Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park is shaping up as a new Thai restaurant destination with the opening of two spots: Mondayoff and Corthaiyou — both well worth visiting from anywhere in the city. Over the weekend, some friends and I set out to discover which one is better so far.
Located at the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Cortelyou Road, Mondayoff is an offshoot of Prospect Heights’ Look By Plant Love House that’s more spacious and showy, with hanging plants, white furniture, and a neon sign at the far end of a long room that reads, “All Day I Dream Of Mondayoff.”
We liked the hor mok pla ($15), a chunky fish mousse steamed in a banana leaf, too rarely found in Thai restaurants. The gai yang ($17) was good too, a gigantic grilled quarter chicken flavored with pandan and lemongrass, generously accompanied by a green papaya salad, a couple of dipping sauces, and sticky rice — though we agreed the version at Pok Pok was a little better, since it’s grilled outdoors. By contrast, we found larb moo ($10) a bit on the minimalist side, the ground pork salad flavored with onion, mint, and cilantro. Isaan sour sausage ($9) was another highlight, as it is at the Prospect Heights establishment.
A few blocks east, right on burgeoning-with-new-restaurants Cortelyou Road, find Corthaiyou. Like Mondayoff, it is a shade more elegant (and pricey) than its Elmhurst Thai counterparts, clad in stained wood that covers the floors and lattices the walls, making the interior feel like the hold of a sailing ship. A glassed-in kitchen allows customers to see food as it’s prepared, while a passageway leads to a backyard not yet open for dining.
The larb moo ($9) was better than the one at Mondayoff, classically furnished with the crudité that accompany many Isaan dishes, though it needed a further squeeze of lime. We also enjoyed chicken-stuffed curry puffs, flakier than at most places, and gui chai, triangular chive pancakes that were like mini-lasagnas (both $7). But the pièce de résistance of our meal was the amazing kwei thew ped ($13), a duck soup with broad rice noodles, which boasted a broth laced with five-spice powder of infinite subtlety.
Yes, both restaurants are emphatically worth visiting, with several unique dishes apiece, though sadly, no beer to accompany them. At this point, Corthaiyou is in the lead, but that could change overnight as Mondayoff ups its game with sharper spicing. We’ll be watching.