Having been a Westchester resident for almost eight years now, I have often been disappointed when I order something spicy at a restaurant. I’ll ask for a dish to be made extra spicy and be underwhelmed. Even my husband quips, “Do you want your head to blow off?” That was until we went to Atit Thai, a hole-in-the wall restaurant that opened two years ago in a small strip mall off North Avenue in New Rochelle.
You can trust my opinion on this: I spent quite a few years in Southeast Asia — Malaysia, to be exact — so, I’ve eaten food that causes you to sweat and make your eyes water from a young age. (Thanks, dad, for choosing a career as a diplomat.) Having been to Bangkok, Thailand, I consider Thai cuisine to be one of my favorites. So, I’m happy to have finally found a place in Westchester to assuage my childhood cravings.
Crispy pork with string beans, bell pepper, and lime leaves in a spicy chili-curry paste.
At Atit Thai, you have four heat levels to choose from: mild, medium, hot, and “Thai spicy.” Choose wisely, because even medium is enough for me to clear my throat in between bites. But it’s not just heat: At Atit Thai, you can still taste the other flavors in the food. Popular dishes include pad prik king, crispy pork with string beans, bell peppers and lime leaves in a spicy chili-curry paste, served with jasmine rice. There are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options like tofu and vegetarian duck. Everything is fresh, and vegetables are still crisp and crunchy.
One dish I’ll definitely order often is pad kee mao, which reminds me of a Malaysian noodle dish that’s similar to drunken noodles. Flat noodles are stir-fried with eggs, bell peppers, onions, scallions, tomatoes, string beans, basil and “kee mao” sauce, plus a protein of your choice. I don’t know about you, but I would love to tuck into this after a late night out.
Thai curry puffs with cucumber sauce to whet your appetite.
The motto here is “slow but sure,” according to restaurant manager Atit Aya. Her uncle owns the place, which employs one chef to cook all the main dishes and another strictly to prepare appetizers. Aya wants everyone to feel like they’re family, offering taste and quality in whatever you order.