Andy Yang tells us he has closed the East Village outpost of Rhong Tiam. “It was a miscalculation,” he says of its predecessor Kurve, with its infamous Karim Rashid design. While Yang considers whether to remodel it (bringing the kitchen upstairs) and reopen it with a less off-putting décor, or to simply let go of the space, he’s focusing on his Gramercy outpost of Rhong Tiam, which soft-opened yesterday. As you can see from our photo, this is an operation every bit as humble as the NYU-area original (which closed owing to gas issues in the kitchen), with a to-go counter and a handful of seats off to the side. Yang hopes to reproduce the model all around town, and he’s hoping to succeed in the “Asian burrito” realm where David Chang notably failed, by peddling “roti wraps” inspired by Thai mataba. They consist of cabbage, beans, crispy basil, and lemongrass chicken wrapped up in a homemade roti (the roti is the only thing on the new menu, which you can see below, that isn’t gluten-free).
Also new to this location: snacks such as Wagyu sliders (they’re served on brioche rolls that Yang wants to eventually make in-house), a juice and smoothie bar (Yang has two cold-press machines and YOR Health energy supplements), Lavazza espresso, fro-yo from 40 Carrots, and eventually breakfast and desserts, including cupcakes from Pichet Ong. Rhong-Tiam is currently open from 7 a.m. till 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, from 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. till 9 p.m. on Sundays; delivery will start next week and will go from 21st Street to 34th Street, and from the East River to Seventh Avenue.
Rhong-Tiam Express, 31 E. 21st St., nr. Park Ave S.; 212-420-7500