When you first thumb through the menu at Eat-pisode, the new Lower East Side Thai joint on Ludlow Street, you might cringe that the pages are numbered "Eat-pisode 1," "Eat-pisode 2," and so on, as though they are chapters into gastronomic revelation. Fortunately, all of the cringing stops there, and delectable food by the husband-wife team of Wara and Natalee Supulchai (also owners of Poh Tree Thai Spa across the street from the restaurant), far surpasses what you might expect from the restaurant's name, which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
The menu combines both northern and southern Thai cuisine, diverting from the usually over-sweetened sauces ubiquitous in most of Manhattan's Thai food. Pad Thai takes a back seat to specials like duck tamarind (roasted duck with tamarind sauce and crisp fried onions), exceedingly fresh salads combining sour and sweet through chili, lime, ginger, garlic, peanut, and pineapple, and a roster of fresh fish topped in sublimely garlicky sauces.
On a recent night, Gothamist paid heed to Eat-pisode's BYOB policy and picked up a bottle of white at nearby wine shop, September, before heading to our meal. We started with the namesake Eat-pisode roll--black sticky rice stuffed with minced chicken, turnip, and onions, and topped with coconut sauce and roasted sesame. Much sweeter than expected, and reminiscent of the steamed Korean rice cake, yak sik, this might actually make for a better dessert than meal-starter, since the sweet overpowers the savory. We also shared the yom duk salad, and declared it the best we'd eaten in months. Tender roasted duck tops a generous bed of mixed greens, apples, pineapple, red onion, and ground peanuts, with a chili lime sauce whose bite counters the sweetness of the fruit. After scraping every last shred of carrot from the salad bowl, we licked our lips and firmly declared it "soo good."
A Thai meal wouldn't be complete without at least one curry, so we next tried the Kang Khua, a spicy red coconut milk based curry with the sweetness of pineapple, and generously full of plump mussels andfresh shrimp. Entrees are served with a fluffy mound of fragrant jasmine rice; sticky Thai rice is also available as a side. Our dining companion splurged for the fried whole red snapper (head intact), whose meat was moist and flaky, meaty without being heavy. Steamed broccoli added appreciated greenery to the plate, which was quickly devoured, garlic sauce and all.
As a cozy, BYOB, 35-seat joint, and the most expensive ringing in at under $20.00 (mostly under $15), Eat-pisode offers a filling, flavorful meal willing to diverge from spring rolls and pad thai. Dishes are generous and best when shared, so your palate can dance under the rain of the sour-sweet-savory-salty flavors offered here. The next time you can't make it all the way out to Woodside for Thai at Sripiphai, we recommend a jaunt down to Eat-pisode.
Eat-pisode is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and located at 123 Ludlow Street (between Rivington & Delancey), 212.667.7624.