City Pulse

By Andrea Toochin

One of the first pieces of advice I got upon moving to NYC was that New Yorkers never go clubbing on Friday or Saturday – that’s reserved for Thursday or Sunday. The problem with dining and drinking every weekend is the absence of happy hours. Certain I would no longer venture into the creepy dive bars of the East Village, I went in search of a respectable establishment with girly drinks and artist prices. My friend and I were about to give up when my radar zoned in on the words “late night happy hour.” This is how I found Klong.

Tucked away in one of the many small basement lots on Astor Place, Klong automatically differs from the many budget-friendly Asian establishments because most are Japanese and offer slim alcohol selections that start with beer and end with Shochu and Sake. Klong, which means ‘canal’ in Thai, is that perfect place that offers reasonably priced dishes and delectable cocktails, in a laid-back, modern artsy environment, complete with a giant statue, a metal sculpture, funky furniture, and abacus’ employed as bar doors and back walls.

For me, the focal point was the sign that advertised the 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. happy hour, which includes a two-for-one Singha beer option and $8 cocktails for $5. Sri Prai, the endearing bartender, serves up a variety of creative beverages with ease and style. Aside from the selection of beers, which are always $4 each, and the meager selection of wines, which hover around $18 a bottle, the selection ranges from plum and ginger-infused Sake drinks, to elaborate martinis.

The Khing Sake is perfect if you crave a vodka infusion, with a touch of sweetness; it’s a mix of Sake, vodka, ginger, and Thai palm sugar ($8). The Ruby of Siam is another safe bet; it’s a simple mix of citrus vodka, pomegranate juice, and lime juice ($8). But my favorite, for the girly girls craving sugar, spice, and sauce, is Frost in Bangkok Night Market, a martini comprised of vodka, Malibu, Midori, coconut milk, jackfruit, and a pinch of Pandan leaf juice ($8).

Now, if you insist on departing from the liquid diet, which should include water intervals, there’s a plethora of options for meat lovers, vegetarians, and sugar addicts alike. Chef Yoon Amornrat brought traditional Thai recipes from the streets of Bangkok, where she grew up cooking with her mother. Beyond the vast array of noodle dishes, soups, curries, and fried rice options, there are some exceptional specials. Lotus Root Beef marries sirloin and potatoes, with cardamom, cinnamon sticks, lotus seeds, shallots, tamarind juice, and Mussaman curry sauce ($12). For a simpler dish, try the Herbal Tea-Smoked Half Chicken, which is accompanied by steamed spinach ($10). If you’re willing to share, the Thai Stick serves skewered chicken, bell peppers and mangos, marinated with basil, cilantro, sesame, scallions, and aioli, with mango salsa and buckwheat noodles on the side ($13).

Before you sample the Kaffir Lime Pie or the Steamed Banana with sticky rice and coconut ice cream, check out the vegetarian section, which parallels the options at Zen Palate. Not only do they offer tofu, imitation duck, mock chicken, and imitation fish, but you can request a substitution with any dish – that means your vegetarian friend can get any traditional curry or noodle dish on the menu.

Klong is a crowd pleaser for any group, whether you fancy soy protein or some serious sauce.

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Klong
7 Saint Marks Place
212.505.9955
Sun-Thur noon-midnight, Fri-Sat Noon – 2 a.m.

The Public Theater Presents Shakespeare in the Park for Summer 2005
Get Thy Bottom To Central Park and Soaketh Upeth a Bit of Culture!
As You Like It
Directed by Mark Lamos
June 25 – July 17, Tuesday – Sunday (no performances July 13 and July 19)
Free; tickets required. For information, please call 212-539-8750 or visit http://www.publictheater.org

2005 New York Philharmonic Time Warner Concerts In The Parks To Take Place Throughout The Metropolitan Area
July 12-19, 2005 Six of Seven Orchestral Concerts To Be Led by Assistant Conductor Xian Zhang, and To Feature Violinist Karen Gomyo in Her Philharmonic Debut. July 19 Central Park Concert To Be Conducted By Music Director Lorin Maazel, With Cellist Lynn Harrell As Soloist. Complete schedule information on all 2005 New York Philharmonic Time Warner Concerts in the Parks is available by calling the 24-hour New York Philharmonic Hotline: (212) 875-5709, or by visiting the Philharmonic’s Website at http://www.newyorkphilharmonic.org.

Lincoln Center Festival 2005:
July 12 – July 31

Every summer, the Lincoln Center Festival presents a wide array of stunning performances of dance, theater, music, opera, and circus from around the world. These innovative works explore both the classic and the contemporary, often reinventing them into unforgettable performances that defy any specific category.

For more information log on to http://www.lincolncenter.com

Originally published July 2005
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