By: Stella Sitt
Yesterday Terah and I ventured up to Up Thai (get it?) for the second time together. Up Thai is located on Second Avenue between 73rd and 74th Street in the Upper East Side. And now…without further ado, let’s get down to the nomz!
Upon walking into Up Thai, you are greeted with a cement wall engraved with Thai writing on it. The interior is nicely decorated – adorned with wooden accents, greenery, and beautifully strung lanterns with an array of colors. The lanterns themselves cast shadows on the walls during the night (I’ve been here for dinner), which creates a very relaxing and wonderful ambiance. That being said, the design alone was very welcoming, and the lanterns put me in calm, relaxing mood. There was ample seating since we arrived early, and they do take reservations if you’re coming as a group.
The lunch special (from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM on weekdays) is a great deal for Manhattan standards – for $11, you can choose a soup/salad, small appetizer, and an entrée. We arrived right when it opened – mouthwatering and hungry. Once the restaurant opened, the waiter promptly seated us with a smile. We started out with drinks. Terah ordered the usual Thai Iced Tea ($3.50), whereas, I was feeling a little more adventurous this time with a Lychee Thai Iced Tea ($4.50). Terah described the Thai Iced Tea as smooth, creamy, just the right amount of sweetness. My Lychee Thai Iced Tea came with two lychees, and no milk was added. It was very refreshing for the hot day (close to 80 degrees in the concrete jungle), although I found it a bit too sweet for my taste. Terah had a taste, and agreed, but since I haven’t seen this drink at many other Thai restaurants, it’s a must try and you’ll love it if you have a sweet tooth. The drinks came in cute little Mason jars, which is always an added bonus for someone like me who is a sucker for cute canning jars.
We both started with a salad with Ginger dressing, which hit the spot. Ginger dressing is one of our favorites! This was followed by the small appetizer we each ordered. Terah opted for the steamed pork dumplings and I ordered the spring roll. Terah described the pork dumplings as cooked perfectly; a good portion and she liked how compact they were. The sauce that accompanied her dumplings was the perfect amount of zest for her taste buds. The spring roll I ordered was filled with pork and vegetables, and crunchy, and fried to perfection without overdoing it.
For the main entrees, I ordered the usual Chicken Pad See Ew. The portion was good, and the wide noodles and chicken were scrumptious. The right amount of soy sauce was used and the broccoli was cooked just right. I’ve been to Thai places where the broccoli is often undercooked and hard. I also liked how the dish was not too oily, which is a major turn off because my stomach does not deal well with excess oil. My foodie in crime, ordered a much more interesting dish – the Moo Dang (I’ve heard that Pad See Ew is Americanized Thai). Terah commented that the pork belly was perfectly crispy, the sauce was the right kind of sweet and sticky, and the Chinese sausage had a little spice to it and reminded her of pepperoni (in a good way).
Overall, the food was extremely flavorful, and we look forward to coming back again! I would give it a 4.5 stars, based on the food, service, prices, location, the fact they accept most major credit cards, and the décor. Compared to other Thai restaurants I’ve tried (and that is many, since I love Thai food), this definitely ranks up there.