“Sura Thai Kitchen” reviewed by Lauren April
2656 Broadway (b/w 100 and 101st St)
New York, NY 10025
I’m almost afraid to write about Sura Thai Kitchen for fear that I won’t be able to get a table when I want one! I love that I’ve come in for dinner random weekday evenings and for brunch on the weekends and have never had to wait. They seem to do a lot of takeout business, so that’s good for people like me who prefer to dine in. ;)
Sura is a long, narrow space modernly decorated in black, white, and mirrors. Add the interesting, calming tunes in the background to the always courteous, friendly servers, and you’ll find that it’s a surefire way to have a relaxing meal.
My favorite, healthful, gluten/dairy free appetizers are the trio mushroom salad (with roasted rice powder for crunch!), the oriental salad (which has mixed greens, steamed quail eggs, and some fried taro strips and beet shreds on top. It’s served with peanut dressing, which I always order on the side so as not to have too much), and the green papaya salad (fresh, crunchy, and delicious! Plus, papaya is a natural digestive aid; A great way to start your meal!). If you’re allergic to peanuts, that last dish only has the peanuts sprinkled on top, so you can order it without them, and it would still be tasty. ;)
Thai cuisine plays off of 5 contrasting flavors: spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and bitter combined together to create intensely flavored, satisfying food. I have, however, found that Sura sometimes overdoes the “sweet” component on a few of their appetizers. The Tom Yum soup and many of the salads (BBQ Spicy Beef Salad, Crispy Duck and Green Apple Salad, and Chinese Sweet Sausage Salad) were all very flavorful, but a touch too sweet. I did enjoy the flavor combinations, but if you are trying to avoid sugars, I would recommend steering clear of these dishes.
One odd appetizer to avoid was the Thai Coconut Boston lettuce Cup. It has coconut, shallots, peanuts, and ginger inside fresh lettuce cups drizzled with tamarind sauce, but I simply didn’t enjoy a mouthful of all those dry ingredients. It also seemed way more suited as a dessert since it was overly sweet as an appetizer.
If you’re dining out with people who like dumplings, all of my friends have enjoyed these cute, little bundles as appetizers. If you’re gluten-free like me, then avoid them as they have wheat-based outsides.
There are many wonderful main dishes, so it’s hard to go wrong! Nothing is ever greasy or heavy, and everything is flavorful! Sura gives generous portions of protein and fresh vegetables, both perfectly cooked. Almost all of the noodle dishes are made with rice noodles (gluten free!), and you can substitute ginger brown rice for any of the dishes served with jasmine rice. Also, they definitely know how to make spicy food here, so if you like your food hot, rest assured that they will prepare it as such!
Two of my favorite, healthful dishes are the Garlic Medley Greens, which is a mix of fresh veggies cooked with your choice of protein in a light garlic sauce and the Pad Thai (I know, I know, it’s a totally cliché Thai dish, but Sura does it the best, and you will feel good after eating it!). The Roasted Duck with Red Curry is also amazing!
*Bonus Tip! If you’re in the mood for something a little more indulgent like fried fish, know that there is no breading, so you can eat it and stay gluten-free! *
One of the dessert options is Baked Taro Root Custard, served warm and made from taro root, coconut milk, sugar, and a small amount of flour. It has the texture of a thick coconut custard pie, but it’s dairy free! I only just found out that it has some flour in it, so if you can tolerate a small amount of gluten (I can, and I’ve eaten this dessert many times and always felt great), then you will love this! It’s seriously one of my favorite desserts anywhere!
Here’s my final secret about this place… They serve 3 courses for only $8 on the weekends from 11:30am to 4pm. However, I’m hoping Sura’s uptown location will dissuade you from going, so I can continue keeping this spot all to myself! ;)