Best Thai - 2013
Miles away from the kitchens in Woodside, Queens, Hong Thaimee's East Village Thai restaurant has successfully done for Thai food what the Maharlika team has done for Filipino cuisine and Jason Wang for Northern Chinese, by juxtaposing traditional Thai flavors with the Western trappings (seasonality, sustainability) of a New York restaurant. Ngam serves some of the best pad Thai on the mainland, redolent with fish sauce and brimming with crunchy peanuts. Before running one of the better Thai restaurants in the city, Thaimee was a runway model. Maybe that's why her hefty, spiced-up burger comes dressed to the nines with cilantro-lime mayo and zippy green papaya sauerkraut. A sai oor curry paste is mixed in with the ground beef, resulting in a burger with an almost meatloaf-like consistency. It's an experiment that works, even more so with a pile of kabocha squash and sweet potato "Chiang Mai" fries on the side.