Irvington Newbie: Sambal Thai & Malaysian

Irvington is lucky. First, they received a hands-on education on Indian food  from Chef Navjot Arora. With Chutney Masala, diners got a literal taste of authentic Indian cuisine and, paired with his cooking classes and specialties geared towards the more adventurous, Arora literally schooled everyone on spices, origins of dishes, and culture from the region.

With his next venture, Arora is at it again, teaming up with Chef Lucky Thai to launch Sambal, an eatery dedicated to authentic Thai and (soon!) Malaysian cuisine.

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sambalLocated in the space where Chutney Masala used to call home (4 West Main Street; Chutney is now located up the hill at 76 Main Street), Sambal has given new life to the old space. Sure, there’s the delightful pops of vibrant colors—bright lanterns hanging from the ceiling, umbrellas strung over the stairs, and fabrics donning pinks, purples, and greens—but the most notable revision in the space is the addition of a large outdoor deck, giving diners a spectacular view of the Hudson River.

sambalThe deck, which seats 48, will stay open as long as possible with heaters keeping guests warm as the months get cooler. Another change? The bar moved upstairs, allowing those cocktail enthusiasts to also share the river views. The cocktail menu will not disappoint—you can’t go wrong with the Golden Triangle (Titos Vodka, Ginger Liqueur, and Pineapple Juice), which tastes fabulous and also serves as a palate cleanser. Wine and beer are also available.

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Arora is dedicated to maintaining the vibrancy not only in the restaurant, but also on the menu. To ensure the authenticity and quality of the food, he enlisted the help of Executive Chef Lucky Thai, an award-winning culinary artist from Las Vegas. (And, as a side note, I’m loving the addition as a little more fem energy in Westchester kitchens.) Lucky describes her food as “big and bold,” and this is no joke. Flavors are intense, with a delicate balance Thai food is known for—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy.

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The Tom Yum (Fragrant Spicy Soup, $9) is a huge highlight from the appetizer menu, and is a prime example of the complexity of flavors a simple Thai dish can house in one bowl. Mushrooms, tomatoes, shrimp, and spices find themselves bumping into each other in a lemongrass broth which has a spicy kick, but a bit of acidity on the tongue. Keep this one in mind when those temperatures dip; one sip and you’re warmed to the soul.

sambalThe Larb Nuer (Thai Beef Salad, $12) is another highlight from the appetizer list, which also includes staples like Spring Rolls ($9) and Crispy, Thai-Style Chicken Wings ($10). The salad is more like a lettuce wrap, although you could dive in whatever way tickles your fancy. The flavor here is layered again, with the tender marinated slices of grilled beef cooled by cucumber, tomatoes, mint and cilantro.

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Arora is more than familiar with the Westchester food scene, and has learned to hit the sweet spot between those who are trying Thai for the first time, versus the food-adventurous. The Khow Pod Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice, $18) is a great, approachable dish for those of you who’ve never waded in Thai cuisine and also kid-friendly. Familiar Asian flavors are sautéed with eggs, chicken, and shrimp before finished with a bit of sweet pineapple.

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Arora and Chef Lucky Thai also created a series of main dishes that offer some flexibility. Diners can choose from seven options, add vegetables or tofu, then select a protein (chicken, beef, or shrimp). The Pad See Ew ($14), flat noodles with Chinese broccoli and dark soy sauce is seen above with chicken. {Another IntoxiKate favorite!} Dishes can also be customized to meet your spice standards.

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More adventurous eaters (ahem!) can devour the Pla Rad Prik ($23), a spicy whole Thai fish called Pompano topped with this amazing chili-garlic reduction. For those of you wondering, the fish pulls apart easily and you can enjoy skin and all (I did!).

Sambal serves lunch and dinner (hit the link below for hours) with takeout and local delivery available. The lunch combination platters so popular at Chutney Masala also grace the menu at Sambal, with a sweet $12.95 price point offering you a spring roll, soup, and entrée.


{Sambal Thai & Malaysian: 4 West Main St., Irvington, 914-478-2700, SambalNY.com}

By | 2016-10-21T09:44:20+00:00 October 20th, 2016|eat + drink, organic, savory, sweet, westchester|0 Comments