– Photo Credit: Evan Sung
Interested in the mixings of flavors and fancy Asian eats?
With a slew of talented NYC chefs taking the age-old cuisine back to its roots, we can be sure to never order that same Pad Thai again.
With more emphasis on sustainable farming, down-to-earth experiences, award-winning chefs and authentic dishes with a modern influence — this list of Best New Asian Restaurants in NYC is definitely worth your attention.
“As a kid growing up in New York, I can remember when there were only a handful of Asian restaurants outside of small ethnic enclaves. In the ’60s, we always spent our Sunday nights at Richard Mei’s King Dragon on 73rd Street and Third Avenue and had a weekly meal at Bo Bo’s in Chinatown. When Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan opened on the Upper East Side in the mid-’70s, the whole scene seemed to change almost overnight. These days, the number of options is overwhelming.” – Andrew Zimmern
1. Uncle Boons
Photo Credit: Evan Sung
Why: It’s time for Thai food to be re-invented, or let’s say, taken back to its roots. Following Pok Pok, my other favorite Northern Thai restaurant in Brooklyn, Uncle Boons is quickly becoming the go-to for authentic thai cuisine that goes beyond the Kee mao. A venture started by a husband-wife team, who have first-hand experience growing up in a family of cooks in Thailand, and, being former chefs at Per Se, they know how to make your mouth salivate and churn out some pretty amaaazing dishes. Tucked in a quiet street in Nolita, in a basement shop, decor filled with nostalgic knick knacks of Thailand life, Uncle Boons deserves all the hype it gets. The usual wait is about an hour, you know the drill, put your name and walk around or grab a drink or two at nearby Mother’s Ruin.
What: Betel Leaf Wrap, Khao Soi, Crab Fried Rice
Why: Creating a fusion and interpretive style of Chinese-American food, helmed by Chef Jonathan Wu, another transport from Per se. (we are seeing a trend here with Per se and Asian restaurant emergences). The food is spunky, bold, the space is modern minus any cultural references – yes, there are no red lanterns.
What: Duck stuffed Dates, Crepe Roll with Braised Beef, Dumpling Knots with Sichuan Pork, Sweet Potato Rice Cakes
Photo Credit: Khe-yo
Why: Laotian inspired cuisine with familiarities from other Southeast Asian cuisine in TriBeCa. Chef Soulayphet Schwader, a Laotian native is behind Khe-Yo to recreate the dishes that his mother made at home. Partnering with Marc Forgione, an Iron Chef and seasoned restauranteur, have created the space that is warm and dishes with the flavor combinations of sweet and salty with a meat-centric menu.
What: Crunchy Coconut Rice, Grilled Quail, Beef Pho on Sundays
Why: Named as one of the best restaurants of 2013 and it’s also the sister restaurant of Danji in Hell’s Kitchen. Located in Flatiron, the restaurant was inspired by the ‘joomak,’ an old Korean tavern that offered weary travellers good food, drinks and a place to rest. Seoul-born Chef Hooni Kim’s, with years of experience in Daniel and Masa, has tried to recreate the scene of Seoul’s street-food, in a modern space decked out with Edison bulbs and contemporary furniture.
What: Cod Roe Stew, Fried Chicken, Fresh Killed Chicken Skewers
Why: Spunky and Kinky, a Japanese Izakaya in East Village. Expect the unexpected here, naked mannequins, war posters, Images of disturbing sex scenes and loud music. Anything goes. You sit in a stool that is about 20 inches tall and the food is bold, along with all the regular izakaya fare. Beer is cheap and the place is crowded. You can spot the restaurant with the hordes of people waiting at the entrance enjoying a free Cotton Candy.
What: Yakitori, Yakisoba, Bull’s Penis (hmm, why not?) and Fried Frogs.
6. Benkei Ramen
Why: A Ramen pop-up shop that is open from 12am – 4am. Moonlighting in the original sushi joint Ushiwakamaru, this is a place for the slightly-tipsy-late-night crowd, that is either very noisy or very friendly. Each day brings out different characters to this joint, but what’s standard here is the ramen, and that is pretty top-notch.
What: Chicken Karaage, Gyoza and Spicy Shoyu Ramen
Why: A casual Japanese Pub in the busy Macdougal area. Best for Sake and pub-fare. The Amazing Chicken Wings that is presented beautifully in a couple of bamboo skewers. No mess. No fuss.
What: Chicken Wings, Avocado Tofu, Fried Wakame Seaweed
8. Kin Shop
Photo Credit: Kin Shop
Why: Started by the restaurant owners of Perilla, which is in the same block as Kin Shop, Chef Harold Dieterle (you may know him from the Bravo Top Chef series) and Alicia Nosenzo are the co-owners of Kin Shop, a small but cute and contemporary thai restaurant. Reinterpreting traditional dishes, along with a focus on modern palates and newer techniques are why Kin Shop is in this list. Expect a mix of western elements like New England Lobsters and yellow curry. Also, the Cocktails here are always a hit!
What: Duck Laab Salad, Pan Roasted Salmon, Nam Priks
9. Red Farm
Photo Credit: Red Farm
Why: A farm-style Chinese restaurant and with a Hong Kong dim-sum chef Joe Ng, you can expect to gobble down tasty morsels of meat packed in pillow-y dumplings. Housed in a West Village townhouse, it is an adorable space to enjoy with your friends. They don’t take reservations but you can wait at their own bar in the ground floor.
What: Bacon Fried Rice, Pacman Dumplings, House made XO sauce.