Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Galanga; Not so Spicy

Any restaurant fortunate enough to be nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village is almost guaranteed to thrive off of the eclectic vibe that the area produces. Approaching the glass front of Galanga Inc., I could see groups of young crowds with NYU sweatshirts and a mixture of older men nursing cocktails at the bar. I was originally drawn to the establishment by a New York Magazine web article that traces the owners’ history back to Wondee Siam, a renown upscale Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.

From the moment I sat down at the tiny table along the glass front that peered onto the brown brick homes along West 4th Street, I immediately felt uncomfortable. The waitress came to the table stone faced, dropped two menus and asked sharply, “What do you want to drink.” I said, “just water” with an apologetic tone wondering if I had done something to insult her. Fortunately, that was the last words she spoke. Throughout the evening, she somehow took our order, refilled our drinks many times, and presented the check without a single word or facial expression.

The hardwood backless stool made my legs fall asleep after about 20 minutes, and the four square-foot table left us with little room for error. The extremely low lighting created a cave-like atmosphere to the point I could only read the menu from six inches away.

None-the-less, I was in the mood for spicy Pad Thai, and I made a point to tell the waitress of exactly how spicy I wanted it. The faintly spicy Pad Thai was the last straw.

I am completely turned off by what was supposed to be an acclaimed Thai restaurant in an area that rarely disappoints. Don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t bad and the price was right ($10-$15 per plate), but it was no different, in quality or taste, than that of your favorite neighborhood Thai take-out hole-in-the-wall. To top it all off, the inconvenience of cash only extended my dining experience with a trip to the ATM next door.

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