Somewhere around minute 30 of standing in line at this
reservationless, signless, basement-level restaurant, a churlish thought
might strike: All this for Thai food? To pay $45 per person and sit on a
Suppress that thought and persevere. What awaits you is to your
average Thai restaurant as Cirque du Soleil is to community theater.
Chef/owner Johnny Monis—who is also behind our number-two restaurant, Komi
(page 64)—is a hands-on presence, which means you can expect much the same
vigilance as at his fine-dining restaurant upstairs.
The seven-course, family-style menu changes weekly and shows
off first-rate meats and produce (when was the last time a cucumber
smelled like anything?) and spices that are nearly drug-like in their
potency. If the cooking transports you to the rugged terrain of northern
Thailand, where Monis and his wife and business partner, Anne Marler,
were married in 2011, the rest of the experience—electric-green walls, a staff
decked out in thick-framed glasses, twanging bluegrass on the sound
system—channels the vibe of a hipster party, both stylized and
determinedly low-key. Don’t miss: Recent standouts have
included chili relish for bundling in rice and herbs; minced pork with
lemongrass and sawtooth; catfish with galangal and kaffir lime; and pork
ribs marinated in Mekhong whiskey.
Open: Tuesday through
Saturday for dinner. Expensive.