Summer Guide: Salad Daze

Let there be light meals! Welcome to our choice summer fare.

Of course, the classic Siamese salad hails from the northeastern region of Isaan, and focuses on shredded green papaya, which imparts a pleasantly sour and crunchy mien to the recipe. Find it at Mai Thai (4618 Eighth Avenue, Sunset Park, Brooklyn)—will these horrible puns never cease?—made extra crunchy with crushed peanuts and miniature dried shrimp. There's a small wooden deck on the south side of the restaurant, which provides a fine view of the setting sun. If you go for super-spicy, check out the rendition at Ayada (77-08 Woodside Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens). The Cambodians have gotten in on the act, too, and at Kampuchea Noodle Bar (78 Rivington Street), you'll find a papaya salad pelted with duck and glistening with a chile-lime dressing.

Seek not your Sunday roast at Rai Rai Ken.
Daniel S. Neuner
Seek not your Sunday roast at Rai Rai Ken.

Location Info


BLT Steak

106 E. 57th St.
New York, NY 10022

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: East 50s

Acapulco Deli & Restaurant

1116 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Greenpoint


152 W. 49th St.
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: West 40s

Rai Rai Ken

218 E. 10th St.
New York, NY 10009

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: East Village

It's Greek to Me

194 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Jersey City

Yiasou Estiatorio

2003 Emmons Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Sheepshead Bay


29-19 Broadway
Long Island City, NY 11103

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Long Island City

Mustang Thakali Kitchen

74-14 37th Ave.
Flushing, NY 11372

Category: Restaurant > Nepalese

Region: Jackson Heights

Himalayan Cafe

78 E. 1st St.
New York, NY 10009

Category: Restaurant > Nepalese

Region: East Village

Top Cafe Tibet

1510 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Category: Restaurant > Nepalese

Region: Ditmas Park

Chennai Garden

129 E. 27th St.
New York, NY 10016

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Murray Hill

I Am Thai Express Restaurant

49-08 43rd Ave.
Flushing, NY 11377

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Woodside

Mai Thai

4618 Eighth Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Sunset Park

Ayada Thai Restaurant

77-08 Woodside Ave.
Flushing, NY 11373

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Elmhurst

Kampuchea Restaurant

78 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Cambodian

Region: East Village


314 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: West Village

We've saved one of the best for last: the Niçoise salad, name-checking the Riviera city of Nice. Always served in a big bowl with a pungent vinaigrette, the salad assembles canned tuna (no mayo!), tomatoes, potatoes, boiled eggs, red peppers, anchovies, and olives—a compendium of Provençal ingredients. If you get it at A.O.C. (314 Bleecker Street), you can consume it in the trellised backyard patio, where the tourist hubbub of the West Village seems kilometers away. For a more portable version, check out Payard Pâtisserie (1032 Lexington Avenue), which usually offers the same salad on a torpedo-shaped roll—perfect for that picnic or concert in Central Park. And, having had a lighter meal, you're less likely to fall asleep during the violin concerto.

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