What's your favourite dish at Sripraphai?
I like the beef salad (appetizer), garlic and pepper shrimp, the offal soup with seafood substituted for offal (someone else mentioned it as well), the curries, and the noodles with beef and onions to name a few. I used to like the duck with spicey sauce but it wasn't as good the last couple of times I ordered it. Maybe i was just unlucky.
Desserts, I like the banana sticky rice (which they are often out of), and custard with pumpkin.
I LOVE the shrimp with fish-flavored curry sauce (not the fish-paste curry, which is also good). Had it for the first time last week, and the waitress urged me not to order it ("only for Thai people!") It was spicy and sour and delicious. Also, I tried Pad Thai for the first time there (I'd avoided it in the past, having heard negative reviews) and I thought it was outstanding. Lemony and different than any other versions I've tried, and very spicy. I much prefered it to the basil noodles w/ chili, but this could be because I always order the vegetarian version of that hallowed dish.
By the way, is that Tom Meg the singer???
re: Dan Sonenberg
It's funny, I was going to post saying don't order the pad thai, because I've tried it on three separate, widely spaced occasions and never enjoyed it. One time it tasted like ketchup, the most recent version was kind of mushy, with all the noodles glopped together and without any special taste, especially compared to the good versions I've had. The basil noodles w/chili is outstanding, but yeah, I think you have to get it with meat, because it adds an entirely different flavor/texture component. I didn't enjoy my Sripraphai visits as much when I was a vegetarian.
Based on someone's recent recommendation, I tried the Yum Pak Boonk Krob, which consists primarily of deep fried watercress, shrimp, squid, and garlic and has an incredible vinegary bite to it. It instantly rocketed to near the top of my Sripraphai favorites list. Other favorites are the raw shrimp w/lime, the green curry with duck, the green curry with bamboo and chicken, the som tom, the aforementioned noodles w/ basil & chili, the pork laab, penang curry w/ anything, the kao soi, and of course the banana sticky rice.
Really, except for the pad thai, I haven't had anything I didn't like. The satay is tasty but the chicken quality leaves a little something to be desired--it's a little tough. Still a good version, though.
re: Peter Cuce
Fortunately for me I eat fish, so I always feel like there's plenty to have a Sripraphai. I went with a bunch of pure veggies once and it did feel limiting, although the waitstaff is very understanding and will suggest good veggie dishes or alter any dish on the menu to suit your needs. (some of the alterations, it seems, can suck the soul from a dish)
Maybe I just lucked out on the pad thai - it really was good. But not entirely pad-thai-like.
Fried catfish salad is nice, though not what you'd expect if you've never had this dish before. They also often offer a salad of fried watercress that's great.
I like the green curry with roast duck. I especially like the hunks of pineapple that they throw in. So inauthentic, almost trashily so, and yet delicious in my opinion.
I also like their hoi tod (sort of an oyster omelet), and I usually request it extra crispy.
I LOVE their tom saap talay. Tom saap is on their soup menu, but only the pig offal version. You have to ask for the talay (seafood) version, which is a clear fiery broth strongly flavored with lemongrass and lime with shrimp, squid and fish.
I always pick up some of their pork jerky to go. And I take home a different Thai sweet almost every time I go. Some are downright odd (sweet sticky rice with dried shrimp?) but it's always fun and interesting eating.
re: Tom Meg
Oh, a couple of things I learned this weekend at Sripraphai:
It seems that the older woman's family name is Sripraphai (Rob, Wendy, please correct me if I have scrambled this.)
And when I went there on Friday by myself to plan what I might bring to the No Idea social I found that she is the best one to talk to if you feel you need to ask questions about the food. She speaks English "like a native" and was very gracious and helpful when I was asking her about the snack foods at the counter in front. Not to say that the young waitresses are unfriendly or unhelpful, but they have a harder time expressing themselves in English.
And since someone said the southern style curry was too much for them I accepted the challenge and tried it. It Is Really HOT, with at least 3 kinds of chiles in it, but it also tasted really really good. I got the pork. I asked for a slice of lime and after just a little squeeze over the top I chowed down and went up in flames but loved every bite of it. Also, unlike with some really spicy Indian food, it was very easy on my stomach.
Yep, you got it right. She is the owner and her name is Sripraphai. Her son has a degree in finance from Hofstra (discovered when Rob, who is a linguistics and Swahili professor there, gave her his card). When we ordered the miang we asked her if she was familiar with Chowhound, which she wasn't. She asked for the site address and then when we came in I gave her a sheaf of postings. Who knows, maybe the crispy pork will return to its former heights?!
re: Wendy Leonard
I adore Sripraphai, having eaten there a few times.
However, they serve a dish that you should know about before ordering -- the Catfish Yellow Curry.
When I ordered it, the waitress made a face and strongly encouraged me to order something else. "Most Americans can't stand the smell," she said.
Being a chowhound, I HAD to order it. This was a challenge!
It was without question the single most disgusting dish I've ever eaten at a New York restaurant. The smell alone could knock a buzzard off a manure truck -- a strong, barynard-feces odor that curled my nosehairs.
And yes, I ate the whole thing. I'd made my bed...
It consisted of pieces of whole catfish, head included, cut vertically into 1-inch cross-sections, bones and all.
Everything else I've gotten there has been fantastic.
But you gotta respect a place that serves a dish that it KNOWS will offend Western sensibilities. I defy any chowhound to order and enjoy this dish. Alpha Dog, I'm throwing the gauntlet to you, dear friend!