Wanted to alert hounds to a place that probably deserves some looking into.
Last night I was (begrudgingly) going to meet a friend in Murray Hill when I passed by this place. From the outside, it looked like one of those loungey Thai places that probably has the same food every other Thai place in Manhattan has. But the name caught my eye, so I took a look at the menu.
Well, not only does it have some of the regional specialties that you don't see much outside of Queens or Pok Pok Ny, but it also has some dishes on the menu that you can't find anywhere in the five boroughs. They have categories for Northeastern and Northern Thai cuisine (listed as "featured") and for Central (chinese-style stuff) and Southern (listed as "attractions") Given its appearance, I'm not sure how confident I am, but at the very least it is a sign that regional Thai food is making real inroads in NYC. I am definitely going to give it a try soon.
Some menu items that, as far as I know, you can't even find in Queens:
Tom Mara - Bitter melon with ground pork and vermicelli in broth. This dish gives me hope that they're for real, as I doubt it appeals to your typical Murray Hillite.
Naem Kho Tod - This is one of the dishes that Lotus of Siam is famous for, fried rice balls with Isan sausage. The menu translation says ground pork, but I'm hoping that's just an attempt to make it more appetizing to the unadventurous.
Gang Hoa: vermicelli with pork belly, pickled bamboo, and vegetables in northern style red curry sauce
Pla Abb - Grilled Marinated Tilapia with lemongrass and northern curry paste wrapped in banana leaf
Kua Gling Moo - Pork spare ribs with kaffir lime leaf in southern chili paste
Pla Pow - Salt-Crusted Fish with Northeastern Chili Sauce. I know lots of places do whole fish, but I'm not aware of any that do it the salt-crusted Lao way.
They also have Hung lay Curry, which I think only Pok Pok does in NYC, a Khao Soi that they specify is "chicken thigh only," Yum Pla Duk Foo (the fried catfish salad), Mieng, Chiang Mai Sausage, and Thai dried beef.
Honestly, if not for the decor, I would be unbelievably excited about this place. Let's hope its just the facade, and there's serious food behind it.