This venue is closed.
Run by a friendly family from Bangkok, Tara Thai is a bastion of calm in an occasionally rowdy East Village block. Though the place gets crowded very quickly with only 20 seats, the smiling service and decorative flourishes—like the shadow-puppets on the walls—keep the mood pleasant even in the midst of a hectic late-night rush. The dishes don't rewrite the rules of Thai food, but they're good and relatively inexpensive. Among the better ones is Panang Kai, sauteed chicken strips resting in a delicate sauce of coconut milk, red curry paste, and kaffir lime leaves. Another favorite with regulars is the Nua Pad Bai Krapaw, beef strips with basil leaves, garlic and chili pepper—flavorful and with more heat than most of the other somewhat tame dishes, though the beef is sometimes more chewy than tender. The sticky-rice desserts are wonderful—deceptively simple arrangements of rice prepared with sugar, salt and coconut milk that prove that, as with Tara Thai itself, the sum is often greater than its parts.Recommended Dishes
Chicken Panang kai, $9.75; beef nua pad bai krapaw, $9.95; sticky rice with Thai custard, $3.95
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