Within the past year, we noticed that a new Thai Noodle Bar had opened down the street on 9th Avenue between 35th and 36th. We walked by it as we walked to and from the movie theater, or the High Line, or basically anywhere downtown on the west side. We always mentioned that we should try it, but it took us until a cold December night to pop in.
Zoob Zib is from the owners of Aura Thai restaurant (we live in the “Thai Town” section of southern Hell’s Kitchen, and I find that of the hundreds of Thai restaurants to choose from in a 5 block radius, there is very little that sets them apart, so I cannot tell you if Aura is one of the good ones or one of the mediocre ones).
The interior is actually quite nice, with the old halogen lights and mason jars turned into chandeliers. Yup, it’s totally cliche right now, but I love that style.
We started our first visit (yes… there have already been multiple) with a duck roll appetizer. It was roasted duck, scallion, cucumbers and hoisin sauce wrapped in a tortilla pancake. It was all nicely flavored and balanced and the fresh cucumbers and scallions were really nice.
On our second adventure, we tried the scallion pancakes. I’m not sure why they called them pancakes, especially since they stood them up in little triangles, but they were nice and crispy. I think they were lacking in flavor a bit, but I couldn’t eat the sauce (due to peppers). That probably would have balanced it better.
I also took the second set of pictures with my brand new camera. I have had my old camera for nearly 3 years, and while it suited my purposes, it is old enough that the zoom stopped working and the lens would stick. So it was time for a new one. My sister did some research to help me narrow down the options and I went to B&H Camera to try them out. Turns out, a lot has improved in 3 years! I wound up very happily leaving with the Fujifilm FX1 after testing it in low light, up close situations. This was taken in extreme low light, and it’s a point and shoot, yet it still got clarity and depth of focus. YAY! (First round pics taken midday by a bright window with my iPhone 5).
In the first round, Mike tried the Bah Mee Moo Daeng from the Specialty Noodles section, which was roast pork, minced pork, golden fish ball, fried chicken and shrimp wonton, half sliced egg and egg noodles. He enjoyed it, and I thought it had a really nice lemongrass flavor.
But mine was awesome. I got the Crispy Rard Nah which came with sautéed gravy. sautéed chinese broccoli in gravy over crispy egg noodles or chow fun noodles. (I got mine with egg noodles). Our waitress warned that the noodles were fried first to be crispy, but then were put in the sauce so didn’t come out as such. What I really didn’t expect was that the “gravy” would actually be more like soup. But OHHH was it delicious. Very umami in flavor. I really enjoyed it.
So when we went back a few weeks later, both Mike and I got that dish. Mike got his with duck and including peppers.
And I decided to try the chow fun (thick noodles) version which came with Chinese broccoli only (different vegetables from the egg noodles version). It was very good, but I preferred the other vegetables (though the thick noodles were really great).
I also have to pat myself on the back for my next decision, which was to get an add on of pork cracklings and a pah-lo egg. These were absolutely fantastic additions to the soupy dish. The cracklings added salty, crispyness and they were not at all stale (something that I was starting to assume just came with the territory of pork cracklings). And the egg is mildly sweet (in a good way) and was delicious in the gravy.
We were so pleasantly surprised by our meal(s) here. I haven’t had “noodles” like this before, and have stuck to the Pad See Ew and Pad Thai dishes at most Thai restaurants. But these dishes were really superior and were just perfect on a cold, snowy December night. Total comfort food, even though it was totally foreign. And the portions were very large with lots and lots of meat in each bowl. Very glad to have this place within walking distance!
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10