792 9th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets
$52 for two, BYOB, without tip, cash only
I never make it to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood but before a My Morning Jacket concert at Roseland Ballroom, we wanted to eat dinner. Wondee Siam came recommended from an out-of-towner. Forgive me for being cynical, but I usually would not take a recommendation from a tourist, especially for Thai food. But I stand corrected. Not only did Wondee Siam offer traditional Thai food, it also offered the good kind. So what if he got the advice from Zagat’s?
When we were ordering our meals, I told the waiter I wanted duck so I asked for his opinion between two dishes that had roasted duck in it: Yum Ped Yang and Duck Ka Prow. He said he likes the Yum Ped Yang one (or so I thought) so I nodded to order that. When it was time to eat, he brought both dishes to us. When I told him I only picked one, he apologized but left them on the table. When we realized he was not going to take the other plate away from us and from our bill, we just asked him to pack it for us to take home. Some battles should be left untouched especially if the Yum Ped Yang with slivers of green apples and cubes of pineapples was really good.
The duck wasn’t roasted, it was deep-fried, and it tasted more like bacon than it did duck. (It looked like bacon, too!) But I was all over the fresh combination of the chili pepper, lime juice and cashew nuts that I didn’t really care if it wasn’t the dish I ordered. The duck Ka Prow tasted familiar because I cook it at least once a month with chicken. Fresh basil is always a nice touch with sweet soy sauce even though the menu listed it as oyster sauce.
The mixed seafood roll was like a deep-fried version of shumai and was served with that sweet orange dip Chinese restaurants call duck sauce. The menu listed it as plum sauce which I thought has a darker color. I barely tasted the crab which is featured as the main ingredient but it was still a pretty good appetizer. The chicken was good, too, drowning in all the sauce which makes your mouth numb in a good way.
We had a good meal at Wondee Siam because their selection was also better than Pongsri’s downtown, so I’ll give them two stars even though what we ended up eating were not exactly what we initially wanted.
Make your own Ka Prow