Putting Newly Open A+ Thai To The Test
I’ll admit when I walked by A+ Thai’s newspaper-covered windows a few weeks ago, I was surprised. Could it be? Another Thai place? I’ve had my share of under $10 Thai lunch specials (almost all are on 9th Avenue) and while most are reliable if you’re just looking for curry or cheap noodles, there’s no place I’d walk farther than three blocks for – especially on the East Side. So what’s a girl with a Thai craving and great expectations to do? Go hungry, that’s what. Then walk one avenue out of bounds and order the “I Love Pad Thai” and Mega Balls at Midtown’s newest Thai.
Check out the goods after the jump…
A+ Thai offers two lunch specials. Get the entree for $7.95 or throw in another two bucks for an appetizer and soda. I chose Option 2 and started with the awesome-sounding Mega Ball dumplings, which come steamed or fried. When I have a choice, I prefer my food fried, but Peter the Owner said he liked these particular dumplings steamed. What was I going to do? Tell the man he’s wrong? I almost did, but figured he probably knows his products better than I do so I asked for steamed Mega Balls.
Peter recommended the spicy Green Papaya Salad too. It sounded interesting – and tropical – so I made a mental note to get that next time (if there is a next time…).
The Mega Balls came out quickly and, well, let’s just say they weren’t as big as I hoped. They were shumai, basically – steamed shrimp and chicken shumai sprinkled with crunchy garlic. They were decent dumplings and were extra decent when dipped in the black bean vinaigrette that comes with it. I don’t think I’d like the Mega Ball shumai without the sauce though.
The dumplings were just the opening act. Appetizers don’t make or break a meal, but the main course can so I was on the edge of my seat for the entree. I love Pad Thai and, to be honest, I haven’t been excited about the classic Thai noodles anywhere in Midtown East. I’m freakin’ Goldilocks when it comes to Pad Thai – this sauce is too sweet, that meat’s too dry, and so on. I’ll finish what’s on my plate, but what I really want is Pad Thai that’s “just right”.
The plate came out with what looked like a mountain of noodles, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts (thankfully on the side), and a fat piece of lime.
The Pad Thai noodles were long, squiggly and – for lack of a better description – “al dente”…for Asian noodles, that is. No overly chewy or limp noodles here. I also found that the sauce walked the fine line between salty and sweet. If you love the Pad Thai they serve at Little Thai Kitchen (53rd St btw 2nd+3rd), the Pad Thai at A+ may not be sweet or soft enough for you. But if you’re looking for Pad Thai with a little give when you’re tugging them out of the noodle mountain, then this place might just hit the spot.
While I would recommend the Pad Thai, I’m curious to see how the rest of the lunch menu compares to other Thai places east of Lexington. Can other Thai food lovers weigh in on A+ or recommend their favorite East Side Thai? Put your thoughts in the comments…
A+ Thai Place, 1007 2nd Ave (btw. 53rd+54th), 212 207-8008