You Might Want to Think Twice About Waiting in Line for Tuk-Tuk Boy
Our fearless leader, Zach Brooks, as well as several profiled Midtown Lunch’ers have publicly expressed how great it would for a Thai cart or food truck to make their presence in Midtown. You see, Thai restaurants are oddly absent from Midtown proper. Sure, 8th and 9th Avenue are practically glutted with Thai restaurants that range from acceptable to awesome, and there’s a handful of serviceable Thai restaurants on the east side, mostly clustered around the lower 50′th streets at 2nd and 3rd avenue – certainly a stretch for the lunch’ers located in central Midtown. Even after
10 minutes of tooling around on Yelp extensive research, I couldn’t locate any Thai restaurants remotely close to Midtown central aside from the laughably bad Thai at Dee Daa and overpriced and underwhelming Thai at Nanking.
This lack of affordable Thai food is why we got so excited when we saw that a new Thai food cart, called Tuk-Tuk Boy, appeared on 50th between 6th & 7th this week. And clearly we weren’t the only ones. For the second day in the row the line was 20 people deep for most of lunch yesterday, and we heard that the cart ran out of most items shortly after 1pm.
For now, the cart serves a very limited menu. Spring rolls for $3, chicken pad thai for $6, red curry with chicken for $6 (already sold out on my visit) and Thai style chicken over rice with salad for $6. I share Zach’s view on the pad thai cognition theory, a Thai restaurant can and should be judged on the quality of their pad thai. This dish of savory noodles, in practice, is both crowd pleasing but also showcases the sophistication of flavors that embodies Thai cuisine – the perfect balance of sour, salt, spice, bitter and the intangible depth of flavors from the addition of peanut oil, fish sauce (nam pla), tamarind paste, cilantro and garlic.
Unfortunately, my order of pad thai did little to inspire confidence, or justify any sort of wait. I found it incredibly dry and in dire need of more of almost every ingredient described above. It was also texturally gummy and monotonous, as they seriously skimped on the scallions and bean sprouts. And the chicken was overcooked to a sad, sandpaper-y demise. On a positive note, I was satisfied with the portion size for my $6.
Granted, these guys are brand new and clearly still in the learning process, and I enjoy writing negative comments as much as I enjoyed that pad thai. I’m anxious to give them another try after they’ve matured a bit and gained more experience with their operations and flavors. But in the meantime, the close proximity to Thai food perhaps may not eclipse the shortcomings in their offerings.