|NEW YORK TIMES Wednesday June 6, 2007
STREET SCENE THAI MARKET evokes the sidewalks of Bangkok. thought and effort had clearly gone into most of these dishes and the extras with them. A shaved fennel salad joined the crab. Pickled cauliflower cozied up to the chicken. And Grayz seemed like something that might be worth a bit of a wait.
DAILY NEWS Friday May 4, 2007
A THAI point in Manhattan by IRENE SAX
Here I go, stepping bravely out on a limb. Right now, Thai Market serves the best Thai food in Manhattan.
I heard about it from my friend the Thai chef. “You’ve got to meet me there. I’ve been five times.”
Two days later I sat waiting for him in a beautiful new restaurant in the area between the upper West Side and Morningside Heights. Behind me were ceiling-high photos of Thai markets; above me were Bangkok street signs; and in front of me a counter shaded by bigred umbrellas. Nothing was expensive, but everything was just right, a statement that also describes the food.
It has heat, but not enough to numb your mouth. It has palm-sugar sweetness, but it’s never cloying. There’s fish-sauce saltiness, but not enough to frighten Westerners, and when there’s tartness, as in the Tom Yum Goong soup, it’s a complex product of limes and lime leaves, lemon grass and tamarind.
That soup had beads of chili oil floating on a thin hot-and-sour broth that was dense with scallions, mushroom and a single shrimp ($4). Vegetable spring rolls were neat little packets that we dipped in a saucer of sweet chili sauce and downed in two crunchy bites ($3). “it takes art to fold them with so few layers of dough, ” said the TC.
He added chili vinegar to his fried jasmine rice, which was already flavored with fish sauce and dotted with chicken strips, Chinese broccli, egg, onions, scallions and tomatos ($8). I ordered beef basil, which the menu awarded three red stars for heat. The menu was right, but the sauce that bathed the beef, basil and green beans had just enough sweetness to temper the ferocity of bird’s-eye chilies ($10). In contrast, the two-starred green curry with chicken and vegetables ($9) had a gentle, perfumed fire. Full, but eager to taste more, we made plans to go back and try the $7 lunch.
|New York Magazine Issue July 30- August 6, 2007 Thai Market
960 Amsterdam Ave., nr.107th St. 212-280-4575
The decor may come off a bit theme-parky, with its Bangkok street signs and street-market photo murals, but the kitchen seems to prize authenticity over artifice. The menu is voluminous and modeled after a broadsheet and the first-time diner would dowell to heed the hyperefficient server’s advice.
T H A Imarket
960 Amsterdam Avenue (107stth Street),(212) 280-4575
Anyone who has eaten at the simple restaurants opening onto the streets of bangkok will feel transported upon walkung into Thai Market. Backlighted blowups of food scenes are so evocative of that city that they make you smile. The food does, too
The room is a clever mix of contemporary and old-fashioned : the photos cover old brick walls ; huge red upside-down umbrellas disguise the original tin ceiling.
The place has a floor-to-ceiling glass front and a modern version of marble-top ice cream tables. Temple bells share a wall with a sign that says, “We do not serve incomplete parties.”
The food at THAImarket, which opened in April and does not yet have a liquor license, was also a blend of traditional and new, as well as tasty. The young manager told me Thai recipes are made “with things Americans like,” which I discovered soon enough. That’s how you get avocado in massaman curry and tomato in a green papaya salad, though a friend told me thetomato in the salad was not uncommon in Thailand.
But despite my aversion to the Upper West Side penchant for mixing — and mixing badly — Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and who knows what other food in one restaurant, those few American additions to Thai cuisine were not offensive. Probably because the food still tasted good, and basically Thai.
I could have wished for a little more depth in some of the dishes, like the tom yum goong soup with shrimp and lemon grass, but the lightly battered fried calamari with a sweet, slightly hot plum sauce were the kind you don’t want to share. Add the fast, pleasant service, and this restaurant is a keeper.
Beside. it has two of my favorite desserts : ginger ice cream and green pearl tapioca in a cconut milk pudding.