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Somtum Der - Isan Thai in the East Village and Red Hook Brooklyn

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I had a wonderful and unique meal here a couple days before Thanksgiving.  It reminded me of the very early days of Bangkok Golden in Bailey's Crossroads (I haven't been to Thip Khao yet so I can't compare the two).  What I mean is, there were a lot of different flavors and presentations that prior to going to Bangkok Golden, I was completely unfamiliar with.  Lots of bright acidy flavors alongside of some nice heat.

You sit at big, long communal tables and we were seated next to a local pro who was showing the place off to some out of town friends.  It was quickly apparent that he was quite familiar with the place and most of the dishes offered.  We took his advice on what to order and I honestly don't remember what we got but it was all great.  His advice in a nutshell was, "everything is good, but their signature dishes are the ones with the biggest pictures on the menu".  (The menu was many pages long and each page had one large picture (covering 1/3 - 1/2 of the page) and a few more small pictures with the descriptions of the dishes, obviously).  The menu is presented on their website and it's kind of cool and kind of annoying at the same time.  There are photos of each dish with a description, but you have to click on each one individually, which opens up a new page with a full size photo of each dish, so it will probably take you 50 clicks ( and 50 back buttons) to see the entire thing.

The reservation process for this place was a bit of a mystery and I couldn't get it to work.  On their website when you click the Reservation button, you get a choice to make the reservation through Yelp or through Open Table both via the restaurant's web site.  Every time and date I picked on both systems showed there were no available reservations.  I even went out a month and tried to make a lunch reservation on a random Tuesday and it still told me there were no reservations, so I'm guessing something is jacked up on their end. 

I ended up calling them (Apparently, they don't pick up the phone until the restaurant is officially open...…..At 5:59, no answer.  At 6:01 someone answered!) and found that they take walk ins and they had room that night.  [Another bit of weirdness:  their website says they're open from Noon - 11pm, but yelp lists them with lunch hours (12 - 4) and dinner hours (6-10).  My experience mimicked yelp's hours not their website.]

Sorry this "review" is so light on details of the food.  It was all a bit of a blur, but it was a tasty blur!

We went to the East Village location, but they also have one in Red Hook Brooklyn. 


Here's the link to the NYC Michelin Guide:  https://guide.michelin.com/us/en/new-york-state/new-york/restaurant/somtum-der

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