I'm addicted to this dish. I've got to be honest. I've been back 3 times, in 3 days. And all I can think about? Is going back tomorrow.
This place is kind of a 'hole in the wall'. Literally. But it's the Flat Iron district, so it's an upmarket kind of 'hole'. (If you will) Almost corporate looking. Don't eat in, though. You want to get your food 'to-go'. It's the Rhong-Tiam Express outpost, so you're meant to order, and then be on your merry way. Although there is an eclectic set of missed-matched chairs, eating there, might be akin to grabbing a bite in a small regional Bus Terminal. Not ideal.
So let's back up. You know when the New Yorker has written about this place, Michelin has given it one star, (in 2009), and one of the owners is connected to the Penang empire; that this is not your ordinary hole-in-the-wall food den. Not even close. The food is incredible.
I started to work my way down the menu, but I got kind of stuck on the Coconut Lemongrass Chicken with Housemade Peanut Sauce. It's chicken, in a very spicy coconut, peanut, lemongrass yellow curry, and it's minced. (Note: Good sauce-to-meat ratio). Everything about this dish is glorious. It's sweet, but hot. Big heat, but even bigger flavors. A proverbial Thai goodie basket; it also has a spring roll, and half a boiled egg tucked in there as well, with lettuce and carrots coated in a spicy orange dressing. All the flavors work really well together. You might want to try this dish with beer, though. (No well meaning Ginger Ale, no matter how authentic, will cut it).
What's next on the menu to try? Crispy Pork Belly in Basil, Tamarind Duck wrap, Kai Soi Chicken, Roti pancake in condensed milk with Milo, and finally, the Pork on Fire. (Roarrr!)
Rhong-Tiam Express Gramercy 31 East 21st St, between Park Avenue South and Broadway Check out their website: Which includes their extensive menu, here
TIP: Order ahead. Email or call them, and you will save time not having to wait on line.
Rhong-Tiam 154 Orchard Street, NY NY http://www.boweryboogie.com/2011/04/rhong-tiam-garden-now-open-at-154-orchard/