I’d seen this restaurant mentioned somewhere – NYT? Eater? – and scribbled the name down, as I’m always looking for places on the UWS for my first night in NYC (I’ve given up on red-eyes, so I usually end up getting in around dinner time). I’d never heard of Yaowarat Thai and was curious to see what it was. On the menu, it’s described as “a harmonious and loving marriage of centuries-old Thai, Szechuan, and Cantonese influences fused together to become a fascinating, unique Bangkok style.”
Since my friends weren’t home yet, I went out for dinner alone, which limited my ordering. I had:
Yaowarat Herbs Stewed Beef Soup – this was actually the perfect thing to settle my stomach, which was queasy after a bumpy flight, and an entire day of eating cold steamed Chinese buns and 100-calorie snack bars. The broth was great, like a really refined 5-spice braising liquid. The beef was a wee bit tough and would have benefited from a slower simmer. Good, fresh veggies (bok choy and bean sprouts), and while I’m generally suspicious of the sudden omnipresence of goji berries, I quite enjoyed the sweetness of the seeded berries that settled at the bottom of the bowl. $5
Spicy Yaowarat Noodles – I was torn between this and the Mussel Turnip Cake, and went with the noodles. They tasted uncannily like something I made at home last week, using random Chinese banquet leftovers, bok choy, and fresh egg noodles from Chinatown, finished with a generous squirt of sriracha. Tasty, but literally something I could make at home. The Mussel Turnip Cake (described as pan-fried turnip cakes, mussels, bean sprouts, eggs and scallions with Pad Thai sauce) sound like an interesting twist on the Chiu Chow style turnip cakes (usually with egg and pickled vegetables) that I love, and as I cook neither turnip cakes nor mussels at home… gah. Mistake. Someone *please* order this and tell me how it is. Noodles were $9 (with chicken)
Other things that look interesting to me are the Ba-Jangh (joong with Thai sausage along with the usual joong fillings of chestnuts, mushrooms, and pork, and served with a black sweet ginger sesame sauce), and the O-Nieh Paeh-Guay (warm, sweet mashed taro cake topped with gingkos, red dates, and lotus seeds, with a cinnamon and coconut milk sauce).
The interior surprised me… I thought it was going to be a sunny, hole-ish in the wall place, but it’s dark and stylish and has a stunning bathroom. Frankly, I’d prefer a hole in the wall with a few more street-food options at a lower price point, but I wouldn’t write this place off just because the walls are upholstered in raw silk. The vast majority of patrons seemed to be eating pad thai and curries, but there are definitely some interesting things on the menu that are worth seeking out.
2686 Broadway, New York, NY 10025