Friday, April 25, 2008

Reviews: Galanga; Grom

Galanga is a small Thai place off of 6th Ave. on W. 4th St. It was narrow and a little cramped. We ordered a vegetarian spring roll, a papaya salad, a red curry, a pineapple fried rice, and a tofu with broccoli in garlic sauce.

Everything was tasty and light, not greasy. The best dish was probably the pineapple fried rice, with the chunks of pineapple adding just a little sweetness to the nuts and complementing the spices of the rice. The papaya salad was also delicious, although I generally have been a huge fan of papaya salads ever since eating my first one at a street fair in Manhattan a few weeks ago.

The service isn't all that great, with the waitresses barely making any response to your requests, even when they understand them and comply with them. Nor are the waitresses particularly friendly. But for decent prices and good food, that can be forgiven.

Stars: 4/5

Grom, the italian gelato places with roots in Italy, recently opened a second branch, this time in the West Village. I visited there recently, and tasted four flavors: vanilla, hazelnut ("nocciola"), extra noir (dark chocolate), and torroncino (had some kind of nougat in it).

First off, the storefront itself is picturesque, standing there on the corner of the W. 6th and Carmine, two sides open to the night air and the public. The gelato comes in stainless steel tubs that elegantly conceal the cold creamy sweetness within. The line snakes around the side of the store on the sidewalk and ends at the register, where you buy a size -- not a set of flavors. Then you take your receipt and THEN you get your gelato.

The gelatos were uniformly high-quality in ingredients, though not all the flavors were equally delectable. The torroncino was the standout, having a mellow, creamy flavor with just enough crunch in the nougats for variety and pleasure. The vanilla and hazelnut were both tasty, though both were perhaps a little milder than I like. The extra noir really did fulfill its promise and tasted just like an ice-cream-ized version of the valhrona dark chocolate from whence it originates. It has the dark bitterness that dark chocolate has, and that's how you want your ice cream, you'll like it. For me, it looked great but I just haven't developed the taste to love such dark, dark chocolate.

Stars: 4/5

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