As a food blogger, I make a concerted effort to try out new and interesting restaurants for most of my meals. But there are days when I don’t want to think too much about where to eat, particularly mid-week lunches. I just want something that gets the job done reasonably well–I need off days that don’t involve documenting a meal at the best-place-ever as declared by Grub Street/Eater/Yelp for the moment being. I want something that’s no fuss, not too expensive and in the neighborhood. And I leave my adventurous palate at home–I want my lunch to be a sure thing, so I stick to safe, proven, familiar favorites.
Ngam, a modern Thai eatery in the East Village run by former model Hong Thaimee, fits my mid-week lunch criteria perfectly. For $8.99, you get a good-sized entree accompanied by a soup or a salad. Entrees offered consist of Thailand’s greatest hits, such as pad thai, green curry fried rice, green curry and red curry. Yes, I could go to Zabb Elee and try something more exotic like chicken larb, but I don’t want to. Sometimes you just want good old mainstream pad thai, which is extremely solid at Ngam. And so is another crowd favorite, the rich and creamy green curry with chicken. Drizzle the sauce over an order of coconut rice for an amazing makeshift side dish.
Ngam has received a lot of favorable press recently for its more adventurous creations like Chiang Mai fries or the Cutie Duckling “ghang ped” curry. The success I’ve had with its lunch offerings compels me to try its broader, exotic dishes for dinner. But when noon rolls around, I’m perfectly content with another order of the pad thai.
99 3rd Ave (between 12th and 13th St)
New York, NY 10003