Hell’s Kitchen, sandwiched between the uber trendy Chelsea and the decidedly un-trendy Theatre District, has long been considered a bit of a culinary no man’s land full of dodgy fried chicken shops and one-size-fits-all ‘Mediterranean’ restaurants.
But the times, they are a changin’.
Taladwat, a new, authentic Thai restaurant is attracting more than just a pre-theater crowd to this part of town.
You could easily walk right past this small, unassuming joint, nestled between Istanbul’s Number One Kebab house and an All-American diner
And patrons certainly don’t come to Taladwat for the decor; sheaths of wheat suspended from the walls and ornamental root vegetables scattered across bright yellow communal picnic tables.
But let’s talk about the food…
Head chef David Bank serves up home-style ‘country Thai’ food that is fresh, delicious and hearty; recipes inspired by the family-meals of his childhood in rural Thailand.
The menu is traditional and the portions are generous; you won’t find any mini mango salads served on matt black slate in here.
Instead Taladwat serves bold curries and fragrant broths hot and fast in ceramic dishes full to the brim. And it’s a bargain; the ‘pick-n-mix’ style menu lets you choose two dishes, with rice, for just $20, which, in most Manhattan restaurants, would barely cover the cost of an appetizer.
What to order:
The server recommended their most popular dish, the Crab Tom Turmeric with lemongrass, chili and coconut milk. It is spicy but delicate and almost too perfect to eat. The Pad Ped Beef with bamboo shoots, basil and a punchy curry paste is a winner and don’t miss the Kaffir Chicken with crunchy string beans and kaffir lime.
Taladwat’s standout dish has to be the Sour Curry Fish which comes submerged in a spicy tamarind chili broth with green papaya and daikon.
This is the type of food that makes you look up from your plate at your fellow diners, with a wide-eyed ‘how good is this?’ expression as you hastily decide what to order next.
You’ll soon be just as obsessed as we are.