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Jackson Hts - Zabb and Burmese Cafe

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I ate twice this week on that stretch of Roosevelt (maybe I should fit in the Korean fried chicken place to make it a trifecta).

Monday night, I went to the Burmese Cafe for the second time. Like my first visit, I found the dishes hit and miss. We had a goat curry which was just ok, gram fritter salad and preserved pork salad, both of which were delicious. Don't forget it's BYO (which I did until I showed up).

I got two salads as take-out Tuesday night from Zabb. The first was BBQ Beef w/Thai eggplant. The eggplant was very smoky - like babaganoush - which was unexpected but quite lovely. On my first bite, I thought to myself, "Oh, I forgot to tell them they could make it spicy," and then I noticed I didn't get any of the green sauce on that bit which was plenty spicy! I'd definitely get this dish again. A really interesting medley of flavors w/the lime, onion, chiles, and smoky eggplant.

I also had green papaya salad w/shrimp and squid (and a chunk of crab shell for good measure). This was actually blazingly spicy! Better than 95% of Thai food I've ever had, but didn't have the remarkable balance of flavors that Sripraphai so often achieves. Yes, I know, different styles and all, still . . . Nevertheless, I foresee many trips to Zabb in the future b/c it's a bit closer to me and not crowded and all, and I definitely need to explore more of the menu (this was only my second visit and the first was a few years ago). When people come to visit me in Queens, though, unless it's a Wednesday when Sri is closed or prime time when I might have to wait at Sri and b/c I think the food suffers when it gets crowded, I'll still be taking them to Sripraphai.

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  1. Had a similar expereience at Burmese Cafe. The tealeaf salad (recommended elsewhere on this board) was very good, and something I think about now a few months later. I also had the pork curry with sour mangos (I think that's what it's called). The curry sauce played nicely off the chunks of mango, but the pork was as touch and dry as any I've eaten. Still, that tealeaf salad makes me think I'll be back.

    3 Replies
    1. re: smcgill

      Next time, also try the ginger salad -- I like the tea leaf salad but love the ginger one. It's got the same texture thing going on but an even bolder flavor. Total yum. And try the steamed fish curry -- I've brought many people to the restaurant and that's always always always a dish people kvell over.

      1. re: jennsch

        Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. Me, I thought the ginger salad was so dominated by the ginger that it didn't have as much going on. Still really good, though, as was the (mild) pork soybean curry, three big hunks of pork in a thick gravy that had a tang similar to Korean fermented bean paste. Yummy spooned over rice.

        1. re: hatless

          Agree with nearly all of the previous comments. I note that no one has yet mentioned the tofu salad. It's really excellent and very distinctive - probably my favorite dish at BC.

    2. Visited Zabb last weekend with a Thai friend and was really blown away by this place. Much better than almost any Thai restaurant in Manhattan. I love a good pad kra prow and the one at Zabb was one of the best I've had outside of Thailand. Other dishes were great as well. I'll be coming back to this place when I have a craving for great Thai.

      1. I recently discovered Zabb thanks to this board - I was looking for a place for an after-midnight meal during the workweek and found Zabb among the Jackson Heights suggestions. I wish I had known about them before. The food is so good that they've surplanted Arunee Thai as my preferred local place for Thai. (Incidentally, I've never understood the unbridled enthusiasm for Sripraphai - apart from their wider selection of dishes than you find at most Thai places.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: racer x

          I have to agree with you about Sripraphai - good food but not as outstanding as people make it out to be. I prefer the food at Zabb to be honest with you.