|Sai Kroog Esan / Thai Sour Pork Sausage|
At some point, I'll have to stop reviewing Zabb Elee every other time I eat there -- but it is so exciting to try new menu items and share the fun. Today, we discovered a most wonderful thing, thanks to rrems on Chowhound: Zabb Elee will deliver to us in the West Village for a very reasonable $3 delivery fee. Although probably unfortunate for my waistline, this does further other nefarious aims of mine: I'll be able to try every dish on the extensive menu sooner than I'd thought!
Our order came after only a half hour or so, handily beating the projected 50 minute estimate the restaurant had given me on the phone.
We tried a number of new dishes. First up were the tub hua jai kuen / grilled skewers of chicken liver, hearts, gizzards with tamarind dipping sauce. It's clearly not a very photogenic dish nor one that will appeal to anyone who doesn't like the nasty bits. But Julius and I both thought it was very tasty. By themselves, the liver, heart and gizzards were simple: lightly salted, but not otherwise seasoned as far as I could tell. (This is why Julius got a bite.) But they became actively addictive when eaten with the gently acidic, barely hot tamarind dipping sauce.
|Tub Hua Jai Kuen / Grilled Chicken Liver, Heart, Gizzard|
I was bent on trying a soup from the menu, but I think I ordered badly. The nam tok / dark noodle soup with morning glory, scallion, cilantro, bean sprout and choice of pork or beef (we chose beef) was the only dish we tried that I really didn't like. The broth was cloyingly sweet and too strongly spiked with five spice. The small meatballs (two) were delicious, though, and the morning glory greens were enjoyable by themselves.
|Nam Tok / Dark Noodle Soup|
The larb tub wan / pork liver larb was very interesting and to my tastes, very good, though it was extremely mild. (No matter, I sprinkled on additional chile powder of my own.) Raw pork liver was cut into long strips, leaving its strong flavors intact. The slivers were nicely dressed in a lime dressing with chili powder, shallots, fresh mint, scallion and cilantro. As always, the balance of ingredients was perfect. Vegetables accompanying the dish were crisp and fresh.
|Larb Tub Wan / Pork Liver Larb|
I couldn't resist ordering the hor mok / Thai curry fish custard wrapped in banana leaf yet again. This time, it was a bit chewy in parts and tougher than the impossibly silky versions I'd had on prior visits. The texture was off, as though it'd been baked or microwaved to reheat, drying out the top layer. Flavors also seemed to be more muted that previously.
|Hor Mok / Thai Curry Fish Custard|
And finally, an order of sai kroog esan / Thai sour pork sausage with fresh cabbage, ginger and chili (pictured at the top of this post) was quite likable. The sausage, which included some veins of rice and looked exactly like the fermented sausage I've eaten as nam / naam / naem / nham, in the past, wasn't actually sour at all and I didn't detect any of the flavors of fermentation. If anything, it was sweet. The salad came with two large slices of raw, peeled ginger and very nicely toasted (or fried) peanuts. I think the sausage had been deep fried to judge by the nice, almost crispy bite to the skin.
That's it for this installment. My guess is that there'll be more on the way, soon, now that we've discovered delivery. Hallelujah!
75 2nd Ave (between 4th St & 5th St)
Manhattan, NY 10003