Greenwich Village has not been a hot spot for authentic Thai food. But the newish Rhong-Tiam promises to change that.
Hounds say spicing is strong and true. Yum pla dook foo (grated catfish and mango with chile sauce) is addictively delicious and “smoke-out-of-the-ears” hot, says ephramzz. He also recommends nicely sour-sweet tom yum gai (spicy lemongrass soup with chicken) and khao soi (noodles in curry broth), “up there with the best in nyc.” Jorel endorses Penang curry, “incredibly spicy” and the best he’s had in Manhattan. ywwan, an old Thailand hand who’s usually disappointed by Thai food in New York, is won over by Rhong-Tiam’s seafood, especially poached fish with lime and fresh bird’s-eye chile.
This used to be a branch of the Penang chain, and the menu retains a few Malaysian dishes, including pineapple achar (a tasty dry chutney with fresh fruit, ephramzz reports) and a rendition of roti canai that Lau prefers over any served by Chinatown’s Malaysian restaurants.
“Rhong-Tiam is aiming to be a great, authentic Thai place,” ephramzz sums up, “definitely the best in Manhattan, and it may even surpass (gasp!) Sripraphai!” Jorel, not quite as impressed, says it’s “not Queens, but it was as good or better than every other Thai place down here.” And Peter Cuce warns us away from lunch service, which he surmises is handled by a different kitchen staff: “borderline awful, same crap as served out by any other Thai joint in the city.”
Rhong-Tiam [Greenwich Village]
541 LaGuardia Place (between Bleecker and W. Third streets), Manhattan