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Rhong Tiam


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Nathan

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 07:42 AM

newish GV Thai-Malaysian place (I think it's the same owners as Penang).

I'd heard good things from people I trust, asserting that it's better than Pam Real or Wondee Siam.

It might just be. not in the league of Sripaphai but then nothing here is. some dishes even had genuinely assertive spicing. and the larb gai was very well balanced. the pork moo-na-rock was awesome.

menu here:

http://www.rhong-tia...u/laguardia.pdf

#2 Nathan

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 08:15 AM

ok...since I made that first post Rhong-Tiam has gotten a great deal of press coverage....some pretty overstated.

the pork moo-na-rok isn't as interesting the second time (i.e. the "pork on fire"...it's got some heat but nothing crazy), the house-ground curries have a nice balanced flavor, but they tend to overcook poultry. still a fan of the larb.

#3 Nathan

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 06:47 AM

there are some excellent and hard-to-find noodle dishes.

the tom kha gai was rather wan.

it's not Sripaphai but it's by far the best in Manhattan.

#4 Eatmywords

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 09:30 AM

Moderator's Note: The following 20 or so posts have been split off from another topic, as they are much more germane to this Rhong Tiam topic.

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i haven't been to rhong tiam yet but have heard good things.

It's incredible. Seriously, on par with Srip, Zabb, Pam etc. Went with a group a couple weeks ago (half EG'rs) and sampled a good portion of the menu. Couldn’t believe how good it was. Very bold, fresh, clean and spicy flavors in just about everything. Similar to Srip and often better. Soft shell crab special alone worth a trip. I would get there fast though as it may not last. Place was near empty Friday night at 9pm. I hope word gets out. (I didn't do the ordering so I don't remember the names of dishes. If he's reading, perhaps he'll chime in)
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#5 weinoo

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:32 AM

Are you referring to the place on La Guardia? I've had very good delivery from another branch, but didn't think the one on LaG was that great - willing to give it another try, however.
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#6 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 11:17 AM

I did the ordering, but I don't remember, either. (Lotsa mileage that night.) But I think Rhong Tiam is by far the best Manhattan Thai I've ever had.

#7 daisy17

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 11:22 AM

Are you referring to the place on La Guardia?  I've had very good delivery from another branch, but didn't think the one on LaG was that great - willing to give it another try, however.

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Same here. It would be great to know what you guys loved from there so I can retry.

Edited by daisy17, 05 June 2009 - 11:23 AM.


#8 Eatmywords

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 11:58 AM

Are you referring to the place on La Guardia?  I've had very good delivery from another branch, but didn't think the one on LaG was that great - willing to give it another try, however.

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Yep, Laguardia and Bleecker. Maybe you didn't target the the good stuff (which can happen to anyone given a huge menu). Or we got lucky but I don't think so because everything was exceptional including the spicy lime beef, green papaya and catfish salads. Also the charcoal duck, pork on fire, mee gorang and 5 spice soft shell crab. There were 10 other dishes more or less as good. I'd have to look at the menu to attemp naming them.
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#9 Eatmywords

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 12:38 PM

I did the ordering, but I don't remember, either.  (Lotsa mileage that night.)  But I think Rhong Tiam is by far the best Manhattan Thai I've ever had.

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Mileage, ayy? Put it in neutral and have a look at the online menu. I'm sure much will come back to you. After a quick glance, (in addition to above) apps included thai nachos, curry puffs and duck buns. Mains; chu chee duck, rhong tiam duck, mix seafood red curry and mee goring noodles. There were at least 6 more dishes. If we lived closer it'd be our "once a weeker".
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#10 Mussina

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:19 PM

I did the ordering, but I don't remember, either.  (Lotsa mileage that night.)  But I think Rhong Tiam is by far the best Manhattan Thai I've ever had.

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Mileage, ayy? Put it in neutral and have a look at the online menu. I'm sure much will come back to you. After a quick glance, (in addition to above) apps included thai nachos, curry puffs and duck buns. Mains; chu chee duck, rhong tiam duck, mix seafood red curry and mee goring noodles. There were at least 6 more dishes. If we lived closer it'd be our "once a weeker".

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Just curious - would it be a place you would recommend for someone coming from outside NYC. For example, Vong (or maybe Shang?) (never been to either) v. Rhong Tiam or is it more of a "fantastic b/c I live around the corner" kind of place?? When I was in Chicago folks recommended Fox and Obel. Cute but . . . it was one meal spent at an upscale Au Bon Pain (I mean no disrespect but it was not the kind of fun, casual food I was hoping for). I can imagine that if you worked a block away it would be fine but it is not something I would think you would suggest for someone traveling to eat. I wish I could do a better job describing the type of food I am looking for -- something really memorable -- it doesn't have to be high end (although I am fine with high end) but I do not want neighborhood casual - I love it b/c it is a good value - type of food. Making any sense?????

#11 kathryn

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:28 PM

I think people go nuts over Rhong Tiam because a good Thai place is so hard to find in Manhattan!

You want fun, casual, Asian (or Asian-influenced), but still ambitious, although not necessarily with all the trappings of an upscale restaurant? Have you been to any of the Momofukus?

Edited by kathryn, 05 June 2009 - 02:35 PM.

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#12 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:34 PM

I wouldn't recommend ANY of those restaurants to someone visiting from out of town.

#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:37 PM

Just to be clear, on Rhong Tiam, I said it was the best of the MANHATTAN Thais. That's the best of a pretty sorry bunch.

OTOH, Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens is one of the great restaurants of New York and is well worth the short subway ride if you're interested in superlative Thai food.

Vong is a hollow shell of a restaurant.

Shang is, well, disappointing.

You can do MUCH better in New York. (Including, as kathryn notes, the Momofukus, which really ARE among the best restaurants in town.)

#14 Eatmywords

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:54 AM

In my opinion, Vong has never been interesting, but has always been kind of bland Thai- (etc.) influenced food that was overpriced. Anyone who wants to get good Vongerichten food should go to Jean Georges, never to Vong.

Eatmywords, "mee goreng" simply means "fried noodles" in MALAY. That's an item I'd never order at a Thai restaurant, merely based on the name.

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Mee goreng noodles (from the menu): "Indian style stir fry egg noodles with eggs, potato, shrimp, crackers and bean sprouts. Toss with grated peanut". -What's wrong with that? If you think this dish unworthy of our sampling (of some 15 dishes) you are mistaken. It was a really good carb dish. Remember, we shared aprx 15 plates and this was one of maybe two rice/pastas. Anyway, Sneak ordered it (though he can’t remember).

Vong was most definitely interesting back in the day. Nobody was doing Thai French like that and on that level of execution. It may be tired now but it was ground breaking and it was that type of food with the Asian flavors and classic French technique that set the standard for his cooking and success.

I’m not sure if I’m disagreeing with Sneak by saying that I do believe Rhong worth a visit. If you love Thai and don’t care about elaborate settings/service, why not? You’ve apparently hitup the Momo’s and the other in-the-knows. And unless you have the time for a Queens (Woodside) excursion, you’ll get very similar quality and execution. Compared with my last two visits to Srip, I’d say Rhong was better.
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#15 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:31 PM

What I meant is, I think Rhong Tiam is definitely worth a visit if you're in Manhattan and want Thai food. It's very good. I go there.

But as a "destination" place, much less someplace to visit when you're on a vacation to NYC, I don't think so.

#16 Pan

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:01 PM

Eatmywords, wasn't it evident from my reply that I know very well what mee goreng is? My problem is with it being on a supposedly "Thai" menu. I don't know Thai, but I know there has to be a generic Thai term for "fried noodles." By the way, based on not only the name but the description, they are serving Mamak (=North Indian Muslim) style MALAYSIAN fried noodles. So is Rhong Thiam a Thai or a Malaysian restaurant, and where are the owner/manager/chef from?

I stand by my viewpoint that Vong's savory cuisine was never an interesting form of fusion food. Chacun 'a son gout.

#17 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:14 PM

Rhong Tiam chef/owner Andy Yang is from Bangkok.

#18 HappyLab

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 03:54 AM

So is Rhong Thiam a Thai or a Malaysian restaurant, and where are the owner/manager/chef from?

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As I recall, Rhong Thiam was previously part of the Penang chain of Malaysian restaurants and is still co-owned by the Penang owners. It has been a while since I dined there, but I believe there are some holdovers from the Penang menu, so this may explain the noodles. However, Rhong Thiam is definitely a (very good) Thai restaurant, and the chef and other co-owner, Andy Yang, is from Bangkok.

#19 Eatmywords

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 07:04 AM

Eatmywords, wasn't it evident from my reply that I know very well what mee goreng is? My problem is with it being on a supposedly "Thai" menu. I don't know Thai, but I know there has to be a generic Thai term for "fried noodles." By the way, based on not only the name but the description, they are serving Mamak (=North Indian Muslim) style MALAYSIAN fried noodles. So is Rhong Thiam a Thai or a Malaysian restaurant, and where are the owner/manager/chef from?

I stand by my viewpoint that Vong's savory cuisine was never an interesting form of fusion food. Chacun 'a son gout.

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I misunderstand your turn off. I thought you were implying you knew the traditional recipe; thin yellow noodles fried with onion, tofu, chili, vegetables, tomatoes, and egg and why would we waste our time on it? Hence my reply that Rhong’s interpretation differs from the classic. Either way I’m usually curious to try a restaurant’s interpretation of another cuisine’s dish.

To e/his own on Vong of course. But you have to consider that if it was not such a huge success his empire might not be what it is today.
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#20 Sneakeater

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 11:21 AM

As someone who is completely ignorant of the origin of the dish, I can tell you that Rhong Tiam's Mee goreng noodles aren't self-evidently inferior, when you eat them, the way that, say, the "American" dishes are at Grand Sichuan.

#21 Pan

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 02:51 AM

Eatmywords, wasn't it evident from my reply that I know very well what mee goreng is? My problem is with it being on a supposedly "Thai" menu. I don't know Thai, but I know there has to be a generic Thai term for "fried noodles." By the way, based on not only the name but the description, they are serving Mamak (=North Indian Muslim) style MALAYSIAN fried noodles. So is Rhong Thiam a Thai or a Malaysian restaurant, and where are the owner/manager/chef from?

I stand by my viewpoint that Vong's savory cuisine was never an interesting form of fusion food. Chacun 'a son gout.

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I misunderstand your turn off. I thought you were implying you knew the traditional recipe; thin yellow noodles fried with onion, tofu, chili, vegetables, tomatoes, and egg and why would we waste our time on it? Hence my reply that Rhong’s interpretation differs from the classic. Either way I’m usually curious to try a restaurant’s interpretation of another cuisine’s dish.

To e/his own on Vong of course. But you have to consider that if it was not such a huge success his empire might not be what it is today.

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I'm not opposed to other people trying Malaysian food at a Thai restaurant; I just normally wouldn't do it, because my initial assumption is that I should get Thai food at a Thai restaurant. It sounds like this place may be an exception. As for the ingredients in Rhong Tiam's mee goreng, I'd say that they are totally normal in Malaysia. My main point was to indicate the meaning and spelling of "mee goreng," though. And just as fried rice ("nasi goreng" in Malay) is of flexible composition, the same is true of mee goreng; there is no one traditional recipe. It's true that some kind of tomato-chili sauce is a commonality in Mamak mee goreng recipes, though; I stand to be corrected, but I'm guessing that the list of ingredients in Rhong Tiam's mee goreng isn't exhaustive, and that they probably use chili paste or/and a bit of ketchup in the dish.

I get your point about the Jean Georges empire, but I would also say that Jean Georges was fairly well known and definitely putting out some great food at JoJo before Vong was opened. I actually had a false memory that JoJo was my family's favorite restaurant in the 80s, but from the horse's mouth, he opened JoJo in 1991 and Vong in 1992:

I opened Vong in 1992, a year after opening JoJo, to fuse my French cuisine with the Thai dishes I came to love while cooking in Asia. (Hence its original proposed name: “Far East.”)



#22 Eatmywords

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 09:23 AM

I'm not opposed to other people trying Malaysian food at a Thai restaurant; I just normally wouldn't do it, because my initial assumption is that I should get Thai food at a Thai restaurant. It sounds like this place may be an exception. As for the ingredients in Rhong Tiam's mee goreng, I'd say that they are totally normal in Malaysia. My main point was to indicate the meaning and spelling of "mee goreng," though. And just as fried rice ("nasi goreng" in Malay) is of flexible composition, the same is true of mee goreng; there is no one traditional recipe. It's true that some kind of tomato-chili sauce is a commonality in Mamak mee goreng recipes, though; I stand to be corrected, but I'm guessing that the list of ingredients in Rhong Tiam's mee goreng isn't exhaustive, and that they probably use chili paste or/and a bit of ketchup in the dish.

I get your point about the Jean Georges empire, but I would also say that Jean Georges was fairly well known and definitely putting out some great food at JoJo before Vong was opened. I actually had a false memory that JoJo was my family's favorite restaurant in the 80s, but from the horse's mouth, he opened JoJo in 1991 and Vong in 1992:

I opened Vong in 1992, a year after opening JoJo, to fuse my French cuisine with the Thai dishes I came to love while cooking in Asia. (Hence its original proposed name: “Far East.”)

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Yea, he got some good press from the 2 Lafayette’s and JoJo but they were more contemporary French. I don’t believe they singled him out as an innovator. The fusion Thai-French (whatever you want to call it) at Vong set him apart and remains as the foundation, as we all know, to JG and the offspring.

It seems the ingredients of the mee goreng could appear on a number of S.East Asian menus without too many questions of it's nationality. My guess is due to the Penang link they wanted to show some crossover. Of course at this point, you must go and try the dish and report back. :wacko:
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#23 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 09:43 AM

To me the only thing that matters is that the mee goreng at Rhong Tiam are (to me, never having knowingly had them anywhere else) very good.

I think it's not true that Vong established JGV as an innovator. I think the style of the cooking at Lafayette and especially JoJo, favoring emulsions over more traditional kinds of sauces, was the innovation that made JGV famous, and which remains at the root of his more serious cuisine. Certainly the food at Jean Georges is more a continuation of that style than of the outright fusion of Vong.

Edited by Sneakeater, 10 June 2009 - 09:44 AM.


#24 Jesikka

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:41 PM

Can anyone tell me whether Rhong Tiam has closed? They have not been answering their phone for over a week and they seem to have disappeared from Seamless Web. Is this a vacation or a closed restaurant?

#25 Kobi

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 07:53 PM

Can anyone tell me whether Rhong Tiam has closed?  They have not been answering their phone for over a week and they seem to have disappeared from Seamless Web.  Is this a vacation or a closed restaurant?

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I have definitely gotten take out within the last week but not sure when. Will try to swing by in the next few days to see if they are still around. Oye I hope so. . . .

#26 Kobi

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:44 AM

Can anyone tell me whether Rhong Tiam has closed?  They have not been answering their phone for over a week and they seem to have disappeared from Seamless Web.  Is this a vacation or a closed restaurant?

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I have definitely gotten take out within the last week but not sure when. Will try to swing by in the next few days to see if they are still around. Oye I hope so. . . .

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It's open and fantastic. Having drunken noodles now.

#27 weinoo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:17 AM

Kinda hot news...

Mission Chinese, a wildly popular San Francisco restaurant, was coming to New York and opening in the former Rhong Tiam/Bia Garden space.
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