photo credit: Willa Moore

Little Grenjai image

Little Grenjai



$$$$Perfect For:LunchWalk-Ins
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Coming to Little Grenjai feels like stopping by a friend’s house for homemade burgers—good ones, without the smoke alarms. And sure, the owners of this Thai-American spot in Bed-Stuy are not actually our friends. But we’ve come here so many times over the past few months that we hope we’re on our way. 

On our first visit, Little Grenjai was making smashburgers out of a kitchen that had no gas. (We’ve heard National Grid is annoying.) Now they have a functioning grill, a diner-like space with red tables and black-and-white tiled floors, and a full menu of their takes on Thai classics, but we return here for the same reason—a thai-style smashburger and tea cake, eaten at lunch on a chrome stool in the front window. 

The exterior of Little Grenjai

photo credit: Willa Moore

During the day you’ll find groups of friends who model occasionally and have hours to spare parked in the singular booth against the wall. The tables are so close together that you’ll end up comparing orders (burgers, with or without fried duck eggs) with the people next to you. There’s also no table service, so you’ll order at the counter and chat with the owner, who’s out of thai tea but just made an espresso if you want one. 

At night, the battery-powered tea lights on each table are turned on, and the burger is replaced by Thai small plates and natural wine. It’s a casual—yet aggressively charming—place to catch up with a friend over saucy clams on a thick slab of brioche, but some of the more traditional takes on Thai dishes on the menu fall a little flat—a plate of pad thai is small and limp, and the crispy rice salad might benefit from more crisp. And, if you’ve eaten the burger before, you’ll end up missing it. 

The interior of Little Grenjai.

photo credit: Willa Moore

With a constantly changing menu that we hope might one day feature Chaingmai-Chicago dogs, Little Grenjai feels like it's still finding its footing. For now, take a long lunch break, or make up a dentist’s appointment to enjoy a midday meal on a barstool in the front window. Bring someone or don’t—either way, make sure to order your own burger. 

Food Rundown

A spread of dishes at Little Grenjai.

photo credit: Willa Moore

Crab Rangoon

Less imitation crab, more scallion cream cheese. These crispy pockets taste like the crab rangoons of your childhood, if given the New York bagel treatment. They’re sometimes sold out, but if available, this is how you should start your meal.
The burger at Little Grenjai.

photo credit: Willa Moore

Krapow Smashburger

The burger is the best thing we ate at Little Grenjai, and the reason we’ll keep coming back (again, and again). The beef-and-pork patty is smashed—but not into oblivion, more like just a gentle smush—and topped with american cheese, holy basil, lemongrass-y giardiniera, and a spicy-sweet special sauce. You can add a thai fried duck egg for $4, but it's an excellent burger on its own.
The clam toast Little Grenjai.

photo credit: Willa Moore

Pad Cha Clam Toast

This dish is the highlight of the dinner menu. The toast feels like a successful mash-up of Thai and American flavors. Saucy clams are poured over an inch-thick slice of brioche and showered in thai basil.

Drunken Noodles

There's nothing wrong with these noodles, but there's nothing particularly exciting about them either. You can add shrimp ($5), duck confit ($12), crackling pork belly ($5), or tofu puffs ($5), which feels like it should make things more interesting. In reality, a thin strip of chewy pork cracklings or a few stray pieces of fried tofu placed on top feels a bit disjointed.
The Thai tea cake at Little Grenjai.

photo credit: Willa Moore

Thai Tea Cake

When you arrive at Little Grenjai, ask for a piece of the thai tea cake—even if it means eating it before you eat anything else. It is the thing that sells out the most, and that’s because it is a truly excellent dessert—moist and not-too-sweet, with thick, almost-chewy orange frosting that tastes like a thai tea woke up one morning and realized it would just be better in cake form. If you finish your meal and they still have more slices, order another and consider yourself lucky.

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