Here's a Chowish discovery -- Kai Thai (or maybe Kai Khai, or Tai Thai -- it's spelled various ways on various menus). It's a tiny (11 tables, 10 of them for 2), excellent Thai place at 78 East 1st St., east of 1st Ave.
Tom Kha soup with shrimp, coconut milk, galangal, baby mushroom, scallion and cilantro and lemon grass was superb. Clear, layered flavors, each one holding its own without the mushy mix of so many places. A medium bowl was only $3.00.
Pad Thai with shrimp once again had every ingredient well flavored and balanced. The bean sprouts were immaculately fresh -- probably grown in the back room. A choice of mild, hot, red hot and "suicidal" spicing brought out some real Thai crushed red pepper. No tiny shrimp, but still excellent.
Pad Kee Mao with chicken, wide noodles, and egg plus chopped asparagus was succulent and satisfying.
A friendly waitress completed the picture.
Under $20 for two before tip, and worth double that.