This Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen Serves Some of the Best Thai Dishes in New York City

Most do not associate Hell’s Kitchen as the neighborhood with the best of anything amidst New York City’s vibrant dining scene. Chalong, a buzzy southern Thai and seafood restaurant nestled along 9th Avenue, is the exception.

Stepping inside the intimate space, diners are instantly transported away from the hoards of tourists, commuters, and Broadway show-goers into a laidback, island-inspired atmosphere. The design elements feature an abundance of rattan––from the bar stools to the light fixtures to the dining chairs––and all sorts of wood.

Exposed beams form square patterns along the ceiling; slats of wood create a partition separating the front dining room from the back; and a glowing yellow hue illuminates the colorful liquor bottles perched along the wooden bar.

With roots in Surrathani, a region renowned for its Southern Thai cuisine and abundant seafood, Chef Nate Limwong artfully curated a menu informed by her heritage and decades of gastronomic expertise.

After honing her skills across three continents––Asia, Australia, and North America––Chef Nate is a seasoned veteran of the culinary world who’s mastered not only the intricacies of Thai food but French and Chinese as well. Despite her global adventures, Chef Nate’s heart remains rooted in the flavors of her upbringing.

Patrons will find themselves dreaming of the sun-drenched shores of Thailand’s south as they venture through each course. Begin with dishes such as Phuket Pak Mor––delicate steamed rice dumplings filled with a medley of sweet radish, peanut, and black pepper––or Baerng Golae: crispy coconut paired with succulent grilled shrimp and famous Southern Thai curry paste.

Seafood lovers are treated to delights such as Steamed Fish, showcasing Chilean sea bass filet bathed in a fragrant chili lime broth, and Crab Curry, a sumptuous blend of jumbo lump crab meat and crispy soft shell crab enveloped in a velvety coconut curry. Noodles and rice also find their place on the menu; a glance around the dining room and every table is sure to have an order of Mee Pum Riang: wok stir-fried noodles in a sweet coconut curry cream with shrimp, mung bean sprouts, and vegetables.

For those seeking libations, the cocktail menu is a journey all its own. Illustrations of each beverage are portrayed along a map of Thailand, highlighting the unique fruits, spirits, and aromatics of each region.

The most popular cocktail is the After School, made with Butterfly pea vodka, pear, rambutan, Dolin Génépy le Chamois liqueur, and lemon. This awe-inspiring purple concoction is served in a coupe glass with a flower on top.

While it may sound surprising, do not shy away from the Mung Bao––a tantalizing blend of smoky mezcal, tangy green mango, and zesty grilled shrimp sprinkled with a sprinkle of chili sea salt. Nibble at the small, skewered shrimp set atop the cocktail between sips.

Chef Nate intends for Chalong to be a place where patrons can come and always experience something new. While her dishes remain year-round, she changes up the selection of desserts every few weeks. From Kanom Ko (delightful balls of rice cake with roasted coconut in a coconut cream bath) to the decadent Better Together––a brick of sweet purple sticky rice topped with coconut ice cream and a drizzle of mango sauce––there is always something new to satisfy every sweet tooth.

Savor the essence of Southern Thai delicacies in the heart of Manhattan at Chalong.

Top Takeaways

Location: Hell’s Kitchen, New York

Address: 749 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Cuisine: Thai

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes – Resy

The vibe: Some of New York City’s best Thai food is served amidst laidback, island-inspired environs.

Our favorite thing on the menu: The Crab Curry (served with jumbo lump crab meat, crispy soft shell crab, and betel leaves in a coconut curry) is sensational, as is the Mee Pum Riang (wok stir-fry noodles in a coconut curry cream, shrimp, mung bean sprouts and side vegetables).

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Lunch: Every day from 12 PM – 3:30 PM; Dinner: Sunday – Thursday from 5 PM – 10 PM, Friday and Saturday from 5 PM – 11 PM.

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