Super Thai restaurants are very rare in Manhattan. True aficionados know that Queens is now the go to borough for Thai. Not any more. Zabb Elee is here in the East Village.
Down a few steps and you walk into a clean, bright, airy space with a limited number of tables. The waitresses were lovely and the prices very reasonable. The average dish is $9. We started with Som Tum which is papaya salad. The particular one we ordered was thai papaya salad with dried shrimp and peanuts. The menu is divided up into a group of dishes
with a common base. There are 8 types of Yom Tum with various ingredients on the basic papaya salad. If you never had it, Thai Papaya salad, when made well, is a dichotomy of heat from chili and cool from the fruit. The next section we tried was the larb. There is a choice of 8 types of larb which is minced meat salad. The meat is combined with scallion, mint, red onions, chili powder, with a lime dressing.
We had duck. Hmmmmmm. Next we had Kana Moo Korb. Crispy pork with chinese brocoli. It was great. Frankly, I think this is one of those places that you have to do a some exploration of the menu. The food is from northan Thailand near Laos and there is no Pad Thai here. Also, there is a fair amount of heat. If you can't take it they will gladly turn it down for you. Just ask.
I will be back.
75 2nd Ave (between E 5th and 6th Sts)
Mon - Sun 11:30 am - 1 am
212 505 9533