My cousin was in town with his volleyball team and we planned to meet them for dinner on Labor Day. It’s hard enough to get a reservation for 8 people in NYC and we had 14. Several places were closed for the holiday, and we were also on a budget. This would be tough. Luckily, Lon and I had walked by Tong Thai Brasserie Tong Thai Brasserie two nights earlier and took notice of their interesting menu and reasonable prices. We called and they took our reservation; we had our fingers crossed.

You have heard me complain about Thai in NYC before. I really did not have high hopes but entered thinking, at least I like the space. As Justin, Lon, and I waited for the rest of our party to arrive, we ordered the Duck Leg Confit to tide us over. The skin was crispy, the flavors bold, but just a bit too salty. My eyes were opened though and starting to realize this would not be that average boring Thai that has become so standard here.

Duck Leg confit

Justin, Lon, Olivia, and I ordered family-style among the four of us, starting with a Sticky Beggar’s Purse. It was basically deep fried shu mai with a fish paste filling. Nothing sticky about it so I think it needs a new name.
Sticky Beggar's Purse

The Curried Puffs were great, similar to Samosa but more delicate with a nice dipping sauce.
Curried Puffs

The Mussels in Rice Batter were perfectly cooked and nicely spiced. I didn’t feel like the rice batter added much for me, but the Thai guy in our party did say it was authentic. Lon loved his first piece but got a chunk of shell in the second piece, which had him cursing.
Mussels in rice batter

The Vegetable Daikon Cake was similar to the radish cakes you get at Dim Sum, but these were stir-fried with a sauce and aromatics.
Vegetable Daikon Cake

The entrees started with a Crispy Whole Branzino, curved the way they serve it all over Thailand. The flesh was soft and fresh, the skin was nice and crispy, and the fried basil lining the plate was a nice touch.
Crispy Whole Branzino

We all enjoyed the Skate Wing in Banana Leaf, except for Lon who was annoyed by the bones and cartilage. I guess the rest of us Asian kids are used to that. The nutty fried crumble stuff on top (looks like pork floss but it’s not) was delicious and added another texture dimension to the soft fish.
Skate Wing in Banana Leaf

Unfortunately, the curries didn’t fare as well. The Braised Short Rib Massaman was nice and tender but just too sweet.
Braised Beef Short Ribs Massaman

The Green Curry Chicken was terrible. The meat was dry, the flavor of canned bamboo shoots was overwhelming, some pieces of eggplant were under-cooked. It was the only dish left unfinished.
Green Curry Chicken

Since we were mostly happy thus far, we dared ourselves to try dessert (not the best at Asian restaurants). The Sticky Rice with Mango (that looked more like papaya in color) was just that, simple, tasty, but not that memorable. The sorbet was icy and forgettable as well.
Sticky Rice with Mango

The Banana Chocolate Mousse was good, a hard to go wrong combination. For me, the Thai Tea Ice Cream stole the show. I would buy that in pints.
Banana Chocolate Mousse with Thai Tea ice Cream
Tong Thai Brasserie was certainly not perfect. I hated the Green Curry. Most dishes were heavy on the salt. The servers were a bit confused. BUT, we were a very large group coming only 4 days since they opened. More importantly, they were extremely nice. They even divided our checks into 4 seperate ones for our ease. The plating was nice, the portions generous, and the menu is way more interesting than the average Thai place. I have a whole mental list of the dishes I want to try. Given the package and considering the price, it’s a steal. We’ll be back soon since we’re assuming the prices will eventually go up.
posted by jessica at 08:03 AM Filed under Closed, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.