Walking into Reserve, on 3rd Ave between 28th and 29th, I felt all the chaos and exhaustion of my day melt into the warm, red walls. A low light hovered over each table, with wine bottles stacked in every which direction. Even the bottoms of bottles protruded from the walls around the bar in the back, somehow without cluttering the small restaurant, but tinting the ambiance with the theme: a Thai inspired wine bar. While Thai restaurants are known for spicy foods in cozy nooks, Reserve adds an unexpected twist to the Thai experience: wine. I’m sure you’ve been to a number of Thai restaurants and been remiss about the quality of beverages, well, partner Luck Watanasuparp felt the same way. Luck’s family owns a number of Thai restaurants throughout New York, including All Luck and Thai Select, but this is her own venture in the restaurant business, at which she is doing amazingly well and loving it. Luck wanted to pair the four flavors of Thai food: Spicy, sweet, sour and salty with fine wines that would enhance each other when combined. The restaurant serves over fifty different wines, all within affordable ranges with a few higher priced bottles tossed in.
Reserve has been open for less than a year now in the Gramercy neck of the proverbial woods. Tucked among hot clubs and loud joints with drunks bouncing and stumbling out the doors or shouting from in between the cracks in the walls, Reserve is an oasis. It’s small, quiet, and personal. This is the perfect place to bring a date, or close friends when you want to sit down with a little background music and a lot of great food.
If you’re looking for something exciting and loud, why not head to Reserve for dinner as a calm before the storm?
The service is four star, with the shock of street cart prices. Before glancing at the menu, I assumed that it would be a stressor on my limited funds, but was pleasantly delighted to find that it’s cheap. I don’t mean New York City cheap, which is irrelevant to the rest of the world, but Kansas cheap, Mississippi cheap. I once ate a large, amazing meal at the Ajax Diner in Oxford, Mississippi for eight dollars, and this brought me back to the economy of the south, inducing a school girl giggle at the prices. I’ve spent more money on dirt, have I made my point?
I brought two close friends of mine with me for dinner, and we lived like kings. We started with a Losen Bockstanz Resiling, a sweet wine, and paired it with spicy beef, duck wraps, and crab cake tapas. Everything was tender and cooked to perfection. The duck wraps, rich, fatty duck wrapped with fresh veggies in a flour tortilla roll, sushi style, was paired with a thick, sweet sauce. The large crab cake, enough for the three of us, was surrounded by three elegant sauces. The spicy beef was mixed with equally spicy and salty sautéed veggies. We indulged in a mango salad, larb pizza (with chicken and melted Mozzarella) and a curry green pizza. We ate slowly, discussing the flavor combinations and our awe at the portions. For very little money, the three of us left full, but not overstuffed, and feeling like we ate a healthy meal that tickled our tastes. Our cheeks blushed from the sweet wine as we walked out in a euphoric daze.
If you’re feeling bogged down by the sometimes treacherous city, tired of the rain and cold, and never having enough money to go out, Reserve is the place to go. It will pick up your spirits without draining your bank account. Long Island or Jersey commuters can even walk from Penn Station on their way home from work or class. Keep Reserve on your list, because you simply can’t miss out on all it has to offer for the economically challenged taste buds that require more refinement.
Written by Ashley Teal, Campus Clipper Blogger
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