This week the Underground Gourmet reviews two Thai restaurants that have been on the critic radar lately: in Red Hook and Lan Larb in Soho. The latter earned four stars from Eater's own Robert Sietsema back in December, while Kao Soy just got a generous one star review from Pete Wells last week. The Robs mostly agree, though the stars shake out differently in the end. On the food at Lan Larb:
The som tum (papaya salad) is at once spicy hot and refreshingly cool. The grilled Isan-style sausage served with roasted peanuts and slivers of ginger is snappy, smoky, and mottled with fat. Some of the entrées are impressive: The pla krapong rard prik, a deep-fried whole red snapper bathed in a sweet-tart chile sauce, is good to the last shred of crispy-skinned meat
Ultimately, Kao Soy, which is a little more refined in atmosphere and presentation, gets three stars, while Lan Larb – bare bones, sans liquor license – gets two.