Manhattan’s Lower East side is a hub of all sorts of international cuisines; in fact, I’ve found inspiration for all my posts this semester from this neighborhood. This past week, before catching a movie at one of the neighborhood’s cinemas, some friends and I stopped to get dinner at a truly remarkable Thai restaurant. Thai food has made fairly major inroads into American culture and is far more widely found than some of the other sorts of cuisines I’ve discussed. Sticky Rice, located at 85 Orchard St, just off Delancy St, offers some fairly common Thai fare as well as several signature items in a very unique atmosphere and at a very reasonable price point.
The menu offers a fairly common selection of Thai dishes including several soups, stir-fry, Pad-Thai, and satay. Our party decided to try several appetizers including a signature dish they called Firecrackers, a sort of chicken stick with a coating of fried tofu somewhat spiced and with dipping sauce. Despite the name, this dish was not terribly spicy, which was no cause for dissatisfaction for me. Additionally we ordered Thai Dumplings, which were stuffed with a mixture of chicken and pork, came with a dipping sauce, and were extremely flavorful. My favorite appetizer, however, was the Pineapple Pork Satay, which is (unsurprisingly) a sort of grilled pork with some flavoring accompanied by pineapple slices and a sauce. The pork was well cooked and quite flavorful, and the combination of sweet and savory very pleasing. For entrees our group ordered only stir-fry dishes; I myself got the Stir-Fry Basil Chicken, which included a mixture of chicken and vegetables with basil as the primary flavoring, and multi-grain rice. I was quite satisfied with this dish as it was fairly light and the basil was far from overpowering.
In terms of food the restaurant was quite pleasing, particularly considering the price point–our entrees and appetizers came to a mere $20 a person, an impressive accomplishment for a sit down restaurant in Manhattan. The wait staff was very friendly and the atmosphere was really remarkable. The restaurant is aimed to be something along the lines of a Thai Wine Bar and so has a bar area and a very large drink menu. The entire restaurant has a sort of pseudo-club atmosphere: they play somewhat loud but not deafening electronic trance music and the extensive decoration is a mixture between traditional Thai items and modern ones. Personally, I loved this environment; it was festive, lively, and visually stimulating. I recommend paying the place a visit, even for just a drink, if one is in the area.