>> Mondayoff by Plant Love House | Eat the World NYC

24 July 2017

Mondayoff by Plant Love House


From start to finish, Coney Island Avenue is one of the city's most amazing streets for food, with cultures spanning the globe. Concentrations of South Asian and Eastern European are dusted with an assortment of extras like Austrian and Turkish. Completely new to the avenue now is a new Thai restaurant by the Plant Love House team.

Mondayoff had a long period of teasing from their social media accounts, with photographic updates coming frequently. Given the fact that LOOK by Plant Love House in Prospect Heights is so good, it was exciting to see their expansion. Unfortunately they opened on the day I went on an extended vacation to México, so trying their foods had a to wait just a bit.

Over about a dozen visits to LOOK, it was noticed that some dishes could be slightly unstable, not performing to their highest degree on every sitting. The talented mother of the PLH family seems to be focusing her energies here now, as she was seen on each visit we made. Probably not by coincidence, the food here is top notch.

The not-too-sweet Thai iced coffee ($3)

With most of the fresh ingredients imported from Thailand everything on offer seems light and crisp, especially the yum pak boong grob ($12, below). On the menu it is described as a watercress salad, but this is slightly misleading as "pak boong" actually refers to water morning glory. The confusion might be due to the fact that this aquatic vegetable is also sometimes called Chinese watercress. Do not be deterred, the dish is delicious.

In addition to the crispy fried pak boong, which is definitely the star of the show, there are over 10 ingredients in the bowl, all adding their own unique textures and tastes. Shrimp, minced pork, crispy shallot, red onions, cilantro, and peanuts are all dressed with chili and lime.

Always a big fan of the num tok at LOOK, an order here of the pig's blood soup was a no-brainer. Guay tiao num tok ($13, below) is full of deep colors and richness, prepared elegantly, and slightly better here if that is even possible. The noodles underneath are cooked to perfection, and just like everything else can be ordered to the spice level of your choosing. Do be aware that items run quite a bit spicier than your standard neighborhood Thai spot.

Having seen amazing presentations of gai yang bai toey ($17, below), spotting it on a New York City menu was very exciting. The "bai toey" refers to the preparation style that wraps and cooks the meat in a pandan leaf which is then opened up after serving. Unfortunately this is not how the dish comes out here, the grilled chicken simply over a small leaf.

Without the expectation, everything would have been amazing as the dish that did arrive was beautiful and the chicken very good. The som tum (green papaya salad) that accompanies the chicken is very strong with slightly sweet peanut tastes eventually overwhelmed by chili peppers. Both the chicken and papaya salad are best eaten with the sticky rice.

On a second visit, noodle soups were the focus. Yen ta fo ($13, below) was never tried at Plant Love House but excellent. Translating loosely to "pink noodle soup," the bean curd paste is what actually gives the bowl its famous color. Shrimp, fish balls, and tofu make up the heartiness over the wider noodles.

Even better is the num prik phow tom yum goong yai ($17, below), Mondayoff's modernized version of a Thai classic hot and sour soup. When Thai dishes are at their best, perfect combinations of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy are all grabbing your attention at once and this bowl of noodles does it quite well. Ask for a side plate to disassemble the jumbo shrimp and add its head and guts to the broth for even more flavor.

This may be the one time in history that bacon actually detracts from a dish, added here for what seems to be novelty. If ordered again, it would be omitted and hopefully they decide to do that themselves soon.

If you like spicy dishes but are unsure if you can handle the top level spiciness here, ask for the already spicy medium versions of soups and get more chili sauce and dried red pepper flakes on the side to add as necessary.

Mondayoff is the perfect refuge from this busy intersection of Coney Island Avenue, peaceful and soothing inside. The light blues and beiges bring to mind a modern country residence and do not really speak of the cuisine coming from the kitchen, but this is all secondary to the legendary cooking of this family that started in Elmhurst, Queens and moved operations to set up their (hopefully) growing empire in Brooklyn.

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Mondayoff Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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