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Sripraphai vs Khao Homm

s
saeyedoc Jul 13, 2006 06:19 PM

Will be in Manhattan next month. An ophthalmologist colleague of mine who has been in Thailand many times and takes care of the Royal Family said not to bother with Thai in Manhattan.

He said he recently ate with the Thai Ambassador at Khao Homm and thought it was the best he's had in the States. I wonder if that was because of his dining companion, or if it is the standard.

I've heard great things about Sripraphai, any opinions on which is better for authentic food? Won't have to time to go to both.

Thanks

  1. s
    saeyedoc Jul 19, 2006 08:06 PM

    If they have Khao Soi on the menu, I may go just for that. I took a cooking class in Chiang Mai and learned how to cook it, never made because it's very hard to find the ingredients (need Bamee egg noodles (only fresh and not available in most places) and hang lay curry powder ( I have a few packets from the class, can't find it anywhere). I've never see it on a menu in the states although I hear LOS in vegas has it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: saeyedoc
      Peter Cuce Jul 20, 2006 12:43 AM

      Sripraphai's Khao Soy is very good. I used to love going there on Saturday afternoons by myself (when that used to be their slow time) and ordering khao soy. It's quite spicy and measures up favorably to the ones I had in Thailand.

    2. spchang Jul 19, 2006 06:21 PM

      I don't think it's true that people don't recommend the noodle dishes at Sripraphai, that's actually why I ordered the drunken noodles last time.

      See the following thread for 6 posters recommending noodles dishes.

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      To be honest, I've had only one great dish at Sripraphai, the fried watercress salad. I've only ordered curry once and was not wowed by it.

      And I would also argue that street food is different in asia versus here. People actually go out for street food as a meal. Maybe not at one place, but there are seating arrangements. Whereas in america (and especially american, not ethnic, street food), it's usually for snacking. So in that regard, I think you can expect that they can execute a street food item well, since it should be held to the same standard as a restaurant dish. And at the very least, if they were to offer it, don't you think an american restaurant abroad could at least give you a tasty version of a hot dog?

      3 Replies
      1. re: spchang
        jen kalb Jul 19, 2006 07:29 PM

        notwithstanding, everybody agrees their pad thai is not very good. Maybe an order for it gets the reaction that an order for chow mein or chicken almond ding attracts in a cantonese restaurant.

        I ordered the drunken noodles the last time around and wasnt excited either - there is a chile noodle with basil and I think pork that works better for some reason. Or the Khao Soi, which is very good.

        Of the curries, Ive liked the mussaman and the green curry with duck the best - the "salads" are my favorite part of the menu - worth exploring all round, the beef salads, pork,papaya, mushroom,watercress,soft shell, etc etc. I wonder if they have green mango salad at this time of year?

        1. re: spchang
          Ike Jul 19, 2006 08:24 PM

          Good points, spchang. Yes, OK, you're right, I *have* seen a lot of recs for drunken noodles on this board, but I've also read people here saying (more than once) that the drunken noodles are the one exception to the "don't order noodles at Sri" guideline. Anyway, I liked their drunken noodles the first time or two that I tried them a couple of years ago, but since then I haven't been bowled over by them.

          Yeah, the wide noodles with basil and ground meat are not bad, if I recall. OK, but IMHO you shouldn't order any of their other noodle dishes. I'm a bit surprised to see recs for noodles in light and dark soup. I'm not a big soup person so I'll leave that one up to y'all to decide.

          I'm surprised that you weren't wowed by the curry, spchang, but to each his/her own. I think their curry rocks like an aardvark. Red, green, jungle, massaman, and esp. penang curry -- it's all spectacular there IMO.

          1. re: Ike
            E Eto Jul 19, 2006 09:10 PM

            There's plenty of good noodle dishes at Sripraphai. Besides the Khao Soy noodles, I also like the pad kee mao (isn't this what is commonly called drunken noodles?), the fried noodles with chicken and yellow squid (it has a wonderful, slightly smokey flavor), the various bean thread noodle dishes, the duck noodle soup.

            I had two occasions recently to try their tofu pad thai (eating with a vegetarian), and what came were two very different dishes. It seems that this dish might be determined by the whim of whoever is making it. The first time it was nicely plated with separate little stacks of bean sprouts, ground peanuts, chilis, cilantro, julienned tofu, and lime wedges which were to be mixed at the table. And the second time, it was a clump of stir fried noodles with some triangles of fried tofu and a bit of a garnish. Guess which was the busy night.

        2. b
          baysider Jul 19, 2006 12:38 AM

          My husband and I finally made it to Sripraphai about a month ago and had a decidely mixed meal. A whole fish dish was delicious, but our Pad Thai was a wreck -- the noodles were both crunchy and mushy at once. We sent it back, something I rarely do at a restaurant, and the second iteration was fine. But it did put a damper on the experience. I think the kitchen was just overwhelmed; it was a packed house. But I can't give it an unqualified rave.

          On the other hand, we've always had great meals at our local quality thai place, Erawan, on Bell Boulevard in Bayside.

          1 Reply
          1. re: baysider
            Ike Jul 19, 2006 05:24 PM

            Never order the pad thai at Sripraphai. They're not known for their noodle dishes and that's widely known to be one of their worst if not their very worst dish. (As I understand it, it's a vendor food in Thailand, sort of like a hot dog, or a pretzel here in NYC. You don't go into a restaurant in NYC generally to order a hot dog or a big salty pretzel.)

            Thai restaurants catering to foreigners have made it their big central attraction but, if I understand correctly, pad thai is to authentic Thai cuisine as chicken tikka masala is to Indian cuisine. Well, maybe not THAT inauthentic, but I don't get the impression that it was all that popular in Thailand before the campaign to reduce rice consumption during WWII because of a budget crisis. Would a nice American restaurant abroad be authentic if it showed off the hot dog and big salty pretzel as the centerpieces of American food? (Just to be clear, I have NOTHING against hot dogs and big salty pretzels. Just trying for some perspective here.)

            You'll see many recommendations for dishes at Srip. on this board if you do a search and noodles are rarely if ever mentioned favorably.

            And always get the watercress salad. The curries are great, and they do amazing soft-shell crab if you like that sort of thing.

            BTW, for more about the tikka masala:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tikka_masala
            http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazin...

          2. c
            chashaobao Jul 17, 2006 11:22 PM

            I have a suggestion if you do go to Sripraphai. Make sure they make the spicy dishes spicy. I went a few times several years ago and I loved it, but we'd ask for "mild" and it would come out unbelieveably spicy (and delicious).

            A couple weeks ago I went back, and with all the non-thais there i got the sense they might skimp on the heat. I ordered medium and it was way too mild, which messed up the balance. With too little heat, the sour flavor was WAY too prevalant. Very disappointed.

            It was a busy night, and I wondered if they had made two batches of papaya salad, one mild and one spicy, because it was definitely not medium. I'm sure I'm not the first person on here who's longed for the earlier years, when they were still a tiny restaurant, but they're very successful so they must be doing something right.

            5 Replies
            1. re: chashaobao
              k
              kittyslair Jul 18, 2006 01:07 AM

              I was there threee nights ago and it was not spicy at all. I asked for Thai spicy and I got medium to mild. One of the things I loved about Shri was it was spicy and good. Its just good and not great anymore. I wonder if it was a off night also. And yes there was tons of non-thais there.

              1. re: kittyslair
                janie Jul 18, 2006 03:49 AM

                Had a great meal friday afternoon, watercress salad-great, shrimp with green curry-perfect, chicken satay--great, squid with red chili sauce-good, and ginger chicken and chinese broccoli-okay.....so nice there on off hours.......everything spiced spicy as usual-----somehow they always know how we like it.....

              2. re: chashaobao
                spchang Jul 18, 2006 02:36 PM

                The last time, even though we ordered the papaya salad Thai spicy, it wasn't very spicy. More surprisingly, it was decidely not sour, with very little lime juice I guess? So it was quite bland and unappealing to me.

                For comparison, at Arunee, I've had a fantastic papaya salad, that came out very spicy, when they didn't even ask me how I wanted it. I went recently and they toned it down because we asked for a little less spicy, which I think they took to be slightly spicy instead. However, it was still sour, so it was still enjoyable even though it wasn't too hot.

                Actually, my friend suggested it might work better to use a number system (like 4 out of 5) to indicate to them how hot you want it. Maybe this would work better? Or maybe you have to be completely consistent and ask for everything hot hot, or else it tones down the whole meal? Anyways, it bugs me that even at the more authentic places, you are never sure what you are going to get.

                1. re: chashaobao
                  welle Jul 18, 2006 04:53 PM

                  IMO, it all depends on what night you go and which chef you get. Since their expansion, I definitely found some deviation in flavors, but not that it made food bland just different way of preparation. Since my SO cannot take too much heat, we always order 'medium' and it always amazes us how the food can still be very tasty.

                  1. re: welle
                    spchang Jul 18, 2006 04:58 PM

                    I've only been to Sripraphai twice, but neither of the two meals was consistently good across all the dishes. On the other hand, Arunee has given good meals that were consistent throughout.

                    At this point, Sripraphai certainly has the larger and more extensive menu, but Arunee seems to do as well (if not better) with certain Thai staples (papaya salad, drunken noodles, standard curries). This is just my experience and I'm sure not everybody agrees.

                2. welle Jul 17, 2006 09:06 PM

                  Definitely Sripraphai. I've been to Khao Homm once and was not impressed. The only redeeming dish was Roast pork leg (best IMO among all thai restos I've been to), but other dishes were so mediocre, they outweighed the goodness of one dish. Portions were on a smallish side.

                  1. Brian S Jul 15, 2006 04:40 PM

                    I agree with the above. Never been to Khao Homm but nonetheless vote for Sripraphai. I noticed in a NY Magazine short review of Khao Homm, the reviewer lauded them for being able to prepare special requests not on the menu. So I suspect the Thai Ambassador was given a far different -- and better -- meal than you'd get by ordering from the menu.

                    1. el jefe Jul 14, 2006 06:57 PM

                      I spend a lot of time in Thailand. I was at the dentist in Chiang Mai recently and while I was filling out forms, the receptionist noticed that I live in Queens. She commented that there's "a famous Thai restaurant in Queens". I asked "Sripraphai?" and she replied "Yes!!"

                      I've never been to Khao Homm, but if you're only going to one Thai restaurant in NYC, I agree with the previous poster -- it has to be Sripraphai.

                      1. Peter Cuce Jul 14, 2006 11:46 AM

                        Khao Homm is good, and there's some stuff on the menu that Sri doesn't have. It's definitely worth exploring, but if you can only go to one, I'd have to recommend Sri.

                        1. j
                          jlean22 Jul 14, 2006 05:04 AM

                          Never been to Khao Homm before, but sriphraphai's definitely a gem.
                          Almost all of my Thai friends love Shri, guess if it comes from the locals, you can't really
                          go wrong.

                          And their snacks and dessert section (by the cashier) are heavenly

                          Enjoy

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