The Lime leaf is located at an unassuming corner of Broadway on the Upper West Side in the 100’s. The exterior has cafe-style seating bordered by a bright, if garish green trim that beckons your attention. DO NOT let the unassuming if bright exterior fool you. This restaurant is an absolute gem.
I had occasion to go there for the first time recently when a family member from out of town came to visit. She was seriously jonesing for some good Thai food, and I wanted a place near where she was staying, so I wrote this place down on the response I read online. I was eager to make sure that the restaurant was clean, respectable and provided both a good atmosphere for conversation and excellent, authentic cuisine.
In particular, I knew that she would be looking for green curry, which she happens to adore, and I figured that we could walk up and check the place out and then move on if we didn’t like it. As luck would have it, WE LOVED IT.
We arrived mid-evening on a Friday night when most of the Upper Westies were either out in the Hamptons keeping up with the Jonese or down at the beach somewhere, so we had the place at a perfect time. There was no crowd to fight, but it wasn’t dead either.
We sat inside. There was a tight, corner booth with a table jammed into it, and, being a larger fellow, I was concerned it might be a problem, but, as luck would have it, we were just two, and I put my leg up on the seat next to me for some extra room (HOW AWFUL!).
The drink orders were taken right away, and, as I do any time I eat at a Thai restaurant, I had the Thai Iced tea. For the uninitiated, a Thai Iced tea is a pleasant experience unto itself. I cannot begin to describe it appropriately to you except to say, add a dash of coconut milk to a traditional tea, and serve sweet & cold. I must insist that you sample this if you go to the Lime Leaf. It was definitely worth it, although Thai Iced tea is pretty much the same everywhere that I have been.
During the wait for the food to arrive, we were served spicy peanut sauce with puffed crisps that were, by all accounts, the best I have ever had. I am pretty sure that if they are not made on the premises, they must be made close by, because they were fresh and not at all stale.
Our order included appetizers, and we split a plate of Thai Vegetable spring rolls. Don’t confuse these gems with Chinese Egg Rolls, they are completely different. The taste is a little more subtle and the ingredients are completely different.
Our main course was the Gang Keow Wan (Green Curry) which includes Cocnut Milk, Pineapple, Cherry Tomato, Basil, Chili and Lime Leaf, and I had the Pad Khing (Sauteed with Ginger, Mushroom, Scallions & Onions). In both cases we had Jasmine Rice, and we complimented this with a glass of sauvingnon blanc for my guest and iced water for myself.
The food was presented with all of the attention to detail that only a good chef gives. The food was delivered with a smile, and we were checked on at least twice during the entire meal. More importantly, and my guest agreed, it was the best Thai food that I had ever had. And my guest travels in some international circles, so she would know.
We had arrived at about 7:30 or 8:00 PM, and during the meal, the sun began to set, turning the restaurant from a quaint cafe to a more romantic spot. Candle light bathed each table, and the conversation came very easily in this relaxed atmosphere. As a recommendation for the uninitiated, you should definitely plan on getting something to split with your other guest, because the food is too good not to try a little of everything.
I consider myself somewhat of a gourmand, despite an admitted unfamiliarity with Thai Cuisine beyond my own limited experiences, but I would recommend this place to anyone as a reasonable NYC Thai place that definitely offers great value for your money. If you are seeking a nice romantic spot, this is it. If you like to catch up with old friends, this place is great for casual conversation, and if you like to people watch, the front cafe seating is right on B-Way.
Location, atmosphere and more improtantly, excellent food make this spot a gem of the Upper West Side.
You have the added benefit of being able to get delivery if you live between 80th Street and 125th Street. between Riverside Drive and Central Park West Their minimum on delivery orders is $15, which isn’t at all unreasonable.
Appetizers, Soups & Salads are below $7 lunch or dinner;
Noodles run to about $12.00;
Curries & Sautees, run to about $13.00;
and the Seafood Entrees run to about $15.00
The specialties include Gai Yang(BBQ Half Chicken), Hor Mok Talay(Seafood Curry) & Pad Medmaumaung Talay(Seafood with Cashew Nuts) and they can all be ordered for under $17.00.
Drinnks run standard prices for manhattan, and alcoholic drink specialties include a Pomegranete and Blueberry Martini, Godiva White Chocolate Martini and even a Ginger Martini for about $7.00.
All told, I think we spent $60.00 for a phenomenal meal with great atmosphere.
This is their website: http://www.limeleaf-nyc.com/
Happy eating. If you aren’t on the Upper West Side, then take a trip up the B or D to 103rd or 110th and head West to Broadway. I highly recommend this gem.