"Andy's omelette"—which Yang says is a dish most Bangkok families eat everyday—is a bubbly fried orb of egg, bean-thread noodles, and diced shrimp. It's served with a Sriracha-like garlicky hot sauce on the side. (Sriracha originated in the city of the same name, which is close to Bangkok.) The Southern-style chicken is like a toned-down laab, a coarse grind of chicken, stained red with spice and served with sticky rice. But the chicken was slightly dry and lacked the flavorful complexity of the other dishes.

Rhong-Tiam pounds its own curry pastes and extracts its own coconut milk, and all the attention to detail manifests itself in flavors that are vibrant and distinct. Still, to get the good stuff, you must order with some thought. There are several items to avoid if you don't want the mediocre, undifferentiated New York–Thai experience—namely, the lunch specials are ordinary in the extreme. But the regular menu is available during lunch; you just have to ask for it. Also, the "Southeast Asian Buffalo wings" and "Thai nachos" should be skipped. And you're in a Thai restaurant, so you know better than to order teriyaki, right?

Ignore the (lack of) hype: Rhong-Tiam stands up on merit.
Staci Schwartz

Ignore the (lack of) hype: Rhong-Tiam stands up on merit.

The second time I went to Rhong-Tiam, I noticed Kurve's distinctively futuristic logo had been added to the dessert menu and that Pichet Ong's desserts were listed there, alongside Rhong-Tiam's simple mango and sticky rice and pumpkin custard. We tried the carrot cake with salted almonds, Chantilly cream, and bits of diced pineapple, and it was wonderful. Yang says Ong's desserts will be on Rhong-Tiam's menu only until Kurve "opens." If I were a betting girl, I'd put my money on Rhong-Tiam and hope Ong's imaginative sweets stay there for good.

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