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Sripraphai strategy for birthdya dinner

I am thinking of heading to Sripraphai for dinner with a group of friends(6-10) on a friday night next month. I was wondering what the best strategy for getting a table would be. I have been in California for over a year so i have not been there in a while. If i recall correctly, they do not take reservations. How many people can they accomodate in case it gets big? Also any new dishes in their repetoire worth trying?

Thanks

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  1. They have expanded quite a bit, so I think you won't have a problem with getting a table.

    1. The earlier the better. If you can get those people to show up at 6:00 you'll be in good shape.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Bob Martinez

        6:00 probably not necessary these days, given how much bigger the place is now. They've done not just one, but two expansions. However, the staff seem reluctant to open the beautiful new back garden patio area even when it's very busy; maybe it's hellish to try to wait tables back there for some reason.

        It can still get really packed on Friday and Saturday nights but the lines usually aren't ridiculously long anymore. I'd say if you're there by 7 or 7:30, excellent. Otherwise, you might wait 15-25 minutes. Probably not more unless you have all 10 people.

        For anybody reading this on 7/20 and thinking of heading out to Sri today, call first to be sure their power problems are resolved... on Tuesday 7/18, Sri was closed due to the big blackout in the Woodside area, which continued yesterday, Wed 7/19, although Sri is closed Wednesdays anyway. I trekked all the way out there to meet some friends before I remembered it was closed Wednesdays, but even if it weren't, it still wouldn't have worked out because the whole neighborhood was without electricity, people were spilling out onto the streets from every building because there was no A/C, there was some sort of underground fire or something on 62nd and the FD came out in force, and grocery stores were throwing out spoiled meat. Chaos. Fortunately Zabb and Upi Jaya were both open up the street. Upi Jaya, always a good second choice! Mmmmmmm.

        1. re: Ike

          While the comments of the people who eat there more often may be more accurate, I would be hesitant to say that you would not have trouble getting in at peak time on a Friday evening. About two months ago we (two people) went there on a *Thursday* night about 7:00 PM and the place was packed and and several parties were waiting outside for their number to be called. We were told by the staff that the wait was at least of half hour. We went to Zabb instead and had a great meal.

          1. re: bobjbkln

            Wow, really? And that was after their most recent expansion, right? When it comes to "eating there more often," in all honesty, I should defer to you, because I only get a chance to get out there about once a month or so. I actually live in NJ, but I work in NYC and, in any case, we sure don't have any Thai in NJ that can measure up to Sri. It's worth the trek.

            What did you have at Zabb that was really good? I went there once and thought it was OK, but NOT worth the trek for me, or my friend from Inwood/Wash Hts -- nowhere near the complexity and depth of flavors I've had at Sri. Can't remember what we had -- a couple of larbs, I think. Maybe we should've tried the som tum? Or maybe it was an off night.

            1. re: Ike

              I also had an underwhelming meal at Zabb. I ordered catfish larb and chicken basil, and I felt like I was outed as a non-Thai, as they were hardly spiced authentically (especially the larb). I'm pretty sure I asked for it to be extra hot, but it didn't help.

              1. re: Ike

                its hard to remember specific dishes - the salads are generally very good, the drunken noodles (better than sri) the BBQ meat, the hot pot (remember this is issan so not a place for curries). We've not had to ask for spicy but maybe theve gotten cautious - why not ask for some nam prik pao or other chile sauce if they underseason? It seems to me they offer a liquidy chile condiment that is very good.

                1. re: Ike

                  Yes, this was after both expansions (in fact, I remember a few years ago before any expansions, not having a problem getting in Thursday evenings). I note that a later poster indicated that Thursdays may be more crowded than the weekends. BTW, once a month is more than we get to Sri. This was about two months ago. I don't remember what we had at Zabb except for the Drunken Noodles which was excellent. The other dishes were good too, I just don't remember. I do remember that they don't serve beer and that getting to a grocery store to get some was a pain with all the construction around there.

                  1. re: Ike

                    Actually, they do serve beer now, which sucks, b/c the beer and wine list is not very good. I liked it better when it was BYO.

                  2. re: bobjbkln

                    In my experience, for some odd reason, they're more crowded on Thursdays than on Fridays. Maybe because they're close on Wed, or everyone trying to beat weekend crowds?..

                    1. re: welle

                      Laguera- are you saying Zabb is no longer BYO either? what is happening with the world?

                      1. re: welle

                        No jilieater, I don't know about Zaab. I was talking about Sri. Didn't realize the poster was referring to Zaab being BYO.

                        Incidentally, I went the other night and asked twice for the dishes to be spicy, and none were spicy enough. Disappointing. But everything was still delicious.

                2. Thanks for the tips. Any new dishes to try with the expansion?

                  1 Reply
                  1. I love the green curry w/roasted duck. Make sure you order some sticky rice to soak up the leftover sauce.....
                    Also, I always have to order the drunken noodles.

                    1. Awesome that you're going with a big group - that means you can order up a storm!

                      I would second the recommendation for green curry with duck; their coconut rice is a good pairing.

                      On apps, don't miss the softshell crab from the main menu (the one from the 'specials' isn't as spectacular as the original) - perfectly fried, with a kind of green mango salsa on the side. For 6-10, you'll want multiples of this one.

                      The bbq beef (rib?) app is also quite good - nice lime flavor - although it's spicy, so beware!

                      The chicken coconut soup is another fave. I know, you see it at every Thai joint, but Sri has nailed this dish: imo, perfect balance of tangyness, spice, and substance.

                      The noodles with Chinese broccoli are a good choice for a group, where some people might be less tolerant of spicyness. It won't blow your mind, but it's a solid dish that's sweet rather than spicy, so good to have on hand to balance out some of the heat from the others.

                      Another good dish-to-have-on-hand is the green papaya salad - spicy and unique, and just good in terms of getting some veggie content on the table.

                      Ouf... getting hungry writing this. Maybe I'll make a pilgrimmage out this weekend!

                      1. OK - taking my boss to Sri when he's in town this Friday night. He's half Thai, so knows good Thai home cooking. So far, the game plan will consist of:

                        Starters:
                        green papaya salad
                        Fried watercress

                        Entrees:
                        khao soi
                        green curry w/duck
                        penang curry

                        My wife will be there, also, so we can spread out and order a couple more dishes. I am in a horrible rut there - I always just get the fried watercress salad (one of my favorite dishes of all time, and that's not just at Sri) and have some of my wife's pad see ew (which is OK, but she loves their version, I think). Is there anything else we should add to this list - particularly anything that would be, for a lack of a better description, "Bangkok Street Market Style"? Also, which is the crispy pork dish that everyone raves about?

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: lambretta76

                          I think the whole fried snapper with chili-lime sauce is amazing there. Their curry is good at Sri, but they really excel at these fish dishes. (Don't get the tilapia though!)..We also get the fried soft shell crab appetizer which comes with a great little mango salad. The crab dish has become my wife's comfort food...

                          1. re: Silverjay

                            what's wrong with the tilapia? i always order the same when i go. looking into branching out. also, any suggestions for more "diet" and "health-conscious" dishes there?

                            1. re: tracyk

                              Oh, I'm very anti-tilapia in general these days. It's one of my themes when I talk food with people. Also, they serve it as filets there, which I find kind of stange for this ilk of dishes...Health conscious-wise, I don't know what they call it, but it's basically the mango salad I referred to above, but served as an entre topped with seafood like shrimp and squid. It's either in the salad section or a la carte sections of the menu.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                "Oh, I'm very anti-tilapia in general these days."

                                You're not alone. There was a big thread about this last year.
                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                          2. re: lambretta76

                            This doesn't look like a good balanced approach to eating at Sripraphai. Three curry items seem like a little overload. Besides the khao soi, one of my favorite noodle dishes there is the one with yellow squid and chicken. I'd throw in a few more appetizer items too, like fish cakes, or bbq pork, or the fried chicken (or wings). Also, try the pork leg with chili and basil. The chinese broccoli with crispy pork is also a good meal balancer.

                            1. re: E Eto

                              Are the green curry and penang curry that similar? If they are - is there another curry that is a couple of steps further from the green curry? The part that sold me on the penang curry was the cucumber yoghurt sauce that I read about in an earlier post.

                              1. re: lambretta76

                                The green curry and penang curry are quite different. Also green curry has a more soupy consistency, and penang is dry. The yogurt part is actually very insignificant though, you can't taste it that much, IMO. I always get dark beef tendon soup with my meals. It has a very distinct flavor from anything on the menu, and helps to balance out the meal. Plus it's by original preparation not too spicy to refresh your tastebuds from all other firey dishes (depends on a chef, my recent order was spicy but still good).

                                1. re: lambretta76

                                  The green and penang curry are quite different, but that's three curry dishes you selected. While it's perfectly fine to order those, I just find it lopsided with curry. Also, with penang curry, it's beef or not at all.

                                  1. re: E Eto

                                    I don't want to come off as an ass, but we will be ordering much more than what three people could possibly eat. I'm looking for a variety of tastes and flavors, and both me and my friend both skew towards curry. So, three curry dishes isn't going to be a problem becuase we'll probably get 10-12 dishes for the table. I've added the snapper, pork leg w/chili, and chinese broccoli w/crispy pork - is there another salad that doesn't resemble the watercress salad too much (their larb is very similar, same with the chinese sausage salad - I know Zabb is the place to go for Thai salads, but perhaps there's something I've overlooked on this menu.)

                                    Also - any good desserts here - or anything in the vicinity? (Maybe up towards the Heights or in Woodside/Sunnyside w/in walking distance?)

                                    1. re: E Eto

                                      Sorry, it wasn't clear from your original post that you had more in mind. In that case, I would add either the duck salad or the squid salad. The bean thread salad is also a good departure (though I'm not sure it qualifies as a salad). I usually get a selection of items from their dessert case, which I find pretty decent. La Flor for dessert is probably the closest option.

                                      1. re: E Eto

                                        I love their desserts too! Especially mung bean thing, and pumpkin custard.
                                        You can also have a dessert and cafe cubano at the bar of El Sitio.

                                  2. re: lambretta76

                                    Few things i like to note.. if you boss is up with the Thai Cuisine..

                                    Do NOT order Khao Soi <- it's a noodle soup. Not meant to be eaten with rice or any of suce.

                                    Likewise, I would ask your wife to refraint from ordering PadSeeew, unless your boss is up for it.

                                    Both Pad See-ew and Koasoil are individual dish, not meant to be eaten with rice and thus most thai will be awkward about having it with the other stuffs that mean to eat with rice.

                                    My suggestion:

                                    Green Papaya salad (ask your boss the style he prefers) - there are two, one with pickle crab, the other with dried shrimp. I know Sri used to have them, not sure if they still do. Some prefer crab, other prefer dried shrimp, and then there are those that enjoy both.
                                    Fried Watercress. (b/c you like it)
                                    Catfish with mango salad <- many thais like this.

                                    also ask if they have this...
                                    Khao Tung Na Tung <- a delight that most thai at one time or another has it, but not very easily found in the states. It's pretty much rice puff (like rice crispies) serve with sauce.

                                    Entree

                                    Green Curry with duck
                                    Penang Curry
                                    and another none spicy dish :)
                                    like Stor pad goong (shrimp and fava bean), kana moo grob (chinese broccolli with crispy pork),

                                  3. Just a couple of comments:
                                    The green curry and penang curry are so different (and both so good) that you should order both. I'm partial to the penang curry with pork, although the beef is fine. I tried it once with chicken and it was not "real" chicken, but some kind of ground and pressed chicken like you'd get in Chicken McNuggets. It was by far the worst dish I've ever had at Sripraphai.
                                    The Kao Soi is more of a soup than a curry so that fits too. You did say thought that you were looking for "Bangkok Street Market Style". Kao Soi is a specialty of northern Thailand. I haven't tried Sripraphai's version lately so can't comment on how it is.
                                    Lastly, I was in Sripraphai last week and they had a note on the menu that said they don't serve noodle soups after 5:00pm.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: el jefe

                                      Whatever you do, don't order the sour yellow curry with thai catfish. We ordered it the other night, and a waitress came by and said "Have you ever had that before? I never reccommend that to anybody" !! Needless to say, it was... a taste I can't say I'd like to have again in the near future, though I am quite adventurous. Wish i had gone for the green curry.