Sun-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight
N, Q, R at 57th St.-Seventh Ave.; F at 57th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
42nd St. to 72nd St., Madison Ave. to Ninth Ave.
Don't head to Topaz Thai looking for anything too authentic or super spicy. What's on offer at is more approachable and less scorching fare—and judging by the crowds that come to this narrow restaurant below street level on a sleepy Midtown block, it's a strategy that pays off. Weekday lunches are often crowded and a little hectic, as groups of shirt-and-ties take advantage of the friendly prices and the something-for-everyone menu. Bangkok Shrimp, large shrimp deep-fried and then partially covered with a smoky-tasting dark-red chili sauce, is a simple, but exuberant dish. Overall the ingredients are fresh, and the sauces taste bright and sharp, with none of gloppiness or dullness that often shows up at some Thai joints around town. Just keep in mind that the food is on the meek side of spicy—even asking for something "Thai spicy" isn't likely to make the heat go up appreciably. If you decide to get an order of rice to accompany your meal, pay the extra dollar or so and get sticky rice. Wrapped in plastic wrap and served in a small straw container, it's sweet and slightly perfumed with coconut milk—easily tasty enough to eat on its own.Recommended Dishes
Sticky rice, $2; Bangkok shrimp, $12.95