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Fiery Thai for a Chilly Night: Zabb Elee

October 16, 2011

Once upon a time I thought I could handle spicy.  I really did, especially after all those nights of takeouts from Szechuan Gourmet.  But Zabb Elee in East Village really tested my boundaries for spicy as I found out recently.

RH and I started the meal with a papaya salad with crab and pickled fish (Zabb Elee offers 7 versions of this salad, something for everyone).  While it may sound like a starter, this is by no means an appetizer portion for one.  The bowl was practically the size of my face – and that is no small plate!  Unlike some of the papaya salads that I have had before, this one was drenched with chili lime dressing while maintaining a refreshing crisp.

For the main, we shared a plate of Pad Ped Moo Korb and sauteed morning glory.  The Pad Ped Moo Korb was a lovely mesh of crispy pork and Thai eggplant with basil and ginger.  The pork pieces were addictingly crunchy and sweet but packed with a punch of heat.  We thought the sauteed morning glory was going to offer a cooling touch but boy were we wrong!  This dish was just as heated as the previous two.  I quickly guzzled down my thai ice tea and even when I was done with that and the rice, I couldn’t help but punishing my mouth by returning to pick at what was left on the plates.

The best part about this fiery meal was that it was definitely more than friendly for the wallet.  Zabb Elee is certainly different than all the Thai restaurants overcrowding Hell’s Kitchen and that alone was intriguing enough for me to come back again to try some of the other probably equally spicy dishes on the menu.

As we all know, the best way to tame a burning mouth is to tame it with sweets.  Of course, we ended the night with a visit to the nearby Momofuku Milk Bar for a slice of crack pie for RH and a compost cookie for me.  It was my first time visiting the new location across the street – quite crowded as always.

Zabb Elee | 75 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 | http://www.zabbelee.com

Momofuku Milk Bar | 251 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10003 | http://www.momofuku.com/restaurants/milk-bar/

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