Tiny Thai | 1558 3rd Ave. (at 87th St.) | 212.828.8188 | On MenuPages

I HAD DECIDED TO GO to Ging for lunch. I had recently enjoyed a very good lunch delivery and was curious to see what the "dining in" experience would be like.

However, on my way up Third Avenue, I happened across a store front that looked way out of place for tony Yorkville—and far more in synch with ever-populating Lower East Side.

I had seen several positive (and a few negative) reviews on Menupages, I suddenly wondered how this Thai would stack up against my long time neighborhood favorite, Land.

Forgoing Ging, I walked into Tiny Thai and was taken even farther away from the dark woods and leathers of most of the area's eateries, instead being wrapped in a cozy, Wonderland-esque interior.

They offered inviting lunch specials, consisting of a choice of appetizer, soup, or salad, and a choice of entree, which were available in curry, fried rice, or noodle varieties.

I opted first for the crab dumplings.

These were light, with finely spiced and finely minced crab meat. The thin dough wrapper barely fought against the edge of my fork (no knives) and the soy-based dipping sauce, in smaller doses,was piquant and zingy enough to nicely compliment the dumplings without overpowering them.

Next, I chose the Red Curry, with chicken, which soon arrives with a bowl of white rice.

Immediately aromatic, its smells where proudly packed up by lots of deep flavor, and most prominently—finally, after my recent disappointment at Buddha BBeeQ—spice for taste as well as heat. The veggies seemed fresh—the snap peas actually snapped when I bit into them—and the sticky rice was sturdy and toothsome enough to hold up to the serviceably sinus-clearing and brow-beading hot red Thai curry.

Fully encouraged by the meal I just had, I was looking to ordering the fried ice cream dessert, even before they recommended it while clearing my other plates. I venture to try some, and although it arrived, when ready, to my table with some pomp—it was set aflame tableside.

The novelty of the dish, of fried ice cream in general, wore somewhat thin once I was reminded that the dish's inherit culinary appeal remains far more in the anomaly of its prep and far less so in its taste. The deep-fried frozen custard was listed on the menu without a flavor, which turned out more accurate than they probably would have wish; it was cold and icy on the inside, cardboardish in taste and texture on the outside, and assisted in flavor by neither the decorative drizzles of chocolate and strawberry syrup nor whatever liquor I'm guessing the used to flame the ball.

It turned out to be a rather "small" misstep in an otherwise highly enjoyable midday feast. It hasn't replaced Land as my favorite neighborhood Thai place, but it's only behind in that race by a slim margin.

Bun Apple Tea!


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Tiny Thai | 1558 3rd Ave. (at 87th St.) | 212.828.8188 | On MenuPages