Montague Street, the main shopping and dining drag in Brooklyn Heights has long been known as a drag when it comes to its restaurant scene.
In stark contrast, Smith Street sings its haute (hot) cuisine siren's song and Brooklyn Heights residents follow to sup at dining establishments which vary from Zagat fave The Grocery and lauded contemporary American Chestnut to Thai top spot Tuk Tuk and late-night French bistro Bar Tabac.
So, it was with great pleasure that Gothamist spied a new - rather hip - addition to Montague Street's paltry collection of restaurants: Thai 101. The restaurant's interior is trendier than anything else on the strip, featuring a blend of austere ultra modern elements with a selection of Asian antiquities.
Unfortunately, the night that Gothamist paid call, the place was packed. Could Montague have finally found a foodie haunt worth crowing about? The crowd was a good sign - but ultimately it comes down to the food. Not willing to wait for a table, three dishes were selected and a take-out order was placed.
The appetizer of Goong Kra-Bok ($7), two spring rolls of a sort, encasing succulent jumbo shrimp and shitake mushrooms, wasn't exactly authentic - but addictive. The crunch of the spring roll skin combined with the juicy shrimp, rich woody mushrooms and the sweet chile dipping sauce was a winner. The salad course, Yum Pla Muk Tod ($7), consisting of a few green leaves, watercress and crispy fried calamari in a fresh lime soy dressing was also quite tasty - but at this point Gothamist maxxed out on the "fried" quotient.
As a grand finale we decided to really put Thai 101 through its paces and order the penultimate Thai noodle dish: Pad Thai ($8 veg/$10 chicken/$15 jumbo shrimp). Expecting the usual gloppy tamarind mess that usually passes for Pad Thai, it was refreshing to get a dish that wasn't sickly sweet. Yet, it just didn't set Gothamist's tastebuds aflutter. Something was missing. What could it be? Oh, yes: flavor.
Still, two out of three ain't bad. And, by Gothamist's count that equation gets you to 101 - Thai 101 that is.
101 Montague Street (btwn. Henry & Hicks)