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Sri Praphai downhill?

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  • Peter Cuce Jun 19, 2000 08:13 PM
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Anyone been to Sri Praphai lately? I was there last night with a group of friends, so we got to eat fairly widely. Just about everything seemed to be missing something or to have the wrong taste. The pad thai, for example, seemed to have ketchup in it. It was much too sweet, had a strange color and almost no peanut taste. The spicy catfish was decent, as was the bamboo shoot curry, but the overall experience was blah.

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  1. If this is really true I don't know if I can keep on keeping on.

    Maybe it'w what you ordered? I have never liked Sripraphai's pad thai, and some of their other dishes can leave me cold as well......

    What about the grilled meats and salads, usually some of their best stuff??

    6 Replies
    1. re: Alan Divack

      Next time try their Massman curry, or the kal soy--two dishes that never failed us.

      1. re: Seth Ditchik

        As of two weeks ago it was wonderful - maybe you just had the wrong dishes - the BBQ beef salad, the mushroom and dried squid salad, the crispy fried pork with greens (rec in Jim's book) the fried mussels, green curry with duck, all great. As for the dishes, my Jennifer Brennan Thai cookbook gives ketchup as a pad thai ingredient; I noticed they didnt use peanuts as freely as Sripraphai as it other thai restaurants in NY - maybe the other places are loading them on due to American's love of the peanut. Anyway, I dont think there is a basis for fear right yet.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Perhaps we ordered wrong, but I've been there many times in the past, ordered widely on the menu and never been so overall disappointed with the tastes. Everything just seemed off. Maybe it was a bad night, but it didn't make me eager to go back.

          1. re: Peter Cuce

            We just had so much the opposite experience that I have to emphasize that everything we had on our recent visit tasted sparkling, delicious just wonderful; I've been dying to go back there ever since. However, in a small, family run restaurant like that, they do not have a cadre of cooks in the kitchen, and if the primary cook is sick or takes a day off, it could make a big difference in the product. You didnt say what way of the week you visited. Were the dishes you disliked dishes you had had before there and liked? that would certainly be an indication that something was wrong in the kitchen. I can understand how you feel, but I think you should try again.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I noticed too, when I went there with my parents last Tuesday, things were not up to the usual standards. Not that it was bad, just that everything seemed kind of uninspired. The massaman curry was a bit off and the ginger chicken was totally bland. I'm a little worried.

              Joe O'Brien

              1. re: Joe O'Brien
                d
                david sprague

                i've been there a few times in the last three or four weeks and found that, without meaning to sound condescending, a large group, dominated by anglos, is likely to get a less attractive array of goods than a small group. likewise, the more "offbeat" dishes tend to have more care given to them than pad thais and simple curries.

                but in terms of exploratory ordering, i haven't noticed any downturn in overall quality; the seafood and veggie dishes have always been my favorites, and i've admittedly found the chicken to be hit and miss.

                tangentially, i've come to appreciate arunee thai (on 79th just off roosevelt in jackson heights) of late. it's not as overwhelming as sripraphai or peak kwai tiao, but there are some real sleepers on the menu, especially the beef muscle and duck dishes.

    2. I haven't been there recently, but I have noticed tht when I go to one of my favorite Thai restaurants, the Thai Cafe in Greenpoint, Bklyn, the food on occasion is markedly different. In my last visit there, one of my favorite dishes had most of the same ingredients, but was unusually bitter and just different, not to my liking.

      The reason I suspect is that with restaurants like this, that are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, and with a big turnover, the cooking staff is often different. Perhaps you had this situation at your last visit to Sripraphai.

      1. Me and a friend went to Sripraphai on 7/2. We got the chiken sate, jungle curry, and duck curry in coconut milk. I also had a Thai iced tea. Everything was excellent: The tea was smooth, neon orange and a little thick, the sate's flavors were complex and not too sweet, both curries were bracingly hot, with the jungle curry containing tiny round eggplants. Very satisfying all around, as evidenced by our resolve to visit it again ASAP. Peter, maybe you just went on an off night, a constant danger in chowhound-land.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brian

          We went on 7/3 and everything was excellent (noodles, salads, grilled stuff, panang curry, dessert) with one sad exception: the Chinese broccoli with crispy pork was mediocre. The flavors just didn't come together, and the crispy bits of pork, mostly fat, were replaced by large-ish pieces of overcooked roast pork -- feh! We are hoping that the dish will soon return to its former glory.