(Photo credit: New York Magazine)
People always ask me if I have recommendations for curry restaurants in New York. I really should be more up-to-speed on this topic. Like most people, I certainly have my favorite places for take-out or a quick lunch — Pongsri Thai in midtown and Chinatown, Sala Thai on the Upper East Side — but I rarely go out for a curry dinner (possibly because I make so much of it at home.)
But recently, due to a troubling kaffir lime shortage at my favorite Chinatown grocery store, I’ve been sadly living in a curry-free zone. My supplies of homemade red curry paste and green curry paste that I keep in the freezer are depleted. With options limited, I had to strike out on my own Saturday night.
Happily, there’s a new Southeast Asian restaurant nearby in the West Village that looked sufficiently New York-chic enough to merit a visit … Betel, on Grove Street (pictured above), has a delicious-looking menu that did not disappoint. We tried its namesake dish, chicken betel leaf with roasted shallot and eggplant relish, with a hint of lemongrass, which is meant to be roled and eaten. Yum. After that we tried a special entree, spicy southern curry of swordfish with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf (found them!) and snow peas. The latter was so hot that the wait staff smartly brought out slices of chilled cucumber, which we could use to counter the heat.
For dessert, we tried the pumpkin custard, a version of which I made in Thai cooking school. It was a sweet way to end a hot and spicy evening. And happily, I now have a fab recommendation for curry dining in the city.