Bennie’s May Be The FiDi’s Best Bet For Thai
It’s tough working in the Financial District when all you want for lunch is some Thai food that doesn’t leave you broke or hungry two hours later. Sure, there might be some good places in Chinatown, but sometimes delivery or taking a subway lunch is not in the cards. The lunch menu at Bennie’s Thai Cafe on Fulton St. (at Gold) is promising and cheap at $5.95 to $7.95 for your choice of meaty entree and some rice. And it may come from a steam table somewhere in the back, but at least if it is you can pretend it was made fresh for you in two minutes.
Bennie’s is an interesting place. You have to walk down stairs to get to it, and the inside looks like a lodge/basement, but I’d have to say it’s classier than I was expecting. The lunch special is nice because everything is between $5.95 and $7.95 and it offers more interesting options than you normally find, as in there is no pad Thai to be found (and no vegetarian option either, FYI). There are curries, roast pork and duck over rice and what I ordered, pork with red curry ($5.95).
Some may complain that you don’t get anything extra with the special, but I’m OK with that because the soup you get usually sucks anyway. Instead, you get a pretty sizeable mound of rice and the other half of the plate is filled with the protein of your choice. This was not the best cut of pork you could want, but it fit the bill, and the sauce was actually spicy, as advertised. I could have used a few more green beans to balance out the meat to vegetable ratio (which I know makes me a weirdo), but for $5.95 I’ll take it.
Based on the other Thai places I’ve tried down here (22 Thai Cuisine, Lemongrass Grill, Cafe Sage), this is the best I’ve had so far. Now if only a branch of say, Pongsri or Pam Real Thai would open up down here, I would definitely welcome it with open arms.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- A $5.95 lunch special is pretty good for the FiDi.
- The food comes out quickly and there’s no direct evidence it came from a steam table.
THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The lunch special doesn’t come with anything extra, and I want some free soup!
- They try to rush you out the door a little bit if you eat in.
Bennie’s Thai Cafe, 88 Fulton St. (at Gold), (212) 587-8930 or 8935