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Review: Sabai Thai is a modern Thai restaurant in New York City

Sabai Thai is a modern Thai restaurant in Manhattan. Their menu blends Thai favorites with a modern Western twist.

Sabai Thai
Dishes at Sabai Thai in New York. Photo Courtesy of Sabai Thai.
Dishes at Sabai Thai in New York. Photo Courtesy of Sabai Thai.

Sabai Thai is a modern Thai restaurant in Manhattan. Their menu blends Thai favorites with a modern Western twist.

This journalist had the opportunity to dine for lunch at Sabai Thai on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

A taste of Thai in New York City

Particularly impressive about Thai cuisine is that the mother country is divided into four regions: North, Central, Northeast, and West. Each of these regions in Thailand has its own distinct specialties that display the intricacy, complexity, and richness of the country’s cuisine.

Sabai Appetizer Sampler
Sabai Appetizer Sampler. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Appetizers

For “Ar Harn Wang,” which means “appetizers” in Thai, the “Sabai Sampler” is the way to start. It is a selection of fried calamari dumplings, spring rolls (that are soft and tasty inside), curry puffs, and chicken satay, which was quite tender.

Another highlight is their “Crispy Garlic Shrimp,” which consists of fried shrimp that are topped with scallions, and Thai spiced garlic.

Crispy Garlic Shrimp
Crispy Garlic Shrimp at Sabai. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Main Courses

Their “Crispy Basil Duck” was noteworthy. It consisted of roasted duck, onion, red bell pepper, as well as Thai basil. (For people that enjoy spicy food, it can also come with Thai chili).

Crispy Basil Duck at Sabai Thai
Crispy Basil Duck at Sabai Thai. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Another solid choice for an entrée would be the “Thai Style Udon Noodles” topped with flank steak, which is slightly spicy yet still savory.

Thai Style Udon Noodles with Flank Steak
Thai Style Udon Noodles with Flank Steak. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

‘Pad See Ew’ (Thai Stir Fried Noodles)

For rice and noodles, patrons can also get the popular “Pad See Ew,” which are flat rice noodles coupled with Chinese broccoli and eggs.

These stir fried noodles may be topped with such proteins as beef, shrimp, chicken, tofu, vegetable, or roasted duck. This journalist chose the latter (roasted duck) and was pleased with this selection, especially since the duck meat was tender.

Pad See Ew
Pad See Ew at Sabai Thai. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Desserts

Of course, no lunch meal is complete without dessert. Their “Mango Sticky Rice” is a seasonal selection which is comprised of fresh mango slices, coconut cream, as well as sticky rice. This dessert is a must for anybody that enjoys the fruit of mango.

Mango Sticky Rice
Mango Sticky Rice at Sabai Thai. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

“Khanom Pang” is their homemade vanilla ice cream, bread and sticky rice. The addition of raspberries and blackberries and corn flakes on top helped enhance the creativity of the presentation.

Khanom Pang
Khanom Pang at Sabai Thai. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

The Verdict

Overall, Sabai Thai is a remarkable Thai eatery in the heart of Manhattan. The ambiance is warm and pleasant, the servers and hostesses are highly professional, courteous and attentive to the patrons’ needs, and the presentations of their meals are quite elegant.

It certainly lives up to its namesake “Sabai,” which means happiness and relaxation/comfort in English. This restaurant has a retro vibe to it all while simultaneously presenting a modern twist to the traditional Thai dishes that it serves.

It is evident that the Thai cuisine has a harmonious balance of such diverse flavors as sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.

This is the quintessential restaurant to learn more about the Thai cuisine, as well as to explore the Thai hospitality further. There is something in it for everybody. Sabai Thai garners an A rating.

To learn more about Sabai Thai, check out their official homepage, and follow the restaurant on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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