Pongsri Thai: Mediocre Drunken Noodles in Midtown West

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Pongsri Thai, the self proclaimed “oldest family-run and operated Thai restaurant in New York City”, needs to update their recipe book.  Their Pad Key Mao, or Drunken Noodles, (stir fried broad noodles with basil and chili paste) fell flat in regard to my usual expectations for Thai food: An array of flavors and texture in every bite.

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The pork was tender and tasty but continue reading to see why you can pass on Pongsri…

Before you read on, keep in mind, NYC Food Guy loves spicy Drunken Noodles. It’s the only thing I order at Thai restaurants. Some places don’t call it Drunken Noodles but they all serve some variation. Look for Noodles with Basil and Chili Paste.

NYC Food Guy has 2 expectations when it comes to Thai food:

  1. Very spicy
  2. Different flavors and textures in every bite

Pongsri passed the test on the spicy end, although I could have handled a little more heat, considering I requested it to be extra spicy.

They failed the flavor and texture requirement:

  • The noodles were gummy, flavorless, and stuck together.
  • The Chinese broccoli and red and green peppers tasted like they weren’t fresh.
  • The only flavor I really tasted was the basil and the chile flakes
  • There were no eggs mixed into the dish, an integral part of most good Thai dishes. As a result, textual variety was limited to just 3 layers: Vegetables, weak noodles, and pork.

Speaking of the pork, it was the most redeeming aspect of the entire dish. Tender and tasty, most of the larger pieces were lean but there were a few fatty chunks dispersed throughout.

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I’ve experienced much dryer and fattier pork in other dishes.

The best pork I’ve eaten in Drunken Noodles is from Topaz Thai.

With the variety of Thai options in Midtown West (Menu Pages lists 23 restaurants) you can take NYC Food Guy’s word and pass on Pongsri for Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai. My friend ordered the Pad Thai, it was decent, but nothing more than standard.

Head to Topaz for the best Drunken Noodles I’ve had in Midtown.

Pongsri Thai Restaurant

244 W 48th St, New York 10036
Btwn Bway & 8th Ave
(212) 582-3392

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9 Responses to “Pongsri Thai: Mediocre Drunken Noodles in Midtown West”

  1. Midtown Lunch » Midtown Links (Pizza Truck is M.I.A. & the Treats Truck is Sick Edition) Says:

    […] According to Lawrence, the spicy “Drunken Noodles” at Topaz are Far Superior to Pongsri…[NYC Food Guy] […]

  2. Shayna aka Miss Menu Says:

    Not sure if this place has Drunken Noodles, but I wanted to tell you about a great (and cheap) Thai restaurant I went to yesterday…Pam Real Thai Encore. Definitely worth checking out…almost everything is under $10 and it’s really good!

    http://www.missmenunyc.com/2008/02/encore-pam-real-thai-encore.html

  3. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Shayna-

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’m definitely going to check it out.

    So you’re a Pad See Ew girl are ya? Does that mean no spicy for you? Pad See Ew is sweet correct?

    I pretty much get the same dish as you in Drunken Noodles, except mine comes doused in chili paste.

    Is Pam Real Thai Encore the best you’ve EVER had?

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Howfresh Says:

    Pam Real is always on point- and you were only 2 blocks away. Haven’t been to the spinoff yet. A spot I recently hit that had some good stuff was Charm on 95th and Amsterdam.

    Howfresh

  5. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Fresh-

    Funny you say that, I had Pam Real Thai Encore two nights ago. Real solid.

    Charm I’ve heard about, that’s right up in my hood. Is that the Chinese/Thai/Japanese place?

    What’d you get at Charm?

    Look forward to a response.

  6. Howfresh Says:

    Charm is straight Thai. It’s fairly new. I was around there and gave it a shot. Really good. I don’t recall the entire meal, but know we ordered curry puffs as an app, panang curry with chicken, and a noodle dish – either pad thai or pad se ew.

    Since you live in the UWS, even though it’s not Thai- but similar, you’ve been to Saigon Grill? Always comes through.

  7. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Because of my real job my hours don’t let me eat dinner up on the UWS, as a result, I haven’t really spread the culinary love up here. I have not eaten at Saigon Grill, I have had Land Thai a few times though. Decent not the best.

    I don’t know how I feel about the Pad Se Ew, I’m more of a spicy fiend than a sweet.

    Thanks for the recommendation Fresh, I’ll try to check out Saigon one of these days. What do you rock there?

  8. Howfresh Says:

    I hear you on that with the hours. They’re open till midnight some days if that helps.

    Here’s what I wrote about it…

    http://howfresheats.blogspot.com/2008/01/la-sa-tom-la-sa-who.html

  9. MK Says:

    I have never had egg in my Pad Kee Mao. That sounds kind of gross…and I’m half Thai, so you know I grew up with this stuff. Egg is found in Pad Thai and Thai Fried Rice, not Pad Kee Mao.

    I think the next time you order, you have to clarify that you want THAI SPICY, b/c it’s a different degree of spiciness. Usually, you have to request it in Thai, or make it well known that you are Thai. They will not do it for Americans for the simple fact that Americans think they can take the heat, but when they get the dish and it’s too spicy, they send it back. That’s why you are going to get a ‘flat’ tasting dish. It’s been Americanized.

    I also see from your pictures that you got this TO GO. Bad choice. In order to really enjoy this dish, you need to sit down and eat this in the restaurant where you will have your choice of spicy seasonings to add to this dish. For instance, they can make it Thai Spicy for me, but I will add in the vinegar with chiles b/c it gives the dish a new unique flavor.

    I am a frequent customer of Pongsri because it’s very convenient for me and my friends. I love Pam Real Thai (one of the best places to get Thai in Manhattan for hardly anything). I also loved this little place that was on 44th between Broadway and 6th Ave. but got shut down. I was there every single day, b/c I could talk to the cooks every day and they’d make the dish just the way I like it. Sometimes it’s good to see what they’re doing. They closed that place and the restaurant next door down. I have no idea why. They made Thai food the same way my mom makes Thai food, so you know it doesn’t get any better then that (and my mother is a professional cook).

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