Thai Me Up: Sea vs. Thailand Cafe

Chicken Pad Thai in the East Village of New York City

Thai Me Up: Sea vs. Thailand Cafe

Tonight, in a battle of chicken pad thais, the restaurants Sea and Thailand Cafe stepped forward with their renditions of the popular dish on the East Village Podcasts blog.

As seen in the left of the picture, in the circular dish and costing $8.67, chicken pad thai from Sea located on 2nd Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets in New York City’s East Village. (This is the ‘sister’ restaurant to the Brooklyn version of Sea.)

On the right, and in the metal rectangular pan, and also costing $8.67, chicken pad thai from Thailand Cafe, located one block north of Sea, on 2nd Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets – and also in 10003.

At first glance, I found the presentations jarring. Rectangular, circular? It must mean something.

If you look closely, Thailand Cafe has a selection of fresh, raw vegetables as well as a slice of lime. I took the bait and used my lime to coat the top of the Thailand Cafe offering. Sea’s remained untouched by lime and was veggie-less.

In the beginning

I dove in – Thailand Cafe, first.

I immediately tasted a fruity flavor in the chicken pad thai which, after overcoming my short term memory, I realized was the slice of lime I had sprayed seconds before. Chewing further, the noodles tasted almost peanut butter-y with a slight sweetness (like me). Heavy and thick, the noodles quickly pleased my need to feed.

Moving on to the Sea chicken pad thai, I was a little less interested. There was no lime, no veggies – just a simple circular white bowl with pieces of boneless chicken sprinkled amongst the glassy noodles.

Nevertheless, I dove in – to the Sea. (Nice.)

Very similar, I thought, at first, and I was reminded how chicken pad thai seems to be a bit of a commodity dish when one orders it in a thai restaurant – it’s like french fries. However, Sea’s noodles were a little less greasy than the nearby competitor. And the chicken appeared slightly more plentiful. One other sensory observation: I could have sworn I picked up a little fishy smell or perhaps overcooked veggies. Don’t know. And, ultimately, I did not care.

I had a swig or two my Heineken Light (No promotional fee accepted.).

Chicken Pad Thai Split-Screen in the East Village of New York City

Thai Me Up: Split-Screen

As is my want, I returned to my first taste – the Thailand Cafe version of chicken pad thai. A picture was becoming clear. This stuff is a bit heavier. Sweet, tasty, but heavy. And once I got through the top of the pad thai and its lime taste, the dish felt a bit muddy.

Back to Sea. And yes, these noodles were lighter and they did not stick together, or clump, as you can see from the ‘split screen’. No more odor, either.

The Final Analysis

Similar to the dog fight from last week, I was pleased by the first gulps of food – in this case, chicken pad thai from Thailand Cafe. But, Sea ‘came on’ with its lighter, less greasy noodles and overall better, more consistent taste. The chicken was not as slathered in oils either.

The Winner: The East Village of NYC’s Sea.

Chicken Pad Thai Gulped

Eating Pad Thai

For what it’s worth. I couldn’t finish either dish. I was stuffed and not even halfway done.


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August 22nd, 2007

Entry Filed under: Food - Competitive


  • 1. kim  |  April 20th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    don’t trust a white boy to tell you which pad thai is better from which restaurant.

  • 2. East Village Podcasts Blog  |  April 20th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Insightful! Thanks for your feedback!


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