Mon-Thu, 11:30am-3:30pm and 5pm-10:30pm; Fri, 11:30am-3:30pm and 5pm-10:45pm; Sat, 2pm-10:45pm; Sun, 1pm-10pm
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
4th St. to 30th St., FDR Dr. to Eighth Ave.
In a city full of carbon-copy Thai joints, Laut offers a refreshingly memorable respite from tired renditions of pad see ew. There’s little opportunity to order wrong at this Malaysian-Thai-Singaporean refuge, but if you’re having trouble deciding among the pan-Asian menu items, go for a mini-tour of traditional Malaysian dishes: Rendang curry dazzles the tongue with crunchy toasted coconut and flecks of piquant ginger coating velvety strips of beef; sotong goreng, an appetizer of marinated, fried squid, proves to be both impossibly tender and perfectly crispy, its nuttiness punctuated with a chile zing. Despite unusual decorative flourishes (delicately painted vignettes sprout from the exposed-brick wall; mismatched sconces light the room), the ambiance here is decidedly quotidian (blame clunky chairs scraping across a tiled floor). If the surroundings distract, focus on dessert instead: When you’re being treated to a marvel like sweet, sticky rice topped with shredded coconut and plum sugar, nothing else really matters.Recommended Dishes
Rendang curry with beef, $18; Soton Goreng, $9; Bulupinti, $5