A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Jan. 5.

Dinner

Sea
– 75 2nd Ave., East Village
Tup-Tim Fritters, Chicken Drunk Man Noodles
$14

Another night, another Thai craving. I left work tonight at a reasonable time (eight o’clock) because I had to pull my first all-nighter at the office yesterday. For about ten hours straight, I was confined to my desk, reading and summarizing documents and entering basic information about them into an Excel spreadsheet. I came home for fifteen minutes to shower and change and then came back to the office to finish the project. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t about to subject myself to the cafeteria options tonight on top of my queasy stomach and narcoleptic napping.

My roommate Perry and I made plans to get dinner, but decided to stay in and get delivery instead. I suggested Thai, he suggested Sea, and forty-five minutes later, we were ready to eat. I’d ordered the Tup-Tim Fritters, fried chicken and shrimp balls with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, as an appetizer on someone’s raving recommendation. They were only pretty good, but I don’t normally enjoy fried food and they weren’t so good that I could casually dismiss the thought of my arteries gradually sealing off (shrimp tempura is my main exception.)

My noodle dish was also pretty good, but that’s the highest praise it would sustain. It reached a nice level of spiciness, but was too greasy and didn’t particularly distinguish itself as some other Drunk Man or Drunken noodles I’ve had. (This is one of the better dish names in Thai food, because it really is fantastic when you’ve had a few too many drinks and come stumbling toward the fridge for leftovers.) Perry opted for his mainstay Pad Thai, and also seemed to like it well enough, though he did say that he really needed to start branching out to other dishes. True enough.

Sea, like the previously mentioned Klong, straddles an interesting and increasingly flexible line between trendy and budget. It boasts a sleek decor and is frequently packed by Friday night scenesters (or at least wannabe scenesters) who are there as much for the atmosphere as the food. There’s also a much larger outpost of the restaurant in Williamsburg, that ground zero of scenesterism, where the cooking is supposed to be better and the location even trendier. Given that Perry and I only had the food to judge, removed from its natural environs of dim lighting and indie tunes, I could be convinced that the Brooklyn location is better. It’s not that the East Village Sea isn’t good though. In a very crowded field, it just may not be good enough. 4/10

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