Laut

15 E 17th St. New York, NY 10003 (212) 206-8989 • lautnyc.com

2-asam-laksa-laut-b_650

When you enter Laut, you can’t help but like it, with its exposed brick, colorful murals and Prozac jolly waiters. And at lunch, the value gives you even more to like with soup or salad, shumai or spring rolls. On top of your main. Not literally. Actually laid out quite nicely in a bento box next to each other.

But as euphoric as the waiter was, unfortunately I didn’t have what he was having (to quote “When Harry Met Sally”). The Malaysian noodles were too greasy and not even close to spicy, as described by server and menu alike.

On the uptick, the soup and shumai were both very good, but the salad was just okay and the Singha was a bit flat, so back we slid into the two-knife mire. And while I’d almost consider 2.5/3, it’s hard to do when you have Republic and Rohm right around the corner, both of which are better.

2 teeth

David Chen

85 Old Mount Kisco Rd. Armonk, NY 10504 • (914) 273-6767 • davidchens.com

david-chen-chinese-restaurant

Remember about 30 to 40 years ago when most Chinese restaurants were decorated like a Disney theme park? So much so, that if you saw one today and the owners weren’t actually Chinese, you’d probably accuse them of playing into racist stereotypes. Well, that’s David Chen- the dated part, not the racist part.

The place literally feels like it crawled back out of the 80’s. It also feels like they haven’t updated a single thing since. The table we were seated at was literally falling apart, sagging like the back of an old horse. The glasses, while not technically dirty, were so old, they were permanently fogged from being in a dishwasher 10 million times. Even the fish in the tanks look pre-historic.

But let’s try to look past all of this for just a second and focus on the food. While nothing was out and out bad, per se, it was very old school Chinese (shocker). Very oily lo mein. Over-cooked and under-meated crispy orange beef that would’ve had the old lady from the Wendy’s commercials of yore rolling in her grave. And shumai the size of baseballs. The only thing that rose above a snarky dig was the seafood pot, loaded with a variety of fresh shellfish. Granted I can’t say I loved that either because the sauce was just okay.

And as for service, even that was a little iffy. Beyond the language barrier, which naturally has its issues, we were served entrees before appetizers and everything came out SO quickly it gave you the unnerving feeling that it had been sitting in vats dating back to their grand opening. And as we dug in, we noticed we actually DIDN’T have the obligatory chopsticks that you’d expect to find in a place like this. We also didn’t seem to have knives either. So not sure which cultural norm they were trying to appeal to on this one, so I’ll just chalk it up to a poor table setting.

But before I leave you on a down note, as you hopefully know by now, I like to offer solutions. And fortunately this one is VERY nearby. Less than 2 minutes. Rice is FAR superior in every way. The food is cleaner, fresher and flat out better. With contemporary twists on classic dishes as well as décor. Service is better too. The only nit there is location. It’s in an inward facing strip mall. But whatevs. I’d rather have good food. From this century.

2 teeth