Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Talent Thai, 34th St & 3rd Ave

Talent Thai
210 E 34th St

When the weather is hot, most people want to eat cool, refreshing foods - cold soups, summer salads, fresh fruit. I like those things, too, but as the weather really heats up, I find that all I want are spicy foods - and the hotter, the better. Last week was particularly hot, and I couldn’t get the idea of a truly flammable Green Curry out of my mind. ThaiNY is the go-to Thai restaurant in the area, but Talent Thai is just a few blocks farther uptown, and their food is fantastic! They also have freezing air-conditioning, so even if spicy food isn’t your natural summer craving, I guarantee you’ll be glad you came here to get out of the heat!

Whenever I go out for Thai or Indian, I’m absolutely like a little kid in a candy store. I order way too much food, and am somehow always surprised to see how little is left at the end of the meal. On this occasion, Scott and I ordered Crispy Spring Rolls, Pad Prig Khing (chicken), Kee Mao (beef), and Green Curry (chicken).

The Crispy Spring Rolls are surprisingly light and refreshing, considering they’ve been deep-fried. They’re stuffed full of vermicilli noodles and fresh, crisp vegetables, and are served with a sweet, but not overpowering, chili dipping sauce. All of our three main dishes are the same level of spiciness, but the Pad Prig Khing (chicken and green beans in a roasted chili, kaffir lime sauce) tastes the spiciest of them all. The kaffir lime leaves lend a subtle citrus note which you can still taste through the spice, and something about the sauce also tastes sweet, which helps take the edge off of the spiciness. Kee Mao is a spicy dish with flat rice noodles - warm, flavorful tomatoes are a nice, cooling contrast to the spiciness of the chili sauce, and this dish is loaded with sautéed onions, bell peppers, and heaps of basil. Pad Prig Khing and Kee Mao are both really amazing dishes - if when you go to Talent Thai, you have to try them!

Now, Green Curry is my absolute favorite Thai dish, and, fair or not, it’s what I use to measure all Thai restaurants against each other - Talent Thai’s Green Curry isn’t amazing, but it is very good and doesn’t disappoint. The vegetables are cooked just long enough to keep their crispness, and there’s a good meat-to-vegetable ratio. Talent Thai is very generous with their basil, and there are long strips of it floating all throughout the curry, which is deliciously creamy and not too rich. My only reservation? We asked for it to be VERY spicy, and it arrived with only a respectable amount of heat. Now, I don’t want food so spicy I can’t eat it, but I feel like I’m typically served food at an “American spicy” level - I want Thai-Fire-Hot spicy!

I’ve eaten at a lot of Thai restaurants in New York, and up and down the East coast - whether you’re looking for a night out or you just want quick delivery, Talent Thai is reliably wonderful. I’ve yet to eat anywhere I like better - but I still have yet to visit Rhong Tiam!


  1. Red, green or yellow... I love all curries. Spice is used in many warm climate countries. First because chile peppers grow good in that climate. Second because spicy food actually makes you feel cooler after eating it.

    Thanks for the nice review. I will be in NY in 3 weeks and will stop by if I'm in that area.

  2. Hey Little Scarlet,
    I love your post a lot:) I grew up in Thailand, so I love Thai food very much. The green curry, if translate correctly from its original Thai name, should be called The sweet green curry. Normally it is supposed to be a bit milder and a bit sweeter than the red curry, which sometimes called Spicy curry in Thai. Yellow curry is very mild. But it does not necessary mean you can't make green curry firely hot. Some Thai people like their green curry that way.

    I'm also going to write about my most favorite Thai dish called Pad Krapow this weekend. I'll let you know once I post it.


  3. Oh... You make me want to have Thai food right away! Have you tried the thai appetizer raw shrimp? It is supposed to be really hot!

  4. I love thai food mainly because they have awesome dishes that are spicy :)

  5. I will have to look out for this place since it is on my way to work. Thanks!