Stellar New “Slow Food” Thai Spot Joins The Vanderbilt Avenue Street Party

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Sautéed Spicy Holy Basil with Minced Pork ($16)

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Sautéed Spicy Holy Basil with Minced Pork ($16)

Starting every Friday evening and running through most of the weekend, the Prospect Heights stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue, running from Atlantic Avenue to Park Place, hosts one of the city's most beloved and busiest block parties. Bars and restaurants set up tables in the street last year, hosting groups of families and friends for picnics on the median, with live performances appearing out of nowhere—an incredible example of the city's pandemic-era Open Streets program.

Joining the merriment with its grand opening this weekend is a terrific new Thai restaurant called The Nuaa Table, located on the corner of Bergen Street (former home to the popular Beast). The spot is a sequel of sorts for chef Pitipong Bowornneeranart, who ran the kitchen at the well-regarded Nuaa on the Upper East Side until that establishment closed in 2018, and based on a lovely meal last Sunday at the new Brooklyn spot, it's clear that Bowornneeranart is equally adept at more ambitious fare as well as familiar Thai crowd-pleasers.

The Nuaa Table practices the principles of the Slow Food Movement, which (as was explained to me by my friendly server) basically means that there's no prep cooking involved; each dish is created from scratch each time, with Bowornneeranart giving his full attention to each step of the process. This doesn't mean the food was slow to arrive at my table, though.

outdoor dining area

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

All four of the dishes I ate here were wonderful—I liked the earthy flavors of Bowornneeranart's Pan Seared Vegetable Dumplings, the pair of thick-skinned green discs stuffed with butternut squash, mushroom, and "7 kinds vegetable," a drizzle of spicy soy vinegar on top. One of my Thai restaurant regulars is Spicy and Sour Lemongrass Soup, and the Nuaa Table version did not disappoint, the tangy, aromatic broth home to three fat shrimp and a whole mess of oyster mushrooms.

The "Street Classic" section of the menu has a bunch of appealing entree-sized options, almost all priced in the mid teens, including two kinds of Chicken Curry (Red and Green), Crispy Purple Eggplant, Shrimp Pad Thai, and, my selection, a superb Sautéed Spicy Holy Basil with Minced Pork. This mound of meat was alive with Thai basil ("real Thai basil," my server assured me, "not the fake stuff"), chili garlic sauce, fiery dried chilis, and a runny egg. It was just as enjoyable the next night as a reheated leftover, too.

Spicy and Sour Lemongrass Soup ($8)

Spicy and Sour Lemongrass Soup ($8)

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Best of all, though, was Bowornneeranart's Crunchy Curried Rice Ball Salad, the lumps of seasoned grains all chewy and crisp, the dish loaded with bits of sour sausage. A variety of greens accompanies the pile, to use as wraps. Other intriguing items include Slow Braised Short Ribs with Massaman Curry, Colossal Crab Curry Noodle, and a Thai Roasted Cornish Hen, a dish that Bowornneeranart seems to have resurrected from his UES days.

The bi-level interior is elegantly designed and looks comfortable and inviting, but if it's not raining you're probably going to want to sit at one of the outside tables, either on the sidewalk, or on the patch of turf behind the building's iron fencing. But if it's the weekend and they decide to join the party, head out to Vanderbilt Avenue. The Nuaa Table is a nice addition to an already lively scene here.

exterior

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

The Nuaa Table is located at 638 Bergen Street, at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue, and is currently open from 5 p.m. to 10 daily (718-623-6395; thenuaatable.com)

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