First Look at Betel and Its ‘Modern Southeast Asian’ Cuisine

Does Manhattan really need another Thai restaurant? A couple of Australians think so! But Betel, the restaurant they’ve opened in Wild Ginger’s onetime West Village location, isn’t just another pad thai spot — chef-partner Adam Woodfield calls it a “modern Southeast Asian kitchen” inspired by the hawker stalls there. Don’t be put off by the word “modern,” finicky eaters of New York!: “I don’t want to do any fusion or dumb it down,” Woodfield tells us. “I want to keep it very traditional.” To wit, the namesake dish: A betel leaf is topped with a roasted eggplant and shallot relish that’s mixed with chicken and lime leaf, lemongrass, mint, and coriander (the leaf is meant to be rolled and eaten).

Woodfield fell for Asian cuisine while exploring Melbourne’s Victoria Street and traveling to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand (all are represented on the menu). In 2002 he took a sous-chef position at Sydney’s Long Grain and eventually he became head chef at the award-winning Jimmy Liks. After leaving the restaurant for New York, he met up with Luke Fryer, an old Jimmy Liks regular who brought U.K. pan-Asian chain Wagamama to Australia. Now they’re trying to break the curse of New York City Thai spots — aside from certain places in Queens, says Woodfield, “I think you can just get the same thing everywhere and no one’s really trying to branch out.”

Check out the food and cocktail menus below, as well as Martin Brudnizki (Le Caprice)’s interior design. The kitchen is currently open from 6 p.m. till 11 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and 6 p.m. till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

West coast oyster w nahm jim 3.8
chicken betel leaf w smoked eggplant chilli & shallot jeow 3.8
tea smoked ocean trout betel leaf w salmon roe shrimp galangal & chilli 3.8
salt & pepper sepia w vietnamese dipping sauce 16 | 26
blue eye cod & cilantro dumplings w garlic chives & chilli oil 15
grilled bo la lot w veitnamese mint & red nahm jim 12
yummy chicken wings w lemon dipping sauce 12
pomello asparagus & cashew salad w thai basil & a coconut chilli jam dressing 16
chumpon bbq beef w green papaya salad & a chili tamarind dressing 19

crispy skin duck w yellow bean tamarind orange & ginger 29
stir fried tuna w chilli jam snake bean cashew nut & thai basil 26
stir fried tofu simese watercress w chili wild ginger shitake & black bean 22
vietnamese braised wagyu beef w thai basil vietnamese mint & chilli lime dressing 26
crispy pork hock w tamarind & plum sauce & nahm plah prik 24
dry red curry of prawns w snake bean kra chai & lime leaf 26
crispy whole fish w three flavoured sauce & crispy betel leaf (market price)
caramelised beef rib w cilantro chili shallot & nahm plah prik 28
Hung lae curry of pork belly w peanuts cilantro & sticky rice 26
green curry of grilled poussin w baby corn wild ginger & thai basil 28
steamed brocolini w ginger & yellow bean 12
green papaya salad w snake bean peanut & cherry tomato 14
rice 3 p/p

betel’s ice cream & sorbet 12
sample plate 25

Stick Drinks 12
Tokyo Cup
tanqueray rangpur gin, ty-ku junmai sake, longons, cucumber, blackberries, kaffir lime leaf, lime, palm sugar

Stormy Mule
kraken spiced rum, ginger syrup, lime,
fentiman’s ginger beer

Nashi-Citrus Fizz
three olive citrus vodka, prosecco, ty-ku
junmai sake, nashi pear, lemongrass syrup, lemon

Caipirinhas & Caipiroskas
palm sugar, fresh lime
with your choice:
pandana leaf-infused sagatiba cachaca
aged sagatiba cachaca
42 below passion

24 Tea
infused beefeater 24 gin, lychee,
sensha tea, lemon, agave syrup

Vietnamint Julep
bols genever, cucumber, vietnamese mint,
palm sugar

On Ice 12
Ho chi minh tail
42 below kiwi, cinzano bianco, ty-ku junmai sake, kiwi fruit, palm sugar, white cranberry juice

Lychee Margarita
centanario blanco tequila, cointreau, lychee, lime, soho lychee liqueur, salt & raw sugar rim

The Ginger Manuka
makers mark bourbon, 42 below manuka
honey, yuzu, ginger syrup, lime ,ginger ale

Bold Fashioned
jameson, aperol , orange, honey

Macau Mary
thai chili-infused 42 below vodka,
red nahm jim, tomato juice

Soho Mai Thai
Veev acai liqueur , domaine de canton ginger liqueur, crème de framboise, grapefruit

Martinis 13
The Lotus Flower
plymouth gin, saint germain, ty-ku junmai
sake, shiso leaf, lime juice, palm sugar

Sarang Manhattan
michter’s rye, sweet vermouth, tangerine, orange bitters

Beijing Bellini
grey goose au poire, prosecco, ty-ku junmai
sake, lemongrass syrup, ginger syrup, lemongrass powder, lemon juice

Rosangel Gimlet
centenario rosangel hibiscus-infused tequila,
yuzu, lime, agave syrup

Bar Snacks
west coast oyster w red nahm jim 3.8
chicken betel leaf w smoked eggplant chili & shallot jeow 3.8
smoked sea trout betel leaf w salmon roe shrimp galangal & chili 3.8
salt & pepper cuttlefish w vietnamese dipping sauce 13
grilled bo la lot w vietnamese mint & red nahm jim 10
binhminhs chicken wings w chili lemon dipping sauce 10

Betel, 49 Grove St., nr. Bleecker; 212-352-0460

First Look at Betel and Its ‘Modern Southeast Asian’ Cuisine