22 Thai Redeems Itself After Initial Lunch Fail
It’s not often I have a lunch that makes me angry afterward because I usually don’t spend enough to feel like I’ve been ripped off. I mean, if I get some bad street meat, I’m angry, but I only spent $5 on it. When I shell out almost $10 and the food is crappy, I usually vow never to eat at that place again because there are too many delicious things to eat downtown to waste my stomach space. This was the case when I first tried 22 Thai Cuisine on Maiden Lane (btw. Nassau & Broadway). I went there two days after it opened, mostly because I was so excited to see if the Financial District would finally have some some good Thai food. Thai is one of my favorite genres of food overall and I’ve been fairly disappointed with the couple of places I’ve tried down here, which are either overpriced or generic. Find out what angered me, and what made me want to come back after the jump.
The first time I went, 22 Thai was so new it didn’t really have an ordering system down (or artwork on the walls yet), so there was some confusion. They have a list of lunch items that are either $8 or $9 depending on what protein you get, and comes with “clear chicken soup.” The usual suspects are present: pad thai, curries, fried rice.
I decided to go with the string bean basil with shrimp ($9) which was marked as spicy. What I got was string beans with a few shrimp and a bunch of garlic. No basil, no spice, nothing but those three ingredients. It wasn’t inedible, just not what I ordered, and way too close to a Lean Cuisine meal.
The thing is, every time I walk by there are tons of people either looking at the menu or waiting for their food, so I figured it was worth a second look. And then lunch’er jboogie weighed in and said it was good.
For the second round I got the spicy fresh mint fried rice with chicken ($8), which is about the most exotic thing on the lunch menu. As a note, pretty much everything that’s not on the lunch menu is over $10 unless you want to go meatless. This time, the person taking the order was more with it, asking for my name and putting it into the computer. Things were looking up!
The soup is as advertised with chicken broth, a few chunks of tofu and some greens floating in it, and is not particularly Thai in flavor.
They give you a fair amount of fried rice, about as much as in a standard street meat container. It was pretty good, and actually spicy, with chunks of (sadly, white meat) chicken. It was greasy and junky and delicious. If any of you have eaten here and found something else good, sound off in the comments, especially if you’ve tried something I didn’t mention.
I would maybe eat here again, but it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other Thai places downtown and the soup was pretty weak. If you work nearby it might be worth checking out.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I like Thai food and it’s one of the few places to get it in the FiDi.
- It’s across the street from my office.
- The spicy items are actually spicy.
THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- It’s a little overpriced for what you get.
- The soup that comes with the lunch special is pretty weak.
- I’d rather go to Chinatown for my Thai fix.
22 Thai Cuisine, 22 Maiden Lane (btw. Broadway & Nassau), (212) 766-0988