Toon Thai Cafe just made it cool to dine grandma-style. That’s right, their early bird special is nothing to scoff at. It has to be one of the better deals in the city – $15 for FOUR courses! Every day from 5-7 pm you can enjoy a Thai salad, your choice of appetizer, dinner and dessert, along with coffee or tea, for just a little more than you’d pay to see a movie in Manhattan.
Saturday night I was exhausted from a late Friday night and an all-day “Brenda years” 90210 pj party in Laura’s apartment with a few others. Don’t be jealous, you can do it too on Saturdays by watching Soapnet from 11 am – 3 pm. Anyway, while my breakfast sandwich was delicious, I was starting to get hungry around 6 pm and caught my roommate before she headed out for the night. I suggested the early bird special that I spotted walking home from work and we decided to give it a go.
The place is small and pretty cute, but nothing extraordinary – dim lighting, small wooden tables, pretty standard. As to be expected, it was relatively empty for a Saturday night at 6:45, so there’s no worry about grabbing a seat in time.
Everyone starts with a Thai salad with peanut sauce which is nothing outstanding, but good nonetheless. For the appetizer you have quite a few options (dumplings, satees, soups), but I went for the Tom Yum soup with chicken. The bowl was huge, not at all what I was expecting, especially when it’s part of such a cheap deal. The soup was tangy and sour and spicy, just as it should be. But it was far too hot (temperature-wise) so I had to wait a good 5-10 minutes before I could eat it.
For your entree you pick your main substance/protein and then the sauce. I had the chicken with the basil-chili sauce and I’d get it again in a heartbeat. Traditional pad thai is not an option, but that’s just fine. My sauce wasn’t too spicy (for those who like spice, definitely ask them to kick it up a notch) or oily. It came with a side of rice shaped in a T and I had enough for leftovers the next day (that probably had something to do with the salad and soup I already ate). My friend got the pork in a sweet and sour sauce. It came with veggies and pineapple and the sauce was delicious, but the pork was mushy. We’re not sure if it was a product of too much sauce or if pork wasn’t the best option for the sauce.
For dessert I had the green tea ice cream – one scoop (which was more than enough after all of this food) and it was good, if you like non-sweet ice cream like this. My friend had the creme caramel which was good too, but maybe a little too sweet for me. As for the coffee/tea option, I had green tea and my friend had jasmine tea. Nothing interesting to report on there.
To top it all off, the service was great. They didn’t rush us out and treated us well (sometimes I find that you don’t get the best service if you go to places for deals). Â I’ll definitely be back, maybe for their lunch special too!
The BasicsName: Toon Thai Cafe Location: 435 Park Avenue South between 29th and 30th Who to bring: Friends, Family, Date Price: Early Bird Special – $. Regular items $-$ Overall: Â Outstanding value – 5 Stars