Meet Pichet Ong’s Impossible to Pronounce Cocktail, the Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit

The Krungthep

Yes, this cocktail is for real, and it’s a delicious (and cheap!) one at that.

The Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit — known as the “Krungthep” for short — could even be considered the house cocktail at Qi, Pinchet Ong’s pristine new temple to Bangkok-style Thai, as that string of indecipherable words is a name for Old Bangkok, more than one server confirmed.

While sheer audacity of the name is what caught my attention — (“Really, five lines for the name of a cocktail in a bar menu? Is this some sort of gimmick?”) — in actuality, the Krungthep is a lovely cocktail composed of gin, vodka, star anise, ginger, yuzu, lime, Thai iced tea and guava juice. It’s fruit-forward without being too sweet, complex without being pretentious. When the heat of the spicy beef mango salad flared up, a sip of the Krungthep would set things right. Likewise, this cocktail has the backbone to withstand any heat it may receive for its name. (e.g. “Couldn’t it just be called “The Krungthep” from the start?“)

Qi Bangkok Eatery, 675 Eighth Ave., btwn 42nd and 43rd sts., 212-247-8991.

Advertisements

Thursday: Móle, Móle, Móle! (aka the “Margarita/Guacamole/Carnitas Nirvana” Post)

This is how I remember Mexican food: The margaritas are strong but balanced, easy on the sweet and sour; the guacamole fresh and vibrant, with a heat that sneaks up on you; the carnitas tender, glistening and … [insert guttural noises] excellent.

photo-5

Carnitas is my barometer. More precisely, the crispy carnitas as I remember it from Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego is my barometer: Pulls-apart-with-your-fork hunks o’ pork, browned and crispy on the edges, accompanied by a basket of hot, just-made tortillas (a couple of women make fresh tortillas all day long in a kitchen with large, street-facing windows), and a plate of simple, fresh, DIY taco fillings: sliced onion and tomato, avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges. (For photo, see here.)

When in doubt, just order the carnitas. And that’s exactly what I did at Móle, the utterly charming, seats 25ish Mexican restaurant in the Lower East Side that I’d previously blown off because of the sort of obtuse neon sign they’ve hung out front.

After a lovely, bubbly happy hour at the Living Room bar at The W Hotel in Union Square, after an all-star appetizer lineup of not one, but two orders of guacamole prepared tableside; an order of queso fundido, that molten, cheesey, chorizo-y, goodness, and an order of flame-grilled asparagus topped with melty sheaths of manchego cheese…

…I was stuck in an infinite loop of indecision. Do I order:

a.) The diver scallop tacos special. Hands-down the most intriguing item on the special board, I just couldn’t commit. Too many sketchy scallops have made me skittish about eating any that aren’t seriously vetted. (I’m sure I’ll come around again.)

b.) The fish tacos. My friend was looking to share an order of her favorite tacos — Baja-style battered-and-fried tilapia fillets, topped off with a creamy sauce and some serious lettuce plumage (they were beautiful). Yes, we had all consumed our fair share of guac, fundido, and more guac, and cheesy asparagus (not to mention tequilla) — but would it be enough? I couldn’t commit.

and c.) The conchinita pibil? The pollo en mole poblano? Camarones al mojo de ajo? One of the other, “fancier” items from the especialidades de la casa list that I ordinarily wouldn’t order, except that it was a special occasion? But which one? What if I got this fish Veracruz … and then realized that all I really wanted was …

“Um, I’ll have the carnitas plate, please. With corn tortillas.”
photo-1

Dinner: It Began with Chips, Guac and Margaritas…

photo-33… might have ended there, as well. Now that I think about it. I also shared part of a friend’s taco plate, but surely didn’t eat enough to even say that we split it. Oh well, sometimes festivities get the best of you! 

From what I did taste, Festival Mexicano Restaurant in the Lower East Side has passable Mexican food — there’s much better options elsewhere in the city; a personal favorite of mine is Florencia 13 in Greenwich Village, not street-cheap, but restaurant-quality. 

The margaritas at Festival Mexicano, on the other hand, were frothy, cheap ($5 well, $7 Sauza Hornitos, 100% agave tequila) and wicked strong.