Open the Sesame

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Photo: Jeff Gurwin
Open the Sesame
Lower East Side
Restaurants cannot subsist on cuteness alone. They’ve got to back up the charm with substance. Open The Sesame (what a darling name!) is pushing the adorable factor, perhaps to stand out from the multitude of nearby Thai restaurants. There are a few kinks to work out, but the place need not lean too heavily on its preciousness—the kitchen is solid. Chef-owner Petom Kochawattana has decorated the narrow space with original paintings. The menus are embellished with mismatched photos, a stylish touch, though it does make it difficult to read the words. Squint a bit and you’ll find standard Thai fare peppered with some unusual fusion dishes. A citrusy, chili-spiked mixed-seafood ceviche appetizer was refreshing, though a more even balance among the shrimp, scallops and squid would have been ideal. Better still was a bracingly spicy beef salad (pictured), with strips of grilled sirloin tossed with torn pieces of romaine in a chili-lime dressing. A heaping entrée of broad noodles stir-fried with bits of chicken, scrambled egg, string beans, red pepper and carrots was the best rice pasta we’ve ever had. Too bad the dessert menu is practically nonexistent, and the place doesn’t have a liquor license (yet). But despite all the delicious entrées, the biggest draw may be the sandwiches—lemongrass chicken, garlic pork chop, grilled portobello—made on loaves of Italian bread, each for less than $4.95. A meal for under $5 on the Lower East Side? Now that’s cute.—TONY
Venue name: Open the Sesame
Contact:
Address: 198A Orchard St
New York

Cross street: between Houston and Stanton Sts
Opening hours: Tue–Thu, Sun noon–11pm; Fri, Sat noon–11:30pm
Transport: Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave
Price: Average main course: $10. Cash Only
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