Ruay Thai

As I tipped back a Singha beer (they didn’t have Chang, as MDP pointed out), I noted the ambient music playing at Ruay Thai. It was Top 40s singles from about a year ago. Just like what they play at Yum Yum Queens. And at just about every other Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to. An interesting trend.

Ruay Thai is pretty good. It’s small and easy to miss, but located just across the street from the sprawling Armenian church where one of my good friends recently got married. You certainly can’t miss that, so consider it your landmark.

ruay thai tofu fries

tofu fries

I hummed along to “Somebody That I Used To Know” as we chowed down on tofu fries and curry puffs for our appetizers. The tofu fries were stacked like Jenga pieces on a medium-sized square plate. The sauce that accompanied them was sticky and sweet, and perfectly complemented the blank-canvas fried tofu pieces. I also enjoyed the curry puffs, which were soft, flaky and deliciously filled.

The whole reason why we went to Ruay Thai, which, being located on Second Avenue, is somewhat of a hike from our respective work places, was because they have drunken noodles on their menu. So, of course, I ordered it. Fresh wide-cut noodles were mixed with Thai basil, chili, onions and bell peppers to form a fantastic, spicy dish.

My Dining Partner (MDP) ordered the red curry with chicken, which was equally spicy as the drunken noodles. The curry itself was perfect. It reminded me of Yum Yum Queens’ rendition, except it had a certain kick that I liked.

His stomach was burning after dinner–a good sign, I assure you–so we headed down to the Shake Shack for chocolate custard. They do have desserts at Ruay Thai, but I didn’t want any of them.

If you’re in the neighborhood, try Ruay Thai. I noticed another Thai restaurant on the same block, but I don’t think they have drunken noodles. And, if you don’t want Thai but need nourishment after a long church service, do try Baby Bo’s, which is right next to Ruay Thai, for some top notch Mexican fare.

Ruay Thai

625 Second Avenue, between 34th and 35th streets

Midtown East, New York

Take the 6 to 33rd Street. Walk east a few blocks then north on Second Avenue.

 

Topaz Thai Restaurant

I love Thai food, don’t you? It’s so nice to live in New York and have a panoply of Thai restaurants to choose from. Last night, MDP and I went to Topaz, an old favorite located past Carnegie Hall on 56th Street.

topaz curry puffs

curry puffs

Just take a few steps down from street level and you enter a world of delicious food. Topaz seats about 40 people, give or take a few, and is often bustling with guests, many of whom seem to be tourists. But don’t mistake Topaz for a tourist trap, no. This isn’t like Guy Fieri’s new restaurant or “the world’s largest Applebee’s” over on 50th and 7th.

No, Topaz is a real treat. I called ahead for a reservation, and upon arriving, was greeted as “Miss Nicole” and was promptly seated.

We ordered the curry puffs for an appetizer, and though they took a long time to get to us, they were well worth the wait. The crispy, flaky exterior belied a perfectly spiced, soft inside. They were on the small side–much smaller than Yum Yum’s, for example, but Topaz offered three (to Yum Yum’s two), so all was well.

For an entree, I opted for the Drunken Noodles, possibly my favorite Thai dish. Rife with julienned carrots, Chinese broccoli and flat, wide noodles that perfectly absorb the dish’s juices, Drunken Noodles warned to be on the spicy side (indicated by a small chili pepper beside its name on the menu). I ordered it anyway–and paid the price this morning–but it was quite delicious. I can’t tell you if this is Topaz’s best noodle dish, as it’s the only one I ever order because it’s just that good.

topaz drunken noodles

drunken noodles

MDP got the Lovely in the Golden Nest, which is a rather ornate way of saying “chicken with cashew nuts on a bed of crispy Chinese noodles.” The noodles form the eponymous nest, and the cashew chicken lays atop them. This was on the sweet side, and tinged with a flavor of celery (which I don’t care for in this dish, but it’s always there. Such is life). MDP must have enjoyed it since he didn’t leave anything–not even a fragment of a Chinese noodle–to spare.

All in all, Topaz is quite good, especially for its neighborhood filled with crappy diners and fast food fare.

Topaz

127 West 56th Street between 6th and 7th avenues

Midtown West, New York

Take the N/Q/R to 57th-7th and walk south one block, then west on 56th Street.