Land Northweast Thai | 1565 2nd Ave. (bet. 81st & 82nd Sts.) | 212.439.1847 |
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO give in. Or give up. Or both.

I had my heart set today on going downtown to Artichoke Pizza on East 14th Street, but the weather insisted on getting colder and snowier and windier and I as I waited for a bus that must still have been in Maine, I decided giving up at least two hours in bad weather mass transmit commute for a slice of pizza, no matter how exceptional, wasn't a best use of my effort or time.

As I started to walk back to my apartment, losing body temperature by the minute, I thought of what I could possibly eat that would take the chill off. Something spicy would do. Thai food! Yes, and I had a neighborhood favorite—from which I had ordered delivery from several times over the last few years—called Land.

I had been saving Land for a PHUDE blog I would enjoy with a friend who I've been promising to take there; again, I had to submit to the convenience on only being a block away from some yummy, warming food, and still being able to do a PHUDE post. I had walked by the place several times, so walking in for the first time, I was surprised that the space was roomier than it looked from outside, and far better designed as I had thought as well.

They have a great lunch special, which consists of two courses—a starter and a main—from the main menu. Since I was in the mood for something spicy, with lots of flavor, I ordered the Laab Chicken Wraps appetizer, which is made of minced chicken, tomato, mint, dried chili, and raw long bean in a lettuce cup.

This is a favorite of mine, with so may tastes—spicy, sweet, savory, acid—and textures, the only disappoint was the name of the dish, which fraudulently suggests that I would get to enjoy more than one! I can concede that point as well since I do appreciate the modest yet filling proportions, especially when it tastes sooo good.

For my main I ordered the Wok Basil with Beef*** (the stars, out of four, signifying the level of heat), with long beans, red pepper, chili-garlic paste—yay!—thai basil, and a side of jasmin rice. The kitchen here is so quick, it came out before I had the last two bites of my chicken lettuce wrap.

This dish has all the flavor components you hear me write about often; it was savory, sweet, spicy, acidic. The beef was tender and held the sauce very well. The long beans had great "snap", and the garlic chili made for some nice aromas not just from the plate, but from the back of the tongue as well with each mouthful.

The sauce's spice, thankfully, not a wimpy Northeast American hot, but an authentic Thai hot, which started slow but grew exponentially, to the point where just halfway through the meal I had guzzled my ginger ale, sucked on a few ice cubes, had my water refilled twice, and had stolen the napkin from the neighboring table to blot the sweat from my forehead.

I almost caved into dessert as well, which I've never had from here. And although I enjoyed the great service and attention from my pretty waitress and even prettier hostess (who interested me more by showcasing a likewise passion for photography by taking pictures of the snow outside), and could have enjoyed a palate-cleansing bite or two of something sweet, I answered a client's text durung my meal and had to agree to meet him a just a few minutes.

So, again, my hands were tied, but not before I thanked the nice ladies who served me and took one last photo....

Bun Apple Tea!


Land Northweast Thai | 1565 2nd Ave. (bet. 81st & 82nd Sts.) | 212.439.1847 |