Feel like a starving student long on an empty stomach and short on cash? Then pay a visit to Cafetasia, a place where NYU students escape their mundane on- campus cafeteria food without spending too much of their drinking funds. With an ambiance combining the camaraderie of a university dining hall and the laid-back trappings of a downtown ashram, the overhead candle lights softly and unexpectedly illuminate the often noisy communal tables presided over by a smiling stone Buddha. Beyond this highly contrasted atmosphere, the real attraction is their reasonably priced Thai-fusion. The lunch special is $7.50 including an appetizer with a thai iced tea adding an extra $1 to the tab.
The fusion menu covers Thailand (crispy roasted duck in red curry) to Japan (addictive ginger-accented chicken gyoza), China (succulent tamarind-glazed spareribs), and Malaysia (chicken laksa in spicy coconut broth). Dishes also range in size from extra small ($3) to extra large ($14), making it simple to choose according to your appetite and budget. Small dishes include the Calamari Fritters with light-spicy ginger-avocado sauce cut into strips rather than the typical rings or seasoned duck apple salad accompanied with sweet sticky rice and fresh sliced mango. From the ‘medium’ list, try the Thai ‘Mieng-Kum’ Coconut Wraps; a combination of ginger, onion, peanuts, lime, crispy shallot and roasted coconut flakes in a Boston lettuce wrap. From the large dishes, try the Duck Pad Thai, crispy duck mixed in rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, tofu, bean sprouts, scallion and sprinkled peanuts.
If you’re not sure what to get, order tapas style or try the 3-plate sampler for only $10.