Sun-Thu, noon-2am; Fri-Sat, noon-3am
G at 21st St.; 7 at 74th St.-Broadway; E, F, M, R at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave.
47th Ave. to 31st Ave., 80th St. to 50th St.
This seven-table sliver of space on Roosevelt Avenue may not look special, but it has become New York's destination for Isaan Thai food, the bold and fiery cuisine of Northeastern Thailand. The cuisine is known for, among other things, its salads, and as if trying to drill this point home, Zabb's menu devotes three pages to them. They're uniformly excellent, especially the papaya salad laced with bits of pungent salted crab, and another involving a mess of pork skin and crunchy, chewy rice whose dressing, a combination of fish sauce, lime, and chiles, achieves the perfect balance of sour, salty, and hot. Coconut milk is scarce in Isaan cooking, so it should come as no surprise that the coconut curries on the menu are forgettable. But it is a shock that the coconut-free jungle curry tastes watery—all fire and no flavor. Not to worry; there are plenty of other options, like the homey soy-sauce pork leg: fatty pig braised to ethereal softness and accompanied by Chinese broccoli, lively pickled mustard greens, and a rich, brothy sauce. In fact, there are so many winners that Zabb could give Sripraphai, the celebrated Thai food restaurant nearby, a run for its money.Recommended Dishes
Sliced pork skin and crispy rice salad, $10; green papaya salad with salted crab, $9; soy sauce pork leg, $9