Dave Feldman didn’t see it coming. He’d wound up with a group of friends at Wondee Siam II in Hell’s Kitchen, a hit-or-miss outpost of a Manhattan minichain, and expectations were low.
But on this night, the pork larb positively killed. Served Thai spicy, as ordered, “it was not only excellent, but the best larb of any kind I’ve had in New York,” Dave swears, “including the usual suspects (e.g., Sripraphai, Zabb).” The only larb on the menu is made with chicken, he adds, but it turns out the kitchen will do it with beef or pork as well. Ask for it.
Pad kee mao (drunken noodles), catfish kra prao (sautéed with basil), bamboo beef, and som tum (papaya salad) were acceptably spicy—comparable to the famous Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas—but marred by excessive sweetness and unbalanced flavors, the same shortcomings Dave and others have observed over the years at Wondee II.
So that larb came as a happy puzzlement. “I don’t know whether this was an anomaly or just an inspired dish,” he writes. “Of course, I’m hoping it’s the latter.”
Wondee Siam II [Hell’s Kitchen]
813 Ninth Avenue (near W. 54th Street), Manhattan
Board Link: Larb Moo at Wondee Siam II