176 N. 9th
After just dipping our toe the rental world (good god) its naive to pretend the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, where I’ve lived over a decade, haven’t changed. It’s also, I have to remember, grumpy to resent it. After all, I was part of the beginning of these changes and I sure didn’t like being resented for it, but all that knowledge doesn’t make a mammoth, hologram-bedazzled, meat packing restaurant with a kama sutra bathroom (that surely made the copywriters of Thrillest faint with the innuendo opportunities), any less unnerving… After all, the conversion of this part of Brooklyn to an extension of pricey Manhattan has actually driven us out of the city (we move West in three weeks).
Fortunately for you all we leave behind, Qi Thai Grill also has good food. It reminds me a lot of the late Planet Thai: A place for new Brooklynites to take their parents (who are helping with the astronomical rents) to show off what a cool place they are moving to. Yet, it’s also a place that locals can get a decent meal (good Thai in the area is a rarity) including some cheap lunch deals.
One big positive about the menu, which is already drawing crowds because of the chefs who hail from Pong and (the ever awesome and considerably less glamorous) Sripraphai, is that it’s not afraid to go spicy and as much as possible features traditional, even challenging ingredients: beef tendon, pork trotters and jaws sit next to Pad Thai (for the less adventurous). Even with that dish, though, you’re encouraged to try the traditional way – with dried shrimp (which does sound great).
I opted for a very filling Chicken Chiang Mai Noodle that had a flavorful curry broth and was perfect for the chilly weather. Of all our appetizers, the spicy wings were the biggest hit but the papaya salad and curry puffs are also worth a taste.