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Restaurants & Bars

Charm Thai Rocks the House

cimui | May 3, 200708:42 PM     11

Charm Thai on 95th and Amsterdam has to be one of the best restaurants I've eaten at in quite some time. It's an incredibly good deal for the quality of the food (at least based on the three dishes we tried). The decor's pleasantly kooky, with interesting inverted wok-looking lights, multicolored striped tile, various decorative plates hung on one wall, a random shield-looking thing imbedded in another. It's pleasant and comfortable, not glitzy.

Went tonight (Thursday night) at around 9:30 p.m. and the place was 75% full. We ordered the mixed appetizers for one ($6 or $7), which came with half a spring roll, fried wrapped shrimp, a curry puff, and I think one other thing that I'm forgetting. Everything was simple and delicious, crisp and non-greasy. The curry puff pastry was wonderfully flaky, without the slightest hint of sogginess. And all of the fillings were made with impeccably high quality ingredients. I usually don't like shrimp, but this one was so fresh, juicy and tender that even I enjoyed it. I know the same appetizers are available pretty much everywhere, but this is the best execution I've come across in Manhattan.

I had the tamarind duck for my main and my SO had the ped kee mao. My tamarind duck ($15) was flawless--genuinely *stunning*. The duck was perfectly juicy on the inside, with the outer skin roasted to a lovely crisp, served with strips of fried (but non-greasy) eggplant. All of this was topped with a perfectly balanced (not too sweet, not too sour) tamarind sauce. Ped kee mao ($8) came with a generous amount of fresh, high quality veggies, all highly flavorful, and nice chunks of chicken.

The restaurant hasn't gotten its liquor license, yet, but conveniently, there's a liquor store right across the street, manned by a very nice older gent. I bought a Chateau Ste. Michelle Reisling to go with our meal.

The food isn't blistering hot, but otherwise, the dishes we tried were authentic. I highly recommend it, Chowhounds. Go before it gets "discovered" and the chef/owner starts charging twice as much for the food!

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