You won’t find curry on the menu at Somtum Der, nor will you find many of the other specialties that fill the lists of more Americanized versions of Thai restaurants. This offshoot of a Bangkok eatery specializes in fare from the northeastern Isaan region of the country, and it’s unyielding in representing that cuisine authentically. Somtum der refers to the green papaya salad, and so that dish is front and center here — there are several different variations to choose from. After you’ve selected yours, you should move through pork rolls and sundried beef, a platter of chopped meat larb, and soup, skewers, or one of the versions of fried rice. And chile fans should note that heat can be dialed up intensely here — so if you’re sensitive to spice, you might want an order of sticky rice to temper your meal.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014