Pure Thai Has New Name But Still Great Food
We haven’t check in with Pure Thai (the winner of ML’s Reader’s Poll last year for Best Thai) since they were forced to change their name from Pure Thai Shophouse to Pure Thai Cookhouse. It’s been a favorite of Chris H.’s for a while now and I decided it was finally time to make the pilgrimage to Ninth Avenue for myself. I came with a few friends so we were able to order more food and stay within our budgets. We started with two appetizers – both on their own are within ML price limit, but neither are large enough for a full meal.
The steamed vegetable dumplings were dramatically green with a ground up mixture of peanuts, tofu, spinach, and garlic inside. The ingredients were all ground together so it was hard to really pick out individual flavors of textures. But with a dip into the sweet hoisin-like ginger soy sauce, they were delicious. A little tough to keep from falling apart, but the tender skins and the earthy mixture worked wonders.
I also really enjoyed the green papaya salad which had a serious level of heat with some cooling sweetness from the crisp papaya shards and a chewy texture from bits of dried shrimp. We also love the Ratchaburi Crab and Pork dish with handmade egg noodles and scallions. Chris raved about it and that’s why I ordered it. I’m so glad I did because the springy noodles had a nice sweet/tart balance and the meat was all fresh and tender.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed with the Wok Stir-Fried Beef with Chili Turmeric. The waitress asked me if I wanted it spicy and so I gave my default answer of “medium.” That might have been a mistaked because it ended up without much flavor. It had a slight creeping heat, but nothing to warrant three (spice) stars on the menu. The asparagus and green beans were fresh and provided texture, but the beef was a little tough and chewy. Even the promising sauce of turmeric and chilies lacked an acidity and flavorful punch.
But the rest of our meal was quite memorable. While I didn’t love everything we tried, I tend to concur with the masses and felt that the quality and depth of flavors here far surpasses most of the other Thai food I’ve had in Midtown.
Pure Thai Cookhouse, 766 9th Ave (btw 51+52nd), 212-581-0999