I launched with a couple of lychee bellinis, which don't actually launch you very effectively. Tasty and refreshing, but being lychee juice and sparkling wine, they don't really function properly as an alchoholic beverage. Nevertheless, I seemed to have started a run on the things. Then they mercifully ran out of lychee juice.
The service is notoriously sucky, and indeed, halfway through ordering, someone noticed a few copies of the dinner specials list in the middle of our table. The staff could take a lesson in suggestive selling from the "you want fries with 'dat?" people. I changed my order from the Shrimp Curry with String Beans to the "Spicy Lover."
During our significant wait, we dipped our chopsticks into assorted starters. From the homey Edamame (not unlike Southern boiled peanuts), to the satisfying and tender Thai Dried Beef, the Shrimp Dumplings (I know I put one into my mouth, but cannot at this moment recall what it tasted like), Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce (always crazy good), Fried Calamari with Sweet Chili Sauce (there's always gonna be something that's not as good as last time), and the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber, which I've never had a bad version of. Or a version that tasted any different from everyone else's version, for that matter.
Someone ordered Mee Grob, which I'd never had. Crispy tamarind noodles with shrimp. Awfully tasty with a unique texture. Can't recommend the Fried Tofu with Peanut-Chili Sauce if you're sharing, though. The two-bite hunks taste like a dial tone unless bathed in the dipping sauce, and they're too big to do this without double-dipping. So avoid sharing these, at least with those you're not being otherwise intimate with. And I'd not been intimate with all ten or twelve of my dinner companions this night.
But give me time.
Which brings me to the subject of The Spicy Lover. It arrived well past everyone else's entrees, which prompted me and the one other tablemate who'd ordered it to make inappropriate jokes about lovuhs who take too long to come. (Mmmkay, so maybe the bellinis were working.) When finally our prodigal meals arrived, each sushi roll was massively fat and long (sorry), snaking through thick pearls of spicy sauce (somebody stop me). I've never understood people using the term 'rich' when describing why they don't like a dish, but holy mother of fish phallus, this thing was rich. Stuffed with scallops, yellowtail, and at least another sea critter or two (and me already stuffed with appetizers), I made it through only with determination and a remarkable display of full-out gluttony. And that mofo was delicious. Spicy Lover #2 Dude and I were both groaning by the halfway point, but each keen to finish off our respective Lovers.
Again, my apologies.
Planet Thailand 212
30 W. 24th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
PS: I just had deja vu. Have I blogged about this place before? I seem to recall writing about the groovy closed circuit video screens which catch patrons on camera and put them into far away situations. Peeps have complained this is an invasion of privacy. I say screw 'em. I think it's cool.