My interest in Ngam began when I was living in the East Village only one block away. My old housemate had ordered from there and had a huge box of ‘Chiang Mai Fries.’ He offered me one. Everything changed. This was a game changer.
After ordering take away from them many a time, but really not branching out with dishes (I have no idea why) a group of six of us decided to go on a busy summer night. As packed as it was, magically they had room for us. It’s owned by Chef Hong Thaimee who featured on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, she’s also worked in some of New York’s finest restaurants including Jean George’s Spice Market.
We of course started off with the splendourous Chiang Mai Fries – Kabocha pumpkin, sweet potato, homemade red curry mayo, sweet and sour peanut relish. Crispy to bite, a curried flavour, comfort food interior and without a doubt the most delicious dish you’ll have tasted all year. And for only $8!
I tried everyone’s dishes, don’t you just love that? When people are excited about what they’re eating, so much so that they want you to experience it too, food truly brings people together.
Here’s a few of the dishes we had:
“Pad See Ewe” Smokey Wok Charred Noodles with Black Soy Sauce with chicken. This is comfort food on true form. The noodles taste so smokey they’re almost barbecued. A really incredibly fresh taste, salty and with a mix of crunchy broccoli and cauliflower too. This is a dish that takes the staple Pad Thai and goes one up. It’s got all your favourite characteristics and flavours, only it does it better.
The Lobster Dumpling “Kao Soy” – Maine lobster, homemade lobster dumplings, homemade had rolled egg noodles, homemade kao soy curry, pickled mustard, shallots, cilantro. I can hear your mouth watering! This dish was very special, it has an elite quality to it that takes it above the comfort food level, even though it embodies all the characteristics of comfort. It is creamy, so creamy, flavoured to perfection and the lobster dumplings are infused with cilantro (coriander) with just the right hit of it, not so much so that it’s overwhelming. The reason it steps into the realm of the elite is for one, the presentation, it’s spectacular and two, it’s the quality of the lobster, the flavour that comes through, the mix of textures (from crunch, to creamy, to melt in your mouth) this dish has it all. Absolutely flawless.
Up next was “The Dark Knight” – Housemade black squid ink “bah mee” noodle, fried calamari, black pepper sauce, brussel sprouts, Thai long chili. This looked amazing, the black noodles are so intriguing and then the flashes of red and green from the chili and sprouts make this a stand out dish. What struck me with this dish was the spice, there’s a big kick to it, but it just makes you want more and more. The noodles are delicious and the calamari is battered to perfection.
We of course tried other dishes too, including the Cutie Duckling “Ghang Ped Bhed Yang” – Roasted Long Island duck, homemade “ghang ped” curry, lychee, heirloom tomatoes, Thai basil sauce. The duck was as crispy as can be on the outside with the most delectable, fall of the bone, meat. This is food to be reckoned with.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is buzzing without being too loud, it’s constantly busy – a testament to how good the food is. You’re provided with wonderful service and it embodies what you want from a dining out experience.
Noticing the sign that is painted on their wall it really sums it all up.
Try this place, don’t go there unless you’re having the Chiang Mai Fries and eat to your heart’s content. It’s guilt free too because not only do they source all their produce from local farms but they only serve hormone-free beef, chicken and pork as well as use organic and cage free eggs and dairy products in their dishes. They also only use seafood not on the endangered sea food list. You’re in for a real treat.
Ngam – 99 3rd Avenue (between 12th & 13th Street) New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 777-8424
Follow them on Twitter – @ngamnyc