No Atmosphere, No Problem: Jeera Thai Health Kitchen
by Leslie Singer
Jeera Thai Health Kitchen has a catch; it has zero/nil/nada atmosphere, and hardly any seating. The no-brainer would be to take-out (which most people do), but here’s the rub: my fav, the vegetarian Green Emerald Dumplings with vinegar and roasted sesame dipping sauce, lose their delicacy if not eaten right away. So I wait for a table or get lucky. It’s worth it. I pretend I’m Anthony Bourdain.
The “Health Kitchen” part comes from their commitment to producing anti-Americanized Thai food: anti-thick sauces, anti-sugary after-taste, and anti-frozen meats and vegetables. The place is a purist’s delight which is why Jeerah Thai is on the short list in a town that isn’t short on Thai.
Vegetarians luck out with the amount of veg and tofu choices, along with mock duck and mock chicken — who knew? Meat-eaters will find a few lamb dishes, but mostly the menu sticks to shrimp and chicken. Wing-lovers should give the Nuwings a go: a Thai version of Buffalo, with a not-too-spicy pomegranate dressing. A sure bet is The Bankok Stir Fried with Shrimp and Red Curry Paste, one of many stir-fried offerings. More unusual are the Roti Canai crepes with a yellow curry dipping sauce. All my pancake-style food-fear was put to rest. The light sauce did not overpower the flavor of the crepe. The Tom Yum Soup is a must- have, especially with cold and flu season on the horizon. It rivals mama’s chicken soup as a cure-all. Your sinuses will thank you.
The open wall to the street gives the place some breathing room – but you’re ten feet from the kitchen at all times. There are a few outside tables – just be prepared; you’re in the center of New Haven’s nightlife and the street gets crowded depending on when you go. If you’re lucky you’ll find street parking, but garages are everywhere if you want to keep it easy. And remember, it’s always fun to try parts unknown!
jeerathai.com 216 Crown Street