Last Friday evening we made our Broadway début. Before we took our seats to watch Keira, coincidentally, also make her Broadway début, playing the lead role in the bleakly intense story of Thérese Raquin, we needed some pre-theatre fodder to sustain us through the melodrama.
Our hopes of a comforting, nourishing bowl of Ippudo's ramen were dashed when we arrived at 5.45 to be told the wait would be at least 2 hours. My maths told me that that would mean we would be taking our first slurp as Keira was taking her first stomp across the stage. Not ideal. The back up plan was Pure Thai Cookhouse, just around the corner. There, the wait was 30 minutes i.e. just enough time for a glass of wine at Ardesia before two seats would be ready for us.
After a well spent half hour we wiggled in to our two seats at the slim wooden bar which runs down one side of this tiny Thai restaurant. The small open kitchen at the front is filled with woks, huge pots, and lots of people, cooking up an authentic storm in an authentic looking kitchen, for all the customers to see. If we had been outside, if it had been hot, and if we hadn't been surrounded by Americans, we could have been back at our favourite Bangkok restaurant, Jok's, which we reminisce about every time Thai food comes our way.
B sipped on a Chang beer, noting that it perhaps didn't taste quite as good when not drunk in situ. Luckily this wasn't the case for the food which was just as packed full of spices, crunch, and heat as it was when cooked by a man named Jok who has just one giant wok, and was eaten on a plastic chair in a street in the middle of a hectic Thai city.
The classic wok basil with chicken was fragrant with holy basil and garlic, the sauce soaked up by freshly steamed rice, the green beans adding colour and crispness to a warming bowl of comfort food. B selected the special of the day: thinly sliced steak with basil, omelette, and a good dose of chili. Every mouthful was quickly gobbled up. We resisted the sticky coconut rice for dessert and said a sad goodbye to the fantastically friendly, smiley, efficient waitress as we braced ourselves for the cold outside and a harrowing two and a half hours of Broadway theatre.
Pure Thai Cookhouse, 766 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019