Land Thai Kitchen’s Appetizers Are Winners
Once when picking up the delicious ratchaburi from Pure Thai Shophouse, I noticed that they had a sister restaurant on the Upper West Side: Land. Since Pure’s food is so delicious, I reckoned I had to give Land a try. Glad I did.
We ordered take in, including a sampling of their appetizers and a massaman lamb curry.
The mixed appetizers consisted of what they call shrimp parcels, currey chicken puffs and vegetable dumplings. It is served with a trio of sauces for dipping.
I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but the veggie dumplings were the clear winner. I don’t even like veggie dumplings, usually, but there is something about the way Land makes theirs that’s really terrific. It is rich and like quite a lot of Thai food I’ve sampled it has a pretty strong sweet as well. There’s a peanut note in there.
What’s really lovely though is the texture: the filling has a terrific consistency that evokes meat or fish. It doesn’t just reduce to a paste when you get it in your mouth, there’s some chewing to be done, which is lovely.
The shrimp parcel is covered in a light, crispy batter and is absolutely stuffed with a shrimp filling. The flavor is good and shrimpy, the batter adds a salt and a richness. The parcel itself has a rewarding texture: crispy at first, softer and more yielding within. It’s surprisingly meaty, as it were, for a shrimp dumpling.
The chicken curry puff was a bit less satisfying than the other two appetizers. The puff coating is fried, as you can see, and flaky. The flavor of the puff itself evokes a chicken samosa. The texture within is a bit mealy, but only a little. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, but I found it to be the weakest of the three appetizers.
I found the Massaman lamb curry an odd mix of flavors. The curry is made with coconut milk, which is in itself a bit sweet. The spices round out the the flavors of the pearl onions, potato, carrots and string beans. Of course, there’s also the peanut flavor to be reckoned with as well. Between the peanuts, the coconut milk, and the lamb itself, I found the dish to be on the sweet side. It’s not spicy.
I’ve also tried their Pad Thai, which was above average, as far as this staple dish goes. It is not overrun with shrimp, there are just a few of them in there. The bean sprouts were surprisingly crisp despite having steam build up around them in the container as they were being delivered. The rice noodles weren’t as good as those at Pure. Also, they wound up clumping pretty badly – probably a result of the delivery. The portion is well ample for two people, no problem.
All in all, Land is now my go-to spot for Thai on the Upper West Side.