"At Pinto Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar, the fusion starts with the name, goes crazy on the floor, and ends only a night later, with me standing front-lit and chilled before the refrigerator eating the last of the leftovers right out of the box. It is two kinds or restaurants in one, or maybe four: a Thai restaurant involved in some kind of high-speed collision with a fast-moving sushi bar, the inevitable tangle resulting in a mash-up (pure panang curry, pad see eiw and tom kha existing in discreet spaces, but rubbing up close against yakisoba with bonito, kanikama crab stick nigiri, futomaki, miso soup and gyoza) and, in the places where the wreckage becomes too entangled, too inseparable, a fusion bistro offering complete geo-social oddities like Samurai Pad Thai, Japanese curry stew, red mango maki with fruit salsa and mayonnaise and New York cheesecake topped with lychee syrup. There is no map that can define the boundaries of Pinto's catch-me-if-you-can menu. It is as international as some kind of psychotic Foreign Service lawn fete, as diverse as the line for the U.N. men's room after chili night in the canteen."
I really wish I knew what that was supposed to be a picture of.
From this week's review of Pinto Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar, which only gets weirder from here.Pinto Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar is a strange place. Set smack in the middle of the Broadway restaurant drag, it is a place where fusion is taken to extremes, where udon and pad Thai rub up against each other, sushi is served alongside tom kha and two fairly disparate food cultures are repeatedly smashed together in the hopes that they'll stick.
But you know what? It actually kinda works. On paper, it seems ridiculous, but in execution, I found the place to be a pleasant oddity--maybe not yet completely in command of the ways in which two or three or four completely separate cuisines can come together on a single plate, but well on the way to forging something fairly unique among canons that can sometimes stale when practiced solely in exclusion.
It isn't a perfect amalgam, but there's something about Pinto's sticks-and-duct-tape approach that I found attractive. Not only that, but some of the food--absent all discussions of geography or history--was really good. It's a place worth checking out, to be sure.
And now you can read all about it tomorrow, either here or in the papers. Which isn't quite as good as sitting down in front of a plate of Samurai Pad Thai or mango, tuna and salsa hand rolls, but might be the next best thing.