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.
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As soon as Chipotle announced that they would be launching a new Asian fast food concept known as Shophouse, we knew this had to be coming… ML favorite, Pure Thai Shophouse (on 9th btw. 51+52nd) is now calling themselves Pure Thai Cookhouse. A call to the restaurant confirms that Chipotle did indeed set their legal hounds on the Hell’s Kitchen Thai spot forcing them to drop the “Shophouse” moniker. Although it was a sucker punch for this tiny Thai eatery, everything else, including the menu and ownership, is still the same as before.
Photo courtesy of SENY/Ben Fishner
It looks like Serious Eats New York has discovered something that our man Chris H has been saying for months and months… Pure Thai Shophouse (on 9th Ave. btw. 51+52nd) is one of the best (if not THE best) Thai restaurant on 9th Avenue. They especially liked the green papaya salad with salted blue crab.
Chipotle Gearing Up For “ShopHouse” Launch: "Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has registered the name ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, leading an analyst to speculate what the chain has planned for its new fast-casual Asian concept." Wonder how Pure Thai Shophouse feels about that? Probably the same way Kogi felt about Baja Fresh. [NRN via Eater]
Posted at 1:45 pm, February 16th, 2011 | 1 Comment
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Perhaps – but when it comes to Midtown lunches and good Thai food, I say go for the gusto. During my
rave first look of Pure Thai Shophouse, luncher wayne inquired if they served khao soi, and I shared his admiration for the dish (at the time, they were not). However I recently stopped by Pure Thai for lunch, and noticed that they are now serving khao soi as a rotating daily special. Pure Thai has quickly become one of my favorite Thai joints in the city, and khao soi is easily my favorite dish in any Thai repertoire. As it turns out, too much of a good thing, is a great thing.
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Usually 9th ave is out-of-bounds from an ML perspective, and the opening of a new Thai restaurant in this area of town is hardly sensational – in fact, there’s no less than 15 Thai restaurants within a 4 block radius of the newly opened Pure Thai Shophouse. But after reading Grub Street’s opening report, and learning of the pedigree of Chef David Bank, who previously worked under Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the Mercer Kitchen, I decided that this would require an out-of-bounds journey. And boy am I glad I made that trip.
A meander down 9th ave in search of Thai sustenance can be overwhelming. One Thai restaurant might cater to customers who prefer to dine amongst garish bubblegum pink décor, while the next Thai venue offers an exclusive ‘secret’ menu to the knowledgeable few with an old copy of the Zagat guide or access to Yelp.com. All serve the same highly fungible crowd pleasing dishes of pad thai, drunken noodles, and curries in various earth toned colors. However, if you’re ever in doubt as to which Hells Kitchen Thai joint to pick for lunch, I’ll suggest that Pure Thai Shophouse is perhaps the only Thai restaurant worth visiting on 9th ave.