Thursday, May 31, 2012

Zabb Elee

Occasionally, Mr. M&P and I go on double dates with Mr. HP Sauce and Mrs. Green M&M. We always opt for cheap eats and Asian usually becomes the cuisine of choice. We picked Thai this time and I set my eyes on Zabb Elee. I've heard many good things about this authentic Thai restaurant and quickly suggested it.

Most of the menu is family style and great for sharing. They all dubbed me in charge of choosing the dishes. So I did my best to pick a wide variety of things to try. First up, the Nuer Kem Tod ($9) which was marinated salted fried beef with chili sauce. These strips of beef were really flavorful and everyone loved them. I think they were a favorite amongst everyone. They boasted lots of salty and sweet flavors and the texture was crispy from the frying.
The Moo Larb ($9) is ground pork stir fried with shallots, mint, scallions, cilantro, chili, and lime. The result is something really tangy and refreshing even though it's meat based. This would be great on a warm summer day.
The Pukk Boong Fai Dong ($11) is stir fried morning glory with fresh chili. There is another version with pork belly (same price) but we wanted just the vegetables. It tasted great. Lots of flavor and the sauce underneath was delicious. Savory, spicy, tangy. So many flavor profiles.
The Larb Kra Krob ($11) was a specialty of the house. The meat of a whole tilapia was removed and fried up with chili, lime, mint, cilantro, and shallot. The flavor was great, the texture not so much. It was too dry. I think they overfried it. It became difficult to eat at times but I enjoyed the flavor enough to keep picking at it. If it were fried perfectly, it would be utterly addicting with all those Thai flavors swimming about. Again, salt, spicy, tangy, sweet.
The Kai Yang ($9) was grilled marinated chicken with chili sauces on the side. This dish was the least favorite. The chicken was overcooked and dry. It lacked flavor like the other dishes. We actually had issues finished this. We eventually gave up and let the waiter take it away.
I was full at this point but my friends wanted more. They looked at the menu again and picked more of the grilled meats like the Moo Nam Tok ($9 - not pictured). They really enjoyed the flavors of those meats.

Overall, Zabb Elee was really good. What was even better was the price. It's really affordable and you get a lot of food. The flavors were delicious. My mouth was so happy with the (again) sweet, sour, spicy, salty flavors. The wait staff was attentive and very friendly. The space is small but I never felt cramped. One thing I'd like to note is that the rice comes as a side ($1 for small; $3 for large). The large doesn't serve many people. Maybe 2. So we ordered at least 3 bowls that night. That's $9. That's a lot of money for just white rice in my opinion. But, I guess they have to make up the money somewhere.

In summary, yeah, I'd totally go back for more (even with some not so great dishes)!

Zabb Elee
75 2nd Avenue
New York, 10003
(212) 505-9533

1 comment:

  1. wow, we ordered pretty much the same things when we went. although we did get the pork belly with the morning glory, haha.

    they don't mute the heat too, spicy stuff!

    it was really good. gotta go back soon.


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