good shmeats

one food-loving vegetarian taking New York City's restaurants one plate at a time.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Long Tan - Park Slope

Long Tan
196 5th Avenue (between Union and Berkley)
Brooklyn, NY

I adore living in Park Slope - it is friendly, familiar, and manages to maintain a counter culture edge, despite the plethora of strollers wheeling around Seventh Avenue. But until recently, I did not take dining in Park Slope seriously. There seemed to be a few acceptable places to take visiting parents, but I rarely invited friends to my neighborhood to eat dinner, unless I was cooking for them. Recently, however (over the last five years and especially in the last two), an influx of new restaurants has left Fifth Avenue glittering with culinary jewels.

Long Tan on Fifth and Union Street is certainly among these new treasures.

Long Tan doubles as a Thai restaurant and a hipster-friendly bar. Stepping inside, guests are visually greeted with warm reds, browns, and golds (which felt especially welcome on a cold, slushy night.) The decor is polished, but not oppressively glossy or sleek. Modern, angular design is softened by natural touches like billowy paper lanterns and oversized cherry branches resting in vases around the room. I had felt hesitant to leave my apartment the day after New Year's Eve with a scratchy throat and encroaching stuffy nose. But I soon realized that Long Tan felt as comfortable as my living room - and quite a bit classier.

Hoping to warm ourselves quickly, my friend and I scanned the lengthy drink list. A quick discussion concluded that it probably isn't wise to order a mojito from a bar linked to a Thai (and not a Cuban) restaurant. She decided on a ginger kamikaze (ginger vodka, triple sec, and lime for $7). I sipped an uninspired glass of Australian shiraz ($6), growing a bit envious of my dinner mates slightly flushed cheeks.

Fortunately, our food came too quickly for me to dwell on my careless drink choice. My friend ordered a Beef Satay appetizer with Spicy Peanut Sauce ($6) and a Chicken Coconut Galangal Soup ($5). Galangal, our menu informed us, is a less spicy, more citrusy cousin of ginger.

I tried the Wok Seared Udon Noodles with Tofu and Asian Greens ($10). What arrived was an uncomplicated, steaming bowl of comfort food - oh, how did they know that was exactly what I needed? With my chopsticks, I hunted through the dish for the silky tofu chunks. The tofu was tender and giving and played a perfect foil to the chewy, shoe-string licorice noodles. The subtly spicy greens were accompanied by carrots and sauteed red onions. They were all wrapped in an accomplished sauce, layered with garlic, soy sauce and a shy hint of sweetness.

"How is everything?" our waitress asked. Good enough to stay for desert, we decided.

I completed my meal with a Pot de Creme ($6), which came in a ceramic brulee pot and topped - somewhat superfluously - with whipped cream. The fudgy chocolate cream stuck indecently to my spoon. I scooped out measured bites, acutely aware that each spoonful took me closer the inevitable end.

My friend and I talked, digested, and avoided leaving. When it became apparent that we were closing the place down (like most dual bar/restaurants, Long Tan's bar stays open later than the restaurant), we left and walked briskly down Fifth Avenue, huddled against the chill, headed home. Despite the cold and with Long Tan's glowing warmth still in mind, I peeked excitedly into other new restaurant windows along Fifth avenue, looking forward to the year to come.


At 8:47 PM, Blogger 'Thought & Humor' said...

If I could speak in any
language in heaven or
on earth but didn't love
others, I would only be
making meaningless noise
like a loud gong or a
clanging cymbal. If I
had the gift of prophecy,
and if I knew all the
mysteries of the future
and knew everything
about everything, but
didn't love others, what
good would I be? And
if I had the gift of faith
so that I could speak
to a mountain and make
it move, without love
I would be no good to
anybody. If I gave
everything I have to
the poor and even
sacrificed my body,
I could boast about it;
but if I didn't love others,
I would be of no value
whatsoever. Love is
patient and kind. Love
is not jealous or boastful
or proud or rude. Love
does not demand its
own way. Love is not
irritable, and it keeps
no record of when it
has been wronged.
It is never glad about
injustice but rejoices
whenever the truth
wins out. Love never
gives up, never loses
faith, is always hopeful,
and endures through
every circumstance.

May You Always
Experience This
Kind Of Love,
Dr. Howdy


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