Flatiron Lunch: Pongsri is Not the Best or the Worst Thai

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

Pongsri already has history with ML. Zach reviewed two noodle (pad Thai and pad see ew) dishes at the the midtown west branch 5 years ago. I decided to hit up the Flatiron location on 23 btw. 6+7th and try some of the other parts of the menu.

When placing my order, the penang and massaman curries were recommended. (Menu link here.) They are two of my Thai favorites, so I was happy about that. Then, she asked me if I liked spicy, which I do, so she suggested the jungle curry as the most spicy dish. Knowing I was already planning to get the pad gra-prow (aka Thai basil) (spicy), I reasoned it wouldn’t be wise to get a spicy and super spicy dish. Even I have my limits…at times.

I was definitely curious about the half roasted chicken ($7.95), but worried it would be a boring roasted chicken. When picking up my order (which happens in the back of the restaurant in a large area set up for take-out and delivery), I asked the woman running the take-out counter about it, and she said “I love it. Seriously.” (Lunch’ers, have any of you tried it?)

I was kinda glad I skipped the jungle curry, because the beef pad gra-prow ($6.95) was legit spicy. I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the portions, especially since Pongsri’s lunch specials don’t come with the token appetizer so many lunch specials throw in. Overall, since the flavors and spice were great, I wasn’t too bummed.

For the massaman curry, I picked chicken ($6.95). Despite the appearance of chili flakes in the sauce, the curry was sweet, and not really spicy at all.

Even with the curry sauce and potatoes as filler, the massaman curry was way more filling than the pad gra-prow (although, I happened to like the taste of the pad gra-prow more).

This is also a better deal considering the take-out container was over-flowing.

I think Zach got it basically right with “You could do a lot better… but you could also do much much worse.” I would do better by going to Jaiya, but for $6.95, there isn’t much to complain about.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • $6.95 is pretty inexpensive for lunch.
  • Actually spicy.
  • The lady taking to-go orders is pretty animated and friendly.

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • Measly portions.
  • Where is my appetizer??
  • There is better Thai food in Flatiron.

Pongsri, 165 West 23rd Street, btwn 6th and 7th Avenues, (212) 645-8808


  • It’s serviceable Thai. We ate there occasionally when I worked in the Flatiron district. The only dish that ever blew me away was the Noodle Pra-Ram, which is a peanut curry. If you like peanuts as much as I do, definitely give it a shot. It’s like eating the best combination ever of peanut butter, red curry, and pad thai.

  • Pongsri is meh at best. Regional Thai on 7th/22nd is probably a better bet. And I’d recommend M-Thai, a recent (personal) discovery a bit further west, 8th at 22nd. Good variety of lunch specials, with appetizer, all under $10. And if you wanna splurge, their Thai chicken wings are awesome! Sweet tamarind spiy sauce.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    pad gra pow doesnt use bell peppers. ugh

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.