Thai food's rich scents and flavors make it a great way to wake up lethargic senses, just as the finger skills developed by chopstick use make it a great way to train for speed-knitting tournaments. Hone your digital dexterity with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Thai fare at Lantern Thai Restaurant in Gramercy.
Lantern Thai synthesizes trendy and traditional sensibilities with a contemporary dining room and classic Thai menu. Chefs tug at tongue strings with starters such as crying-tiger sushi, a combination of flank steak, sticky rice, and chili-citrus dipping sauce ($6). Noodle dishes such as drunken noodles and pad thai offer eaters a choice of chicken, beef, tofu, veggies, or shrimp ($10–$11), and a clutch of curries ($10–$12) expand the options to include vegetarian (soy) duck, the only species of fowl that doesn't follow a strict diet of hamburgers and flank steaks. Three-flavor red snapper buries taste buds in an appetizing eruption of spicy tamarind lava, chili, and basil ($18). A lunch menu assuages the appetites of midday feasters with a variety of noodle, curry, fried rice, and wok dishes paired with a choice of appetizer ($8), and a weekend brunch menu helps bridge the gap between Friday and Monday with dishes such as buttermilk pancakes ($8) and salmon-avocado salad ($8).
Lantern's beverage menu keeps digestive crankshafts suitably oiled with a panoply of potables, from nonalcoholic lychee lemonade ($5) to spirited mandarin-dragon cocktails ($8). Overhead lamps illuminate the restaurant's stylish interior of exposed brick, glossy woods, and striking botanicals and allow pupils to gorge on the pleasing presentations given to each dish.