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Qi Asian Eatery

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  • Qi Asian Eatery

    I stumbled on a new Asian restaurant on 14th Street in an area deperately in need of a new, good place. Since I write reviews for Yelp!, I wrote up this place and I would like to share it with my Chelsea family here. It's worth a try, brlieve me.

    QI Asian Eatery

    31 W 14th St.
    Manhattan, NY 10011
    (212) 929-9917

    10/14/2009

    Pronounced "key".

    This place opened a couple of weeks ago in a block formerly populated by Union offices and check cashing places. I couldn't be more delighted.

    A simple, elegant black glass facade beckons you to read the menu and, when you do, you will realize it is basically a Thai restaurant and may dismiss it since we are virtually surrounded by them. Well, don't!

    QI touts itself as a Taoist macrobiotic and Hindu Ayurseda restaurant dedicated to creating a new way of healthy eating. Sounds kinda heady to me. But wait. The similarity to a health food palace ends there.

    We ambled in last night just "for the hell of it". What we found was beautifully presented food literally exploding with the flavors of curry, coconut milk and aromatic, exotic Asian spices.

    When you walk in, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the high ceilinged room with many model sailing ships hanging from the ceiling, an array of tables that look communal and seats that are giant "cubes". The marble and the Asian art on the second level down, visible through a glass cube in the center of the space will impress you. A lot of thought went into this decor.....thankfully, into the food too.

    There are the usual sounding spring rolls, noodles and differently hued curries. They may sound familiar, but the blast of flavors will astound you.

    We started with the dumpling soup which contained three good sized Thai dumplings, cellophane noodles and assorted greens and a special jolt of flavor from the fresh cilantro sprigs. But be ready to eat the cellophane noodles with your chopsticks or fork. You can't get them to stay on your spoon. It was delicious, as were the four spring rolls that are presented in a strainer scoop, sitting in a wonderfully sweet and sour sauce.

    We ordered the Singapore rice noodles with chicken (there are other options too). They were delicately seasoned with a mild yellow curry that was full of flavor and chicken slices. Our curry selection was red curry with chicken and was incredibly rich and mildly hot. No asbestos mouth needed here. Together, the two items were wonderful. The spices can be altered to your taste, just ask.

    They have a lunch special that starts at $6.99 and goes all the way up to (gasp) $7.99, depending on your protein choice.

    While they await the eagerly anticipated arrival of their full liquor license, They have a BYOB policy with no corkage fee (would that other places would do this very "Philadelphia" thing and cut it with the freaking corkage fees).

    The rest room is a one-at-a-time religious experience with a museum quality Asian statue and a waterfall sink that is a giant urn. But, this place is big and really needs at least one more restroom.

    It is very vegan friendly, as is the usual for Asian cuisine. We who lived on 14th St for 26 years and have seen the front-less junk stores and drug trade gradually disappear, welcome QI as a neighbor in this ever improving community. May you survive and prosper.

    And, read my lips: "We'll be back"!

    PS: Four stars is usually my highest rating for a place. This is one of the few establishments I will give five stars. Partially because I could find very few negatives here and partially to encourage quality places with great service and a fair price line to come to live here with us. Don't just sit there...GO!
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    roby2000
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