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.
Chef Pongtawat “Ian Kittichai” Chalermkittichai’s path to culinary success started from very humble beginnings in Bangkok. Every morning he would rise at 3 AM to accompany his mother to the wet market to select the best meats, seafood, and vegetables for her neighborhood grocery. While Ian was at school, she would cook a dozen different types of curries. Upon his return home, Ian would push a cart through the neighborhood to sell his wares, shouting: “Khao Geang Ron Ron Ma Leaw Jaar!” (Hot curry coming!).
After completing high school in Bangkok, Ian moved to London to study English with no intention of becoming a chef. Fate seemed to have other ideas though – while working part time at the Waldorf Hotel THF, the hotel chef saw something of great promise in young Ian. Before long, the hotel sponsored him to attend culinary school in London. He subsequently completed his culinary studies in Sydney, Australia and then spent his years of apprenticeship absorbing French fine dining cuisine at the famous Claude’s.
In 1993, Ian decided to return to his homeland and work for the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (formerly The Regent) as a Demi Chef. He quickly rose through the ranks while mastering various cuisines and winning acclaim in multiple international culinary competitions. His career path in the Four Seasons organization took him to culinary exchanges around the world where he was able to further perfect his talent and craft. At restaurants and hotels such as Georges V in Paris, French Laundry in Napa Valley, El Bulli in Spain, and Four Seasons Chinzan-so in Tokyo, Chef Chalermkittichai was free to fully spread his culinary wings. In 1998, Chef Chalermkittichai became the first Thai national in the world to become Executive Chef of a five-star hotel property. In 2001, The Bangkok Post dubbed him "The Golden Boy". He began hosting the weekly cooking show Chef Mue Tong (The Golden Hand Chef), which presently can be seen in over 70 countries.
In 2004 Chef Chalermkittichai relocated to New York and created Kittichai Restaurant, in 2004. While Chef Chalermkittichai was at the helm, Kittichai Restaurant appeared in Food & Wine magazine as Best New Asian Restaurants 2005, Travel & Leisure magazine as Best New American Restaurants 2004, as well as appearing in Harper’s Baazar, Vogue, GQ, New York Magazine, New York Times, Vogue Traveler, Gourmet Traveler, and Vanity Fair, amongst numerous others.
In 2008 he left Kittichai Restaurant, formed his international food & beverage management and consulting firm, Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd., and opened the highly acclaimed Restaurant Murmuri in Barcelona, Spain. Currently his Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd. has some of the most recognizable international hotels, restaurants, and food companies on its client roster.
In January 2010 Chef Chalermkittichai opened Bangkok’s first gastro bar, Hyde & Seek. In August 2010 he opened the celebrated Koh by Ian Kittichai, his third signature Thai restaurant, located at the Intercontinental Marine Drive Hotel, Mumbai, India. In February 2011 Chef Chalermkittichai opened Ember Room, a progressive Thai comfort food restaurant, with Chace Restaurant Group in New York City. In 2011 Chef Chalermkittichai also launched a signature menu at the Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi. In June 2011 Chef opened Sucre, a dessert restaurant and bar, in Bangkok, and became a partner in Spot Dessert Bar in New York City. In December 2011 Chef Chalermkittichai debuted his flagship Thai restaurant and lounge, Issaya Siamese Club, in Bangkok. Also in December 2011, Chef’s cookbook in Thai, Chef Ian’s Kitchen Revealed, won the prestigious Gourmand Best Chef Cookbook award in Thailand.
In January 2012 Chef debuted to a massive fan following as one of the permanent Iron Chefs on the Iron Chef Thailand television show. In April 2012 Chef opened Smith, Bangkok’s first international “nose to tail” concept eatery. Currently in development are restaurants in New York and Chef Chalermkittichai’s first cookbook for the English-language market.
Sample Manu (Prices & Content Subject To Change)
Koi Tuna Tartare 12
fresh tuna, roasted ground rice, crispy tortillas, chili-lime dressing
“Yum Hoi” Pomelo Scallops 12
seared “diver” scallops, chili jam glaze, pomelo salad,
roasted pepper-lime dressing
Terra Cotta Fish Cakes 7
crispy rice-crusted red chili paste fish cake, ember room sauce
Chocolate Ribs 7
grilled pork ribs, smoked bbq chocolate sauce glaze
Lobster Pad Thai MP
bangkok street-style pad thai, herb-poached lobster
Red Chili-Glazed Sea Bass 24
freshly baked, sweet and spiced glaze, celery root puree, gailan
Heritage Pork Belly 19
chaing mai spiced braised pork belly, root vegetables,
asian herbs, fresh ginger
Grilled Japanese Eggplant 7
smoked salt, cilantro, red miso glaze
Bamboo Chicken Curry Dip 8
pan-fried roti, chicken, green curry, bamboo shoot, eggplant
Thai Tacos 8
shredded chicken, bean sprouts, chives, peanut, tofu, coconut,
sweet chili sauce
“Nam Prik Ong” Lettuce Wrap 7
northern thai-style bolognese, fresh vegetables, crispy eggplant
Green Curry Lasagna 9
green curry bolognese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ground beef
Thai Chili Mac & Cheese 8
thai chili jam, smoked bacon, onion, fresh mozzarella, parmesan,
BBQ Berkshire Pork Belly 10
maple syrup soy glaze, fuji apple slaw
Thai Pastrami Meatballs 9
ground pork, bacon, sweet tamarind glaze, chinese mustard
Crispy Rock Shrimp 10
tempura battered shrimp, roasted melting eggplant,
sweet tamarind dressing, shredded hard-boiled egg
Steamed “Icy Blue” Mussels 10
canadian mussels, lemongrass, spicy and sour bouillon, garlic bread
Half-Shell Fried Oysters 11
crispy fried oyster, sautéed bean sprout, garlic chive, sriracha
Fresh Oysters 10
fresh oyster, seafood sauce, sriracha, crispy shallots
Calamari Lao Tzu 9
semolina-crusted calamari, black sriracha
Ember Original Lobster Roll 16
homemade sour cream, chili jam, celeriac, shallots, mango
served with 7-spice fries, mayonnaise
Tom Yum Khoong 8
traditional spicy and sour soup, grilled shrimp
“Ya-yai” Mushroom soup 6
clear oyster mushroom soup, tofu, egg, meatballs
Heirloom Beet Salad 9
frisée, pumpkin seeds, rice vinegar dressing
Seared Thai Steak Salad 8
shell steak, tomato, cucumber, cilantro & scallion salad,
spicy toasted ground rice dressing
Crispy Papaya Salad 7
traditional papaya salad with a twist of crispy papaya, peanut
Fruit Som Tum 7
papaya, seasonal fruit, peanut, dried shrimp flakes
Tiger Prawn Mango Salad 9
charred tiger prawns, shredded medium-ripe mango salad
Had Yai Volcano Chicken 16
oven-roasted turmeric-coconut marinated chicken, green chili sauce
Grilled Panang Shell Steak 24
panang curry, sautéed gailan
Crispy Whole Striped Bass 22
whole fish, sweet/sour/spicy sauce, crispy basil
Red Curry Crispy Duck 18
lychee, pineapple, cherry tomato, eggplant
Classic Pad Thai 15
bbq jumbo shrimp, bean sprouts, garlic-chive, peanuts
Spaghetti à la Drunk Man 15
wok-fried pad kee mao, shrimp, ground chicken, bell pepper, holy basil
Naked Veggie Burger 13
veggie patty, mixed salad, tofu fries, ember sauce
Korean BBQ-Beef Fried Rice 14
wok-fried rice, kimchee, bbq beef, topped with raw egg
Temple Fried Rice 5
wok-fried combination of asian grains, soybean, red bean,
minced asian olive, snap peas, smoked tofu
Sunrise Fried Rice 6
thai chorizo, thai pork sausage, onion, scallion, fresh ginger, lime, peanut
Sugar Snap Peas 5
sea salt, toasted chili flakes
Bok Choy 5
spicy garlic sauce
Progressive Thai Comfort Food is Ember Room’s rendition of an
already thriving culinary culture in the cafés & coffee shops of
Bangkok. “Thai comfort food” is the result of international influences on classic Bangkok cuisine: rooted in tradition yet adapting seamlessly to the selective integration of neighboring and popular culinary
cultures. Ember Room’s menu pulls from such influences, and is
tirelessly refined for the modern New York palate while maintaining the culinary integrity of traditional Thai cooking.