OBAO’s Thai Makes Welcome Return After Long Post-Hurricane Closure

One of the last lunch spots to open after flooding from hurricane Sandy in the Pearl St./Water St./Coenties Slip area was OBAO at the corner of Water & Coenties. It reopened at about the same time as Zigolini’s and its various offshoots next door, bringing Thai food back to the lowest part of the Financial District.

I was curious if they had changed the interior or menu after the long closure and decided to stop in for lunch. While I would recommend getting your food to go (no air conditioning!), I was pleased with the amount of food I got in my express lunch special, and it was certainly better than the pho.

In order to get out of the steamy shop in a hurry, I ordered the express lunch that comes off a steam table. In addition to the usual suspects of a green chicken curry, basil chicken and panang beef, they also have a couple of daily specials. That day is was prik khing with pork belly, and sriracha chicken. I chose the special sriracha chicken along with the vegetarian duck, tofu and eggplant in garlic sauce for my two-entree lunch ($8.50).

The winner of the two dishes for me was the vegetarian eggplant dish with “duck,” fried tofu chunks, onion and peppers in a peppery, spicy garlic sauce. The chicken suffered from being white meat and also from its sauce which tasted nothing of sriracha, but instead contained the flavor of tomato (and a couple of actual chunks of tomato) along with sliced carrot, onion and red pepper. It was a strange combo that didn’t quite work for me, but perhaps some of you would like it.

OBAO fills a need for Thai food in the bottom part of the FiDi, and it’s nice that they have something for every budget whether it’s the express lunch or the made-to-order noodle or rice dishes that are mostly over the $10 mark.

OBAO, 38 Water St. (at Coenties Slip), (212) 361-6313, on the Web



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