New York has a new Thai noodle soup neighborhood stop in Proong Noodle Bar, which opened in February at 347 First Ave., between East 20th and 21st streets — joining a growing but still quite short list of Thai restaurants in New York that specialize in noodle soups.
The soups here come with a choice of noodle — thin rice or heartier egg — as well as toppings such as spicy pork, stewed beef, or an entire chicken quarter, in Instagram-ready mismatched ceramic bowls, according to the website. Beyond soup, small plates range from familiar classics like buns and fried chicken to more uncommon fare like fried mun tou (a fried bun made from condensed milk) and quail egg-and-cheese wonton. Soju cocktails make up the drink list, like the Proong sunrise with soju, triple sec, orange juice, and grenadine.
Prime seating seems to be perched on one of the four stools that overlook the open kitchen to watch chefs plate the noodle soups, though tables are available, too. Large chandeliers add color, while tulips and white-painted bricks lend a homey vibe to the small space.
Thai noodle soup shops are more prominently found in LA than here. NYC has a few, like Pye Boat Noodle in Queens, Look by Plant Love House in Prospect Heights, and Zoob Zib in Midtown West, and though they’re not prolific, these existing Thai noodle shops have gotten a fair amount of attention. In a review, critic Robert Sietsema awarded Pye two stars and Look three stars. It also signals the continued diversity of Thai restaurants opening in New York’s dining scene, which has been adding places beyond neighborhood take-out spots but has yet to come close to LA.
Proong is open daily from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.