Noods n’ Chill is a featherweight that can punch through a wall before doing 50 pushups. It’s a teaspoon of TNT or a golf cart with the soul of a Shelby Cobra. It’s a stunner, in other words, in a very small package - and it’s the best Thai restaurant in Williamsburg.
Grabbing a meal at this counter-service spot might remind you of the last time you tried to squeeze your adult body into a twin bed. The space is only about the size of a window display at Macy’s, and there are roughly 12 seats to choose from, including a single booth in the corner that we often covet like a cat staring at a bird in a tree. Alcohol isn’t a thing here, and you might have to wait 10 minutes or so for a spot to open up - but the food comes out quickly, and once it does, you’ll find it’s more intense and charismatic than just about any other option in the neighborhood.
Focus on the soups, and don’t look back. The guay tao tom yum with fish balls, peanuts, and multiple kinds of pork will clear out your sinuses and leave you as overstimulated as a kid with a Bop It, and the khao soy, with its creamy appeal, will take up a considerable amount of real estate in your brain. The broth has some spice that hits you in the back of the throat along with a notably sweet finish, and it’s exactly what the Greek gods would’ve eaten had they not exclusively f*cked with ambrosia. Supplement your soup with an order of Isan sausage. It’s thinly sliced and soaked in a citrusy marinade that elevates the dish like a person sitting on top of another person in a trenchcoat.
Grab a stool, get a bowl of noodles, and enjoy one of the best casual weeknight meals currently available in Williamsburg. You might have to tuck your elbows in when you eat, and you might also look back toward the kitchen and wonder why it’s three times the size of the area zoned for seating - but don’t question that. It’s an auspicious sign, like when you see a V8 on a lawnmower. In terms of flavor, this place is a giant.
What makes this khao soy so exceptional? It’s the spice, the consistency, and that little hint of sugar you get on the finish. Before you attack the egg noodles and chicken (or tofu), take a moment to appreciate the thick, creamy broth. You’ll see what we’re talking about.
This is our second-favorite soup here, and the person at the counter will ask if you want it spicy. The correct answer is yes. Why? Because that spice is what ties the dish together. It’s the binding agent, and if it were in the NBA, it would be considered a “great locker room guy.” You need it to balance out the subtle sweetness of the broth and bring some life to the crunchy peanuts and springy fish balls.
Nothing too fancy about this. It’s a crisp, well-dressed papaya salad, and it’s exactly what you should get to start your meal.
We aren’t huge fans of the actual buns themselves (they’re a little tough and generic), but the pork alone makes these worth an order. It comes in big pull-apart chunks, with notes of clove and cinnamon.
Soft, just a tad crispy, and pleasantly gummy, you want a small plate of these dark green cubes in front of you.
When you hear the term “popcorn chicken,” you probably think of deep-fried stuff with endless appeal and maybe even a nice, sweet glaze. And that’s exactly what we have here. If you’re keeping things simple, go for it.
Once, we told someone that we were about to go eat half a duck at Noods n’ Chill. “That tiny place serves half a duck?” they said. Yes, it does. The duck comes in a big teardrop-shaped dish with plenty of thick, sweet curry, crisp green beans, and a side of rice. It’s luxurious and aromatic, and it’s also a ton of food.