This post is in collaboration with Thai Select.
Last week, Kate, the owner of Thai Select, invited me to a press dinner to review some of their vegetarian offerings. There are a lot of Thai restaurants in NYC, and even just in Hell’s Kitchen, the streets are lined with Thai places. It can be tricky to navigate through the mediocre ones to find the good ones. Based on this visit, I would say that Thai Select is worth a try. Despite the harsh cold, they remained busy throughout the evening and on a weeknight too!
“Modern Thai” seems to be the best way to describe this spot. The restaurant feels casual, but there’s a bit of a loungey vibe too. There is only one row of tables along the length of the restaurant, which is such a relief compared to the usual overly-crowded NYC restaurant. If you’re seated in the back, the wallpaper makes you feel like you’re eating in a glowing bamboo forest.
It took us a while to decide what to order as the menu is pretty big. Like most Thai places, there’s a good selection of vegetarian options available. I’ve never been to Thailand so I’m not going to pretend that I know all about authentic Thai food, but being from Southeast Asia, I felt that the flavors seemed pretty legit. We started with a couple dishes that I like to think of as must order Thai classics.
Tom yum soup ($5.95) was the perfect way to warm us up from the cold! This spicy lemongrass soup normally comes with shrimp, but I asked them to trade that in for tofu. The soup was light, bright, and spicy. Just the right amount of sour. If I come back here, I might have to get the noodle soup, which comes with rice noodles for a full meal.
Papaya salad ($8.95) is another one of my favorites. Noodles of fresh green papaya and carrots, tomatoes, string beans, peanuts, garlic, and lettuce. The spicy lime dressing brings it all together. I wouldn’t say there was anything that remarkable about this one to differentiate it from papaya salads elsewhere, but it was still a good salad.
We also got the peanut dumplings ($5.95), which were stuffed with sweet turnip and ground peanuts. The dumpling skin was light, and the turnip filling was juicy and piping hot. These tasty little pouches of yum are great for starting a meal here. My only complaint? I wish there were more dumplings in one order. Gotta get an order all for myself next time.
We had so much fun eating these tasty little dumplings that I got John to do a little hand modeling to show off the dumplings in all their glory! It was his first time modeling with chopsticks (hah!), but I think it worked out fairly well. You be the judge.
Next up was the tofu chili ($10.95), which comes with white rice. Simple, but a pretty good meatless option. Pan-fried tofu over a bed of steamed bok choy and topped generously with a tangy garlic chili sauce. The thick cuts of tofu were nicely cooked and pretty filling. Even just having the sauce alone with rice is tasty, but the heat snuck up on me after a while. If you order a few appetizers, it’s not a bad idea to share an entree since it’s a good sized portion.
For dessert, we shared the fried banana with green tea ice cream ($7). Not a bad choice if you’re craving something sweet, but not necessarily a must order item. The bananas were soft and warm, while the fried wrapper was crispy and crunchy. Each one was tied into the perfect knot before being fried in what I assume is most likely coconut oil. The balance of warm and cold in this dessert is quite enjoyable.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Thai Select. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.