It is no secret that New Yorkers have a love affair with Thai food. It is perhaps for this reason that this spring NYC celebrated its first ever Thai festival, where New Yorkers got to taste Thai cuisine from some of the most popular restaurants in the city. When it comes to Thai food, we have plenty of choices, but among the sea of options there are a few who stand out. Our recent visit to Sabai Thai allowed us to taste dishes from Central Thailand, a region influenced by many cultures, resulting in courses that differ from the more traditional family style of eating throughout the rest of Thailand. 

The interior mixes tradition with elegance, featuring wood and other natural elements. Their spacious bar is the focal point of the restaurant, and they take their cocktail making seriously. The drink program is run by their manager, Demetrius Butler, and features cocktails like Koh Pha Ngan, which is a mix of Roku house-infused raspberry gin, Aperol, rosemary syrup, lime, and egg white, as well as the fan-favorite Pink Lychee Martini, made with Haku vodka, lychee and lemon. Once you’ve settled on your cocktails, be prepared to order from an extensive menu, by Executive Chef Mingmitr Amnuaypanich. The menu includes all your cherished Thai favorites but with a sophisticated Western twists. 

Do take notice of the staff uniforms. Sabai Thai’s owner, Karan Daryanani, explained to us that the uniforms are from the Central region of Thailand and reflect traditional clothing used for formal occasions. Cocktails and uniforms aside, the food is the real star here. We recommend being adventurous and deriving from your usual Thai food order. The most unique dishes on the menu encapsulate the central Thai region. Among them are; the Thung Thong (crispy dumplings), the steamed Branzino special (seen in the photo at the top of this post), and the Crispy Basil Duck. 

As owner Karan Daryanani explained, “The Thung Thong emerged during the reign of King Rama V, taken from Chinese influences, and was given a Thai spin. Its Thai name can be translated to “money/gold bags” so it is most commonly eaten for auspicious occasions.” The Crispy Basil Duck is likely the most decadent dish on the menu, using the Kra Pao herb. Karan Daryanani tells us, “The Kra Pao is an herb found most commonly in Thailand that has its own distinct smell and, as the star of the dish, the simple stir fry way of cooking is meant to emphasize it. At Sabai, we douse our fried duck breast in this stir fry and top it with crisped-up basil leaves for even more added texture.” 

From the appetizers to the main entrees, food at Sabai Thai is beautifully presented and packed with mouth-watering flavors. The cocktails were the real surprise, and will have us coming back for more. While we tried a little bit of everything, we could not miss out on trying everyone’s favorite dish, the Pad Thai. This time we opted for something a bit different and ordered Sabai Thai’s signature Pad Thai. The dish is served with the noodles wrapped in egg and to top it off we opted for the Tiger Prawn. This flavorful and unique dish was the perfect combination of sweet and savory. 

Sabai Thai offers powerful flavors and a distinctive menu. It is no wonder it was busy and buzzing with excitement. It is the kind of place you can come to for a casual lunch, or for a special celebration. The restaurant will soon offer a happy hour menu, featuring more specialty cocktails and Thai-style tapas under the concept of Gub Glaem. 

Grab your favorite dining companion and head to Sabai Thai for a deliciously good time. They serve both lunch and dinner, including a plethora of vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

Sabai Thai, 432 Park Ave S (betw 29th / 30th St), Flatiron District