Lantern Thai Kitchen has closed at 85 Avenue A... and a sign for its replacement is up (you could actually read it if this photo wasn't blurry). The Bangkok-based Somtum Der will be opening here soon...
The eatery is the first in the United States for Thanaruek Laoraowirodge, who is growing a mini-empire of restaurants in Bangkok.
Here's a quote from him in BK (Bangkok) magazine:
"People in New York already have a good perception of Thai food. They are not just familiar with tom yam, but regional dishes too."
Here's a 3-star (out of 5) review of Somtum Der via BK:
Together with Chef Kornthanut Thongnum, Khon Kaen-native Thanaruek Laoraowirodge has brought his Isaan roots to the capital in the shape of this somtam-focused restaurant whose objective is to steer our taste buds back towards Northern Isaan, and away from the sweeter flavors that Bangkokians so cherish.
Of the score of somtam varieties available, standouts include the tam sua Sakon Nakhon (B65), which comes with freshwater crab and kratin beans, and the tam pla tu khao man (B85), which comes with mackerel and is served with a comforting side of rice cooked in coconut milk. In very different ways, they’re both exemplary of what Thai food does best: balancing a range of flavors and textures. Of course, there’s also a long list of usual suspects, from laabs to tom saep, all equally well executed. We’re less impressed with the deep-fried or grilled meats.
Lantern Thai Kitchen opened in January 2012, replacing Cafetasia, which sported the 100-ounce beer tube.
The Lantern remains open on Second Avenue at 18th Street.