647 9th Avenue
Between 45th and 46th Streets
With no big signage or neon signs, Ember Room is hidden in plain sight near the corner of West 45th St & Ninth Avenue. Suspended above the entrance are four thousand authentic handmade Thai temple bells, whose soothing and resonant tones are said to create a peaceful and meditative state. Designed by internationally renowned Thai chef Ian Chalermkitticha, Ember Room’s menu takes on an existing culinary trend in Bangkok: described as "progressive Thai comfort food", the menu is both firmly rooted in Thai tradition and seamlessly adapted to the selective integration of other culinary cultures. Signature dishes range from Italian-influenced Green Curry Lasagna, with fresh mozzarella and parmesan baked with a rich green curry Bolognese, to Chef Chalermkitticha’s signature Chocolate Baby Back Ribs grilled with surprising and irresistible BBQ Belgian chocolate glaze. They are fork-tender, absolutely delicious and a steal at $7(all of the carefully cooked dishes are fairly priced).
Ember Room is the latest venture of New York City-based restaurateurs Ace Watanasuparp and Chatchai Huadwattana, founders of Chace Restaurant Group, whose recent successes include Spot Dessert Bar, Obao, and Reserve wine Bar.
The restaurant design, boldly envisioned by internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Roy Nachum, mixes rustic and contemporary through the use of rich colors, distressed wood, and brushed metals. Near the white-veined black Carrera marble bar, the Marble Poet’s Lounge is a floor-to-ceiling 25-foot wall of 200 year-old reclaimed wood, overlaid with oversized gold-leaf Chinese calligraphy-the characters point out that sharing food and company is the greatest form of wealth. Downstairs, the focal point is the Ivory Prince Terrace: a raised dining area with symmetrical walls of mirrored bronze, stacked with metal frames evoking authentic Asian lanterns, and lit with Edison light bulbs. The room unites around a striking original painting by Nachum of a child in a forest, protected by an elephant. Upstairs, an open Mezzanine overlooks both the Marble Poet’s Lounge as well as the restaurant’s floor-to ceiling façade, with its view of the lights and bustle of Ninth Avenue.
“EMBER’S GEMS” include such SMALL PLATES” as Koi Tuna Tartare, fresh tuna, roasted ground rice, crispy tortillas, chili-lime dressing ; “Yum Hoi” Pomelo Scallops,
seared “diver” scallops, chili jam glaze, pomelo salad, roasted pepper-lime dressing; Terra Cotta Fish Cakes, crispy rice-crusted red chili paste fish cake, ember room sauce and the aforementioned Chocolate Ribs.
Signature ENTRÉES offer Lobster Pad Thai, Bangkok street-style pad thai, herb-poached lobster; a divine Red Chili-Glazed Sea Bass, freshly baked, sweet and spiced glaze, celery root puree, gailan and Heritage Pork Belly, chaing mai spiced braised pork belly, root vegetables, asian herbs, fresh ginger.
SMALL PLATES purport Grilled Japanese Eggplant, smoked salt, cilantro, red miso glaze , Bamboo Chicken Curry Dip, pan-fried roti, chicken, green curry, bamboo shoot, eggplant ; Thai Tacos, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, chives, peanut, tofu, coconut,
sweet chili sauce; “Nam Prik Ong” Lettuce Wrap, northern thai-style bolognese, fresh vegetables, crispy eggplant and that Green Curry Lasagna with green curry bolognese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ground beef.
There are fun plays like the Thai Chili Mac & Cheese, thai chili jam, smoked bacon, onion, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and house-made breadcrumbs and a not-to-be-missed concoction called: Thai Pastrami Meatballs, ground pork, bacon, sweet tamarind glaze, chinese mustard’. The chef is a master of mussels and oysters, whether Steamed “Icy Blue” canadian mussels, lemongrass, spicy and sour bouillon, garlic bread or beautifully presented Half-Shell Fried Oysters, crispy fried oyster, sautéed bean sprout, garlic chive, and a zesty sriracha sauce.
For a twist, check out the fun Ember Original Lobster Roll, with homemade sour cream, chili jam, celeriac, shallots, mango served with crispy 7-spice fries and mayonnaise.
Soups and salads are expectedly excellent and bigger appetites will love ENTRÉES
like the Had Yai Volcano Chicken (a mere $16) for oven-roasted turmeric-coconut marinated chicken, green chili sauce, brined for three days and served flaming.
Service is surprisingly benevolent and there is is short and attractively priced list of wine, beer, sake and such.Cocktails are generous and well constructed, and the hose versions are fun.
Don’t miss the Thai iced tea (lavender tea is also terrific), nor fabulous desserts, including all homemade iced cream (the chocolate Grenache is to die for); a light and lovely Meyer lemon layered crepe cake; or a rich and decadent caramelized coconut cheesecake.
Certainly the definitive choice for creative Thai food near the theater district, Ember Room is one of the best Thai restaurants in Manhattan. Rating A Major.
Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.