One Friday evening, a couple of coworkers and I were looking to unwind from the long work week and grab some food nearby. It turned out to be one of these situations:
“Where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know…where do you want to go?”
“I don’t care!”
“I don’t care either!”
And then that one person steps in and takes control and leads the group somewhere and everyone is happy because a decision was made. The end.
I KNOW that everyone has had a moment like that at some point or another. It’s already nice when someone takes the reins, but it’s even better if they steer you to a good place too–and that’s how I felt about Ngam.
Ngam is self-branded as “modern Thai comfort food.” It’s definitely not your average Thai place as it has some unusual dishes as well as favorites with twists. If you’re looking for your go-to $10 pad thai, this isn’t going to be it. Main dishes here are more like $15-$20 each. If you check out the restaurant on Yelp, there are some mixed reviews, mainly between either being very very good or bad. I’m not entirely sure why, but my experience was a good one.
The restaurant is pretty small and narrow with a lot of the seating being along the counter or at a long communal table, although there are a few other tables. So, basically, it’s not the BEST place for a large group. We were told we could either sit at the counter immediately or wait a decent amount of time to be seated at a table. Since we were only a party of 3, we figured counter seating wouldn’t be terrible (it’s little awkward once you get to 4+, don’t you think?), and plus, we were starving. Because of the layout and size of the place, it was a bit loud but we managed.
I ordered the shiitake mushroom spring rolls as well as the Dark Knight, which is housemade black squid ink “bah mee” noodles, fried calamari, black pepper sauce, brussel sprouts, and Thai long chili. Since they don’t serve traditional Thai food, I wanted to order things that were a little out there and new for me. Really, I was intrigued by the black squid ink noodles because I’ve always been wanting to try them and I figured this time was as good as any.
The spring rolls were interesting firstly because of the presentation. Instead of having folded or cut ends, they came to a point at the top (if my odd description is lacking, please refer to the photo and accept my apologies!), and oh yeah, they were standing up on the plate instead of laying flat. Secondly, I’ve never had spring rolls filled with vermicelli noodles and shiitake mushrooms before. It was a nice, crisp change, and I sopped up all the orange ginger reduction on the bottom of the plate.
Then there was my main dish. Which I LOVED. They gave me plenty of calamari on top of the noodles, which is an A+ in my book. Isn’t it always a gamble of how much meat you’re going to get with a noodle or pasta dish? At least I feel that way! They were cooked well and had a nice breading. And the squid ink noodles? They were great! Even though I had never had squid ink in any form before, I knew to expect a bit of saltiness from it and I think it worked well with all the other components of the dish. Overall, it was a little bit spicy, but I liked that extra kick, especially once I squeezed some lime juice over the top. In other words, I ate every last bite.
I’ve heard the Chiang Mai Fries, Lamb Roti Pot Pie, and Thai Burger are some fan favorites, so if I find myself here again I’ll have to see how those are. All in all, I think this is a good place to check out if you’re tired of the same old Thai food and looking to try something out-of-the-box. If you were/are interested in Pok Pok, this might be another place you should look into. They aren’t THAT similar but are definitely trendier Thai food spots. Happy eating!
“Por Pia” shiitake mushroom spring rolls, the Dark Knight
99 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003