Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yummy Thai Home Cooking: Lives up to its name!

by Benjamin Ramos Rosado

Naming your restaurant Yummy Thai Home Cooking may seem pretentious and overconfident, but when the atmosphere is mellow; the service is on point; and the food is delicious, then it isn’t conceit: It’s being accurate!

Located in Inwood, the northern most neighborhood of Manhattan, Yummy Thai Home Cooking opened its doors 3 years ago and has become very popular with the neighbors. The restaurant is moderately sized with beautiful lacquered wood tables, and a chic looking bar that seats 5 people. With beautiful red paneled mirrors with lit tea lights underneath and dim lighting, Yummy Thai Home Cooking is perfect for a first date or romantic rendezvous.

The night I visited, I noticed an Asian family having dinner with their adorable daughter who was slurping noodles from a bowl. The little girl waved at me and told me to try the chicken noodle soup, because it was “goooooooooood!” She practically growled the word. Kids make the best food critics, because they have no social filter to hold back their honesty. Her parents laughed and told her not to bother me any more. She giggled, wiped her broth-covered face with her arm and waved again, she was so cute I giggled and waved back.

After that wonderful welcome, my server enthusiastically greeted me and handed me a menu. Her service was impeccable. She was attentive and very friendly. After each dish, she asked what I thought of it and recommended similar dishes for my future visits. When she complimented me on my new long sleeve shirt, “You look handsome in that shirt, sir. Blue is your color! It matches your eyes.” her tip skyrocketed from 15% to 25%. The way to this man’s heart is through my stomach and generous compliments!

Feeling handsome and hungry, I looked over Yummy Thai’s appetizer menu. The Chicken Curry puffs, Duck rolls, Thai dumplings and Golden Tofu immediately piqued my curiosity. No stranger to Thai appetizers, I eagerly ordered the Thai dumplings (stuffed with mushrooms, ground chicken and shrimp) and the Chicken Curry puff (a puff pastry filled with ground chicken curry with onions).

Coupled with a vinegar dipping sauce, the dumplings were delicious! They were moist, hot and the meat filling was well seasoned. The Chicken Curry puff was also excellent! The puff pastry was light and crispy; the ground chicken curry was flavorful and moist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten chicken curry puffs that were drier than sawdust and tasted like curried shoe leather.

Although I skipped the salad, I did notice the interesting selection, which included: a Thai salad (fresh greens, tomatoes, tofu, beans sprouts with a choice of peanut or ginger dressing); a Yum Pork salad (same as above except with a lime dressing or Thai herbs); and a Papaya Salad (Shredded green papaya with chili, peanut and lime dressing). My next visit, I plan on trying the Papaya Salad, it sounds amazing!

After my yummy appetizers, I was ready for an entrée. The entrée selections were divided into three categories: Sautéed, Noodles and Fried Rice and Curry. Any of the entrees can be served with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, squid, duck, scallop, whole red snapper, mixed vegetables or tofu. Vegetarians rejoice! The entire menu is veggie-friendly!

Torn between the Red Curry (Sautéed with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, pepper, basil and chili), Traditional Thai Chicken (Ground Chicken in basil sauce with a fried egg) and Tom Yum Fried Rice (Fried Rice sautéed with fried egg, lemongrass, shrimp paste and chili curry), I buckled down and ordered the Tom Yum Fried rice with pork.

The fried rice was delicious and beautiful! Good fried rice is fluffy and light; it should be a dull yellowish white color, not the brown, oily and heavy rice we’re all accustomed to from our local take out eateries.

The lemongrass- a common Thai herb with a lemon and gingery taste- was fragrant and amazing. The shrimp paste and chili curry gave the dish a spicy yet, sweet taste that went well with the savory and wonderful pork. Also, the dish’s angel hair carrot garnish and cucumber slices provided a sweet and crunchy texture to the meal.

After a flavorful dinner, I needed a sweet dessert to top it off! Unfortunately, the dessert menu wasn’t as extensive as the other sections. I had to choose from Fried Ice cream; banana fritters with chocolate sauce; green tea ice cream; or mango with sticky rice. Salivating from the idea of chocolate sauce, I ordered the banana fritter.

This dessert was simple; it was a banana cut into pieces, fried in rice paper, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Served on a small plate, the fried bananas were good, but were overpowered by the excessive amount of chocolate sauce. Overall the dessert was okay, but very rich! Next time, I think I’ll order the green tea ice cream instead.

Inwood has many fantastic restaurants and Yummy Thai Home Cooking has joined the ranks of some of the best! Yummy Thai truly lives up to its name! As the little girl I met would say, it was “goooooooood!” Go taste for yourself!

¡Buen provecho!

Yummy Thai Home Cooking
4959 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10034

HOURS: Mon-Thu, Sun 12 pm - 11 pm, Fri-Sat 12 pm -12 am

ATMOSPHERE: Friendly, mostly young couples and young urban professionals.

SERVICE: Friendly, attentive and timely.

SOUND LEVEL: Great for conversation.

KID FRIENDLY: Bring the kids!


BEVERAGES: Soda, Thai Ice Tea, Regular Ice tea, Beer, Wine and Liquor at the bar.

PRICE RANGE: Appetizers ($3.95-$7.95), Salad ($5.95-$7.95), Soup ($4.95-$8.50), Entrees ($11.95-$18.95), and Desserts ($4.25-$5.95)