Ann Redding and Matt Danzer know how to create a hit restaurant: Uncle Boons, which opened in 2013, still draws lines for its stand-out Thai dishes such as khao soi and its coconut ice cream sundae. And, up until earlier this month, when their beloved more casual, order-at-the-counter Uncle Boons Sister decided to transform to delivery-only, it, too, was one of our favorite restaurants in the city.
Just a few steps away on Mott Street from both businesses is the husband-and-wife team's latest venture: Thai Diner.
As the name suggests, Thai Diner will focus on a blending of Thai dishes with a douse of Americana. There’s a Thai take on stuffed cabbage (a nod to Veselka), Thai tea babka French toast with condensed milk butter, Thai disco fries (which uses Massaman curry), chopped liver (with pineapple, Thai herbs and roti) and the “Eggs Your Way'' option that’s offered all-day and comes with taro hash browns.
The dessert menu is sizable, with options such as banana pudding, a guava crumb cake, a sentient coconut “monster cake” that’s outfitted with cartoonish eyes, apple dumplings with a brandy butterscotch sauce and a checkerboard chocolate cake. We love a pastry case.
There’s a wine, beer and cocktail list as well as coffee (yes, bottomless drip coffee like any true diner), Thai tea and selection of smoothies that use ingredients such as honeydew, pineapple and avocado.
The 65-seat space was designed by Redding and her sister May, and has the restaurant group’s signature kitsch: colorful plates, custom placemats and napkins as well as a bright photograph of fruit.
The couple originally met while working at Per Se, shedding their fine dining roots for spaces that are more accessible. Mr. Donahue’s, which the team eventually evolved into the Uncle Boons Sister concept, was originally intended to have a diner-ish feel.
Thai Diner is located at 186 Mott St, New York, NY 10012.