Penang (Upper East Side)


We’re always reminded of some sergeant or other from some Vietnam movie (Full Metal Jacket?) screaming about Denang when we hear the name of this joint. Then we enter this odd mixture of industrial revolution and third world country hut decor. It’s like walking off the set of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video into a jungle tangle with wild jaguars and shit. For the UES, this is pretty progressive. This is probably why Penang always seems to be crowded, as Irish pub food can only satisfy you so many nights of the week. Low lighting, copper walls, fancy drinks–it’s all so foreign. Then you finally get to sit down. The food comes in waves. The food comes quickly, and it comes hot. This is no small feat, apparently, as many restaurants can’t seem to get this part right. To describe Malaysian food is to describe a mixture of Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisines. To describe the food at Penang is to describe a flavorful mixture of very aromatic foods–some spicy, some curry, and some sweet. Penang, it turns out, is a decent, relatively inexpensive place to dine with a couple friends before heading out for a night on the town. Just be sure to bring the Breath Savers and a roll of Tums. [MF]

1596 2nd Ave.