As I mentioned on Monday, we decided to take advantage of Restaurant Week and head over to Pranna, a modern southeast Asian restaurant (79 Madison Ave) for dinner. Of course we didn’t order off the Restaurant Week menu, that’s the way it seems to go for us, good spending intentions get overruled by the appeal of the full menu.
I have to say that the interior of Pranna is stunning, high ceilings adorned with beautiful modern chandeliers, 3 levels, gorgeously lit with a large lounge/bar area & spacious dining room. I was almost overwhelmed by the size of the restaurant. It’s a perfect location for a large event, gathering or celebration.
I loved how strongly the asian flavors appeared in every dish and the inventive ways they prepared and presented the food. Earlier today I mentioned my love of Naan flatbread and the fact that Pranna gives you complimentary Potato Naan to start. It’s delicious! I’ve never experienced potato naan before so it was all new to me. I was actually in the process of saying ‘this tastes like potatoes…’ when our server came over and confirmed that it was indeed made from potatoes. I’m not sure what the dipping sauces were exactly, I know that one was a yogurt sauce and the other resembled a hummus. Both were average, I found the naan more appealing on its own.
Now that I’ve rambled on about the free bread (!) let’s move on to the meal. We started with a small plate of Moo Shu Duck Breast. All in all this dish was extremely delicious. I loved the presentation of the Red Chili Sorbet, but don’t be fooled — this icy concoction is HOT! I had to try it by itself of course so I licked my spoon, it was like a small fire in my mouth. Once paired with the tamarind sauce, sliced duck breast and moo shu pancake the red chili sorbet melted as was intended by the chef. Really a beautiful dish with perfectly blended flavors. My only issue was that the fatty skin was a little chewy instead of crisp. Fortunately the flavors won over, a great start!
For my entree I decided on the small plate of Sauteed Scallops w/ a side of the Thai Crab Fried Rice. The scallops were cooked perfectly, nice and tender, not rubbery in the slightest with a light sear on the outside and I bet alone they had a great flavor. I wasn’t too impressed with the gooey mixture they were plated in. It was an odd consistency and when you tried to scoop it up there was this slimy, gooey strand that would hang down. Really odd. But the meal wasn’t lost on this one! The Thai Crab Fried Rice was amazing! It had some really bold Thai flavors that shined through and had crab aplenty. There was a shell here and there but what are ya gonna do?
One tip — the sides are HUGE! Sharing a side between a couple people will be more than enough unless the side is all that you will be eating.
That being said Jared got the Tandoori Grilled Lamb Chops. The lamb chops did not disappoint. They were crispy with a nice char on the outside, tender and a perfect pink on the inside. So good in fact, Jared had one down before I even picked up my fork. A dish I would recommend to another Pranna diner. Our server said he should get a side dish as well, maybe he thought I’d eat all of the rice? Either way it was not necessary after we had our appetizer, the naan and my side of fried rice. However the Chinese broccoli he did order was delicious, I would have liked it to be cooked a little longer so the spears were not as tough but the wild mushrooms and fried shallots were a tasty pairing.
We took home doggy bags of both sides, I’m thinking some kind of Thai crab rice balls and maybe a Chinese Broccoli pie or quiche…still working on that, both sound pretty amazing to me right now. But I digress…
The dessert I had was divine! I got the Mango Tres Leche Cake, just thinking about it is making my tummy rumble (I must be hungry! ). I wish I had more room in there last night because I would have eaten the entire thing! The only part of this dish that threw me off a little was the pineapple sorbet that came on the side. Mango and pineapple? I’m not a huge fan of the combo. But the cake alone was enough for me, so airy and sweet w/ a fluffy icing. It was too much for me to finish and although Jared said he was not going to eat any dessert after one bite he couldn’t stop, until the cake was gone. A strong finish to a great night out.
Will I trek down to Pranna again? Maybe. It would be great to bring a group of my girlfriends for some drinks and a quick nosh or even for a double date. It’s not so much a romantic setting for a couple. Very trendy and modern, I’m sure its hot on the nightlife scene. Pranna is reasonably priced, our meal plus a bottle of white wine was under $130, not too bad. The best way to eat here would be to order several plates for the table and have everyone share. This way you can try a little of everything, get a nice variation. The food was good, nothing that really blew me away, I’m not racing to get back there but I wouldn’t oppose the suggestion.