Thai Break: 10 of NYC's Best Southeast Asian Eateries
by Julie Besonen, 11/17/2010
Photo: Alexander Thompson
58 E. 1st St., 212-505-7739, East Village, Manhattan
The Elephant, a chaotic little East Village joint with a fun vibe, suggests exotic travel and French colonialism—an old trunk, a shelf of cigar boxes and a cocktail menu stamped like a passport help illustrate the theme. In the past year, both Chelsea Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have been spotted at festive dinners here—yet there's nothing upscale about it. The small Formica tables are unstable and the light, aromatic Thai food doesn't strive for authenticity. Open since 1997, The Elephant started out as a Thai-French restaurant, but the French part is pretty minimal these days (except for the occasional ballad on the sound system). Pork dumplings, green papaya salad and grilled salmon all hit the spot.