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Sripraphai - 45 minute wait but empty tables?

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I am so disappointed. After driving an hour in traffic to finally try Sripraphai, my husband and I found a crowd of about 30 people waiting outside to be seated. When I went inside to get a number, about 1/2 of the tables were empty. I'm not sure why they weren't seating people.

I expected a wait since it was a Saturday night, but this was crazy. We ate somewhere else (no place special).

Is it always this bad on Saturdays? Is it really worth the wait? Anyone know if it is much less crowded on a Sunday afternoon?

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  1. Maybe they were short on staff and felt it would be better to provide good service to fewer people at a time than piss off a full house. Restaurants can't win sometimes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hatless

      I haven't been there in maybe a half year, but I assume it's still great and worth your time. This is after all one of the few legendary NY Chowhound spots. However, I learned years ago to avoid the place on a Saturday night. The reasoning was more obvious when the place was a small storefront.

      Commentary by Hatless could be correct. Frankly, I was shocked they lost nothing in quality when they tripled (I'm guessing) the quantity of tables. They obviously know their rep. Perhaps they thought it better to maintain the quality under some sort of circumstance. Shit does happen.

      Did you ask any of those waiting what they thought might've been going on? Did you wait 45 mins and then just leave?

      BTW - a friendly suggestion: if yr bothering to hustle out to Queens from wherever, especially by car, you could do a lot better by having a couple places in mind, maybe arm yourself with printouts of Chowhound suggestions. There's no reason to eat "no place special". You could've easily jumped back on the BQE and been in Flushing in 10 mins. if you wanted to stick to Chinese or Korean.

    2. as someone who lives a few blocks away and goes often, I have a few guesses, though maybe they were just being lame! First is that they do take reservations and have been crazy busy on weekends of late, and perhaps they had a lot of reservations coming and weren't good and dealing with it. Second, we went just a few days ago and there was a guy we'd never seen before who seemed to be in charge of the orders but things were getting seriously messed up. They bought out our appetizer...then 3 minutes later brought another of the same one out. Then while halfway done with my entree...they brought me another plate! So my guess is that maybe somebody is on vacation or something. The food was great as always, but the service was acting really screwy. Maybe by saturday they knew not to take the chance and kept the seating to a minimum.

      The place has tons of tables, two rooms and outside, and I've gone while every single one of them is filled, so it sounds like it was an anomoly.

      And yes, it's worth it, but if it's really backed up, keep going up roosevelt and try some of the salads at Zabb, Sri's closest competitor.

      1. I've been a Sri regular for over 5 years. I go at various times but rarely Sat eve. What happened to you is really strange, never seen that occur at Sri before. My guess is that they may have been trying to put the tables together for a big party hence not seating anyone.

        I think you should try again, go Sunday afternoon, I had lunch there today at 12:30 and there were plenty of seats.

        1. I went on sunday afternoon around 4:30pm and both main rooms were totally packed, which was crazy! and the third annex room was empty. the back was empty but that's because it was raining. but I didn't see any lines out the door, so I'm sure they would've taken additional customers. I haven't been there in about a year and was happy that nothing had really changed. they must've staffed up since we were well taken care of, despite all the customers and room.

          anyway, had a simple meal of the papaya with dried shrimp and peanut, a special salad of "salid" fish and mango, and a soft-shell crab special (green curry with veg). all delicious, all quite filling in the end (granted, we also had the coconut ice cream dessert, served in a coconut shell and absolutely delicious). the salid fish was actually these fish crisps; very crisp, almost a bit too hard, but topped with mango salad. it was my friend's first time and I demonstrated uncharacteristic restraint in NOT ordering half the menu, esp. the recs on this thread:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406525

          anyway, go for it again! its worth the trip for sure.

          1. Last time I went there was a very long wait for tables in the garden, but no wait for tables inside. I wonder if that's what was going on with the line outside? The reservation issue mentioned below might also be slowing things down.