Massaman curry at Emmanuel Thai

Emmanuel Thai masaman curry

By Deanna Fox

If you don't work in the Capitol corridor -- that section of Albany stretching from Dove to Broadway, extending a few blocks north and south, with buildings populated by state-related agencies -- you might miss many of the small eateries that are popular for quick lunches.

The grab-and-go sandwich shops, the small sit-down locations that offer momentary respite from the rigors of government -- and now, Emmanuel Thai, a barely noticeable restaurant that has quickly gained a downtown Albany following.

Emmanuel Thai Maiden Lane 2017-spring

A small sign that is disproportionate to the large brick building it hangs from is the only exterior indication of Emmanuel Thai and culinary life at 35 Maiden Lane. There is no sandwich board on Broadway or North Pearl Street that herald eaters along the block for lunch or dinner. The sloped sidewalks of the narrow street are ill-suited to cafe tables. The azure interior is shocking against the bland facade: The vibrant hue foreshadows the punchy flavors that follow.

Emmanuel Thai spring rolls

Vegetable spring rolls ($5.95) are fried to golden perfection but remain slightly chilled on the inside. The rice paper wrapper shatters with even a gentle bite, making for a stark contrast to the cabbage, carrot, and mushroom filling. A plum sauce is served on the side and requires a gentle whisk with your fork to bring emulsification back.

The lunch version of Massaman curry with chicken ($7.95) is a generous portion of coconut milk and curry paste simmered together, blanketing boiled potatoes, pounded chicken breast strips, and long slivers of yellow onion. Ask for it spicy, and pepper paste is smeared throughout. Meaty but tender cashew halves are scattered about and the curry is served with a rounded portion of rice. A variety of protein (seafood, tofu, beef, pork) is also available, some options with a slight upcharge.

Emmanuel Thai pad thai

Pad Thai is a solid version of the classic dish -- long thin noodles are swirled together with bean sprouts before being flash-fried in a pan with egg. Shocks of verdant green appear courtesy of chopped scallions. The lunch portion of pad Thai is also $7.95, the case for most entree options at lunch.

Sushi is also available at Emmanuel Thai, but save that for a Japanese-focused restaurant, especially since the Thai food here is so appealing.

Online ordering if available if you are in a time crunch, but don't hesitate to tuck in at this hidden oasis at dinner before perusing Albany Center Gallery (kitty-corner from the restaurant) or taking an evening stroll along the Hudson.

Downtown Albany is alive and growing, and places like Emmanuel Thai that accommodate the commuter lunch crowd and the resident evening population herald in the next wave of Albany life.

Deanna Fox writes about many things, mostly about food. More can be found on her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

More Eat This
+ Buffet dinner at Salsa Latina
+ Ramen at David's Uptown Noodle
+ Cinnamon buns at Fifth Tier Baking Studio

Find It

Emmanuel Thai
35 Maiden Lane
Albany, NY 12207

Comments

They have weekend hours, which is refreshing, though I wouldn't be surprised if those hours shrink a bit in the future. Stopped in Saturday and had the Kao Soi and it was absolutely delicious. Great addition to downtown especially for residents, hope they're able to stick around.

Note to author: I have seen a sandwich board sign out on Pearl for Emmanuel. Must get down there soon and give it a try!

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

One critique of the proposed 1 Monument Square design, raised up one level

The conversation over the design of the proposed movie theater at 1 Monument Square is ramping up again, and will continue to do so as... (more)

Experiences with Uber and Lyft so far?

KGB emails: I was wondering if any of your readers have tried ride sharing locally, and if they wanted to comment on their experiences. I'm... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Hi there. Welcome to a midsummer weekend's list of stuff to do. Pick a few things that sound fun to you, or just read it... (more)

Morning Blend

Sentencing in murder of Troy official Joseph Vandenburgh -- convicted of fatally stabbing Troy city offical Bill Chamberlain near his home in North Greenbush --... (more)

The return of the blue snowflakes

The Albany Pine Bush is an unusual example of an inland pine barrens, and it's one of the few homes to an unusual inhabitant: The... (more)

Recent Comments

... Great experience. Fast pickup times. I was chatting with one of my drivers about potential Saratoga -> Albany types of drives or similar. He is actually based in Delmar, and said that as a driver, Lyft has a feature that you can pick a fare based on the direction you want to end up in which I thought was interesting. He was driving around all night and lives out in Delmar but ended up more towards Saratoga when he was about to call it quits. His last fare was a drive from Saratoga back towards Albany and got him pretty close to home as well. That makes me feel better about catching a ride to a place further in NY if I happen to need one.

Walking Myrtle Ave, end to end

...has 25 comments, most recently from Burnt My Fingers

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 1 comment, most recently from capgirl

Experiences with Uber and Lyft so far?

...has 8 comments, most recently from Denis virgilip

New York State Bike Summit

...has 1 comment, most recently from ethan

The return of the blue snowflakes

...has 2 comments, most recently from Josh K