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Zingy Thai Fried Chicken from Lauded Fish Cheeks Chef Heads to Midtown

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Chef Chat Suansilphong will be frying chicken at Gai Chicken and Rice

A bowl of light-colored fried chicken rests atop rice next to cucumber, greens, and a side of red chili sauce Gai Chicken and Rice [Official Photo]

The lauded Thai cooking from a chef behind Noho hit Fish Cheeks will expand yet again into takeout form, this time with a fried chicken-focused spot in Midtown.

Next month, acclaimed chef Chat Suansilphong will open Gai Chicken and Rice at 158 East 45th St., near Third Avenue, a takeout operation serving Thai fried chicken, wings, and a Hainanese-style poultry and rice dish known as khao man gai in Thailand. The opening comes on the heels of Chicks Isan, a Thai street food stall that the chef’s brother Ohm brought to Downtown Brooklyn’s Dekalb food hall late last year; the star duo has worked at Fish Cheeks since it opened in 2016.

At Chat Suansilphong’s new restaurant Gai Chicken and Rice, steamed chicken adapted from a recipe that stems from Hainan in Southern China will be served with a ginger chile sauce, and diners can choose between dark or white chicken meat.

It’ll be takeout or delivery only, with a tight menu including two types of fried chicken and two flavors of wings also on tap, including the popular Zabb wings, a Fish Cheeks favorite seasoned with a spicy Dorito-like mixture of chili, lime, and toasted rice. See it in full below.

Chef Suansilphong has partnered with Ace Watanasuparp and Chatchai Huadwattana of Obao and Spot Dessert Bar for the new restaurant, a tiny 400-square-foot spot.

Suansilphong and his brother Ohm have been praised by Eater and the Times for their regional Thai cooking at Fish Cheeks, an Eater 38 member. Previously, the chef spent time working with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.

It’s another spot from the Fish Cheeks team, which has been quite busy lately: Ohm, the brother, recently opened Thai street food stall Chicks Isand at Dekalb Market Hall with owner Jenn Saesue, but a spokesperson says Saesue isn’t involved in this new project.

As for pricing, the wings will cost $7.95 for eight, $15.95 for 15, and $22.95 for 24. The rest of the dishes will be $11.95 and come with gingered rice and daikon radish soup, a spokesperson says.

Gai Chicken and Rice doesn’t have a set opening date yet, though it’s on track to open the week of May 13. Hours will be Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends it’ll open on noon. Stay tuned.

Gai Chicken and Rice menu

Gai Chicken and Rice

158 East 45th St., NY, NY