Qi: surprisingly affordable, tasty Thai food by Times Square

Cuisine Corner RollsAssorted Fritters include seasame tofu, blanket shrimps, Asian chive spring rolls and chicken-shrimp dumplings, with peanut sauce. (Credit: Katherina Bautista)
Cuisine Corner Rolls

Assorted Fritters include seasame tofu, blanket shrimps, Asian chive spring rolls and chicken-shrimp dumplings, with peanut sauce. (Credit: Katherina Bautista)

675 8th Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Street, New York City

Unlike the star-struck tourists that flood from all over, the jaded residents of the New York Tri-State area know that there are certain places to skip when you want to avoid an overpriced meal. You do not eat around the Empire State Building. You do not eat around Madison Square Garden. Most importantly, you do not eat within a five-block radius of Times Square. However, this week’s restaurant is Qi, is a lovely Thai restaurant located within spitting distance of 42nd street’s do-not-venture zone. Whoops.

Faux-pas aside, I’m amazed that more people don’t know about this place. The food is excellent, the decor dazzling, and the prices… Oh God, the prices. For a restaurant located in a section of the city that charges more than five dollars for soda, Qi is surprisingly affordable. I went with four other people and the total for our dinner, tip included was eighty dollars. As for the decor, Qi tries to incorporate glass chandeliers into everything while scattering traditional Thai themes around the restaurant. It’s a spectacle you should see in person. Whatever you do, though, try to sit in a booth; my friends complained throughout the meal about the clear plastic chairs.

My friends and I ordered the Assorted Fritters ($8), Chicken Pad See Eew ($9.90), Chicken Pad Thai ($9.90), Penang Curry ($9.90), Grilled Honey Pork Chop ($13), and the Gai-Yang ($15). The Assorted Fritters ($8.50) were a great appetizer; Qi provides you with an excellent sampler of about ten pieces pulled from different appetizers for a decent price. As for entrees, all five were tasty, but the Chicken Pad See Eew, the Chicken Pad Thai, and the Penang Curry were the best. I recommend the Penang Curry for lovers of spicy food. The Chicken Pad See Eew and the Chicken Pad Thai are for anyone whom would enjoy a Thai classic done right.

Overall, Qi is one of the hidden gems of Times Square. It is conveniently located next to the heart of the district and its decor matches Times Square’s flashy decadence while providing affordable prices and delicious food. I recommend this spot to everyone.