Nowadays, you can stumble upon a Thai restaurant every 7 blocks or so. Some are great, but lots are only passable, which is why you need to do some research to figure out the best ones in your neighborhood. Thankfully, my co-workers did this research for me and confirmed Thai Villa is the best spot near our office. They’re not the only ones: remember the scene in Master of None where Dev goes to a restaurant with his fam and shocks them by ordering pork? That was Thai Villa. That show is as much a “best of” for bars and restaurants as it is a commentary on early 30s life in NYC, so if they approve, so do I.
First of all, the decor was unexpectedly ornate. They took a colonial Asia approach with lots of wood, golden lighting emanating from massive chandeliers, and deep burnt red tones throughout. It felt a little much for lunch, but nobody seemed to mind because it was packed at 12:30 on a Wednesday (always a good sign).
They run a pretty great lunch special: soup or salad + mini appetizer + entree for about $15 with tax. That’s if you get chicken, like me, in your entree. Seafood or duck will cost you a little more, veggies or tofu will be a little less. It was a snowy day so I went with the soup, something I never get when I order Thai. I loved the flavor and am pretty sure there was lemongrass in there. I’ll get it again even when the weather is nice. For my appetizer I went with the shrimp and pork dumplings. I was disappointed at first to only see two of them on the plate, but they were surprisingly hearty and, again, had great flavor. When it came to the entree, I had to order pad see ew because it’s pretty much what I always order my first time at a Thai restaurant. It’s a standard dish so I’m able to easily compare it to other restaurants and make an overall judgement. Their version was one of the better ones I’ve had when it comes to takeout – not too dry. It was good enough for me to say that if this was near my apartment, it could become a regular Sunday order. For sure it will become a regular work lunch treat.