Tag Archives: Midtown West

NYC Best: Tasty Times Square Thai @ Pongsri

Times Square and good food is usually considered an oxymoron. With most Times Square dining establishments catering to tourists and theater goers, prices are oven high and quality tends to be low, but if you know where to look, there are plenty of great eats in the neighborhood worth visiting. Pongsri Thai, the oldest family-run Thai restaurant in NYC and one of my favorites, sits in the midst of neon tickers, but its traditional decor and standout food quickly makes you forget the madness outside their four walls.

We started with my favorite dish of the whole meal, a Coconut Omelet appetizer consisting of a thin omelet crepe stuffed with shredded coconut, carrots, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts, served with special thai sauce and cucumber salad. I typically think of eggs as being savory, but the sweetness and crunchiness of the coconut and carrots with the salty peanuts, wrapped in the thin, fluffy omelet crepe was like a Thai party in my mouth — I couldn’t get enough.

Pongsri Coconut Omelette

And while I typically go the boring Pad Thai route when ordering from any random take-out joint, we ordered up a delicious Pad Key Mao — stir-fried broad rice noodles with herbs, chinese broccoli and chili paste with chicken and a make-your-brow-sweat Thai Red Curry with bamboo shoots, bell peppers and coconut milk. Mmmmm — just look at the pictures, they speak for themselves. Lots of good, fresh veg tossed in full-of-flavor sauces. Put either these over the white fluffy sticky rice that absorbs all that goodness and you’ve got yourself a memorable meal.

Pongsri Pad See Ew

Pongsri Thai Red Curry

The Skim: Put the pad thai aside and pick up something new at Pongsri. With hand cut noodles, fresh veg and intense sauces, you will come away with tasty thai memories of Times Square no matter what you order.

Map: {244 West 48th Street btw 8th Ave & Broadway}
Reservations: Not Taken!
Phone:  212-582-3392

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Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

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I can’t seem to keep the “o” and “a” straight, but when I get it right, I have to say Bocca di Bacco has a nice ring to it — particularly when coming from the attractive, thickly accented Italian bartender serving my drink. I found myself in uncharted waters again last night — second visit to midtown in two weeks, second time I was pleasantly surprised.

Two large front windows welcome skeptical Ninth Ave. passersby to explore the midtown gem. Brightly lit and perfect for street viewing on a spring day, the bar is a great afternoon or early evening stop to grab a drink, sit back and watch. What’s on tap? The options here are only limited if you are a beer drinker: Peroni vs. 40 wines. 40 wines on tap, you say? Yes, the future of wines by the glass cleverly borrows from the old keg of beer contraption to remove oxygen, protect the open bottle and seamlessly pour your grape of choice without the risk of 40 open bottles going bad before midtowners can fully imbibe each selection. Brilliant.

With such an enticing bar setup, it seemed only right to give the Bocca di Bacco menu a shot. A quick accented chat with my bartender and I was armed with his top suggestions — one he said I could not miss was the Grilled Octopus. The Octopus was grilled perfectly and served over a bed of celery and potato. With such a successful seafood starter, I decided to stick with the theme for my entree and got the generously portioned grilled branzino with broccoli rabe and herbed potatoes. This may have been one of the few times I went to an Italian restaurant and didn’t even think of getting the pasta, but there were plenty of enticing options on that part of the menu too.

The Skim: You’re going to midtown to see a show or just got swept up in the sea of tourists and are looking for a reprieve to grab a glass of vino or a delicious bite to eat? Look no further, Bocca di Bacco is both a worthy wine bar and delicious restaurant, that is actually reasonably priced given the neighborhood. Bon Appetito! {828 9th Ave btw. 54th & 55th St}

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Music and Mozz @ the Beechman Theater

Canteen @ The Laurie Beechman Theater

Last night I went to The Laurie Beechman Theater located in the basement of the West Bank Cafe on 42nd and 9th Avenue to see Canteen, directed by up-and-coming composer Dylan Glatthorn. This is a great venue to add to your list when you’re looking for an inexpensive night out with a little entertainment and a good bite to eat. In addition to the minimal $10 cover for the show, the venue requires a $15 food/drink minimum, so naturally I took the opportunity to check out the menu and was pleasantly surprised!

Wild Mushroom Risotto Balls! “Stinky Brooklyn” Cheese Plate! Black Pepper Tagliatelle with Duck Confit! This is not your normal Time’s Square sub-par restaurant catering to tourists willing to overpay for bad food. I opted for the Mozzarella and Basil Panini served on Rosemary Focaccia with a side spinach salad served with toasted pine nuts. Simple, but delicious. The friends I was with went straight for dessert, so I also tried a bite of their Chocolate Mousse and Peanut Butter Cake with Banana Fritters. Is there really a more perfect flavor combination? I think not.

The Skim: Even if you just go for the food, you will not be disappointed. But be sure to keep an eye out for shows like Canteen — a hilarious spin on current radio favorites, performed by 5 members of the American army trying not to go crazy. From WW2, these men and women’s only way to stay in touch with themselves is to keep performing as if they were back on the USO! Good food and good times. {407 W. 42nd St / just West of 9th Ave}

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