There’s an emerging restaurant row on a certain five-square block in Bushwick. The likes of Roberta’s, Eyval, Ichiran, Sobre Masa, and Sey are pushing this corner of Bushwick into becoming a critically acclaimed locale for local foodies. Now, there’s a new kid on the block: Chiangmai, a celebrated diner that opened its doors back in May to a rave from the food blog Eater and droves of people have flooded through since.
Sitting on the corner of Flushing and Central, the Northern Thai-style restaurant transports visitors from Bushwick straight to the heart of Thailand. The staff are upbeat and welcoming and fill your water glasses before you can even peruse the menu. A mixture of cocktails, Thai and Laotian beers, and natural wines line the menu, which also offers numerous non-alcoholic options. My go-to is either of the imported lagers ($8-$9) or the Lin-Ping ($16), a gin cocktail named after the famous Thai panda that is a refreshing counterpart to the spicy food elsewhere.
If the enormous menu makes you feel anxious, you can relax. Everything is tasty and the correct decisions are any of them. The usual appetizers suspects are delectable: crab rangoons ($10) that give elevated Panda Express and spring rolls ($8) that are both refreshing and crunchy. The standout there, however, is the Khao Kriab Pak Mor ($10), a Thai street food classic that consists of a mixture of vegetables, spices, and peanuts, wrapped in a lightly cooked rice flour dough. The small bites are sweet, salty, crunchy, and a perfect starter.
Thai cuisine is famously spicy and Chiangmai doesn’t hold back. The Larb kua Chiangmai ($20), rated three chiles, perfectly balances its savory minced pork or beer with a spiciness that creeps up on you. On the other end is the Ox Gai ($19), rated just one chile, a slow-cooked chicken thigh paired with an umami-packed fish sauce broth, and sticky rice. The fish sauce forward broth adds a level of umami and dimension to the fall of the bone chicken that I’ve never quite experienced.
Warmly lit, the diner features three main seating areas: the front bar room area, the more intimate and scenic dining area in the back, and a cozy patio area lit with twinkly lights. The design of the space is purposeful and elegant, yet unpretentious enough that there’s no need to dress up. The balance bar is no easy feat, but the design of the space allows for intimate outings and boisterous gatherings. The local dinner not only cements itself as a culinary destination but solidifies Bushwick as a dynamic and noteworthy food scene.
Chiangmai is located at 942 Flushing Avenue. It is open, Monday-Thrusday from 11:30am-10:00pm and from Friday-Saturday from 11:30am-11:00pm. For updates, keep in touch with them on Instagram.
Images taken by Joey Harvey for Bushwick Daily.
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