuisine of northern Thailand is on display at this Queens restaurant, which is much, much better than its Manhattan sibling.
New York knew Harold Dieterle mostly for the fine but traditional cooking the Top Chef winner did at his American restaurant Perilla. So when he debuted the Thai-inspired Kin Shop, they were first surprised, and then delighted.
The title "best Thai restaurant in New York" has been Sripraphai's by default for many years, but is it really? It's very good, but not too challenging, and its best days are behind it.
Portland thai-food whiz Andy Ricker brought a big rep with him from out of town, and more than delivered on his promise of big, bold, spicy food that manages to also be balanced and interesting -- something we haven't often seen before.