It looks like Rhong-Tiam is expanding. Owner Andy Yang first moved the critically acclaimed Thai restaurant from the West Village to the East Village, where it replaced Kurve. Now he’s adding a second location — Rhong-Tiam “Express” — on 21st Street near Broadway.
The soon-to-open restaurant’s windows are blocked, but takeout menus are already available outside the door. While the place might be a boon for folks looking for adequate lunch in the area, it’s not very exciting otherwise. The dishes that made the original Rhong-Tiam so good are in short supply on this menu, replaced by build-your-own salads, roti wraps, a juice bar, and frozen yogurt. You can, however, get the famous pork-on-fire.
Perhaps no other restaurateur has managed to create restaurants of such wildly varying quality — who could believe Kurve was the sister restaurant of Rhong-Tiam? — so who knows what will emerge from Yang’s bag of tricks next? Flatiron/Gramercy residents will soon find out.
31 East 21st Street