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Sripraphai - Your Favorite Dish(es)

With only hours to go before cutting out of work and heading out to Woodside to enjoy a lovely Thai dinner, I was wondering what the favorite dishes of some of the resident CHs were!

For me, no visit to Sripaphai would be complete without:

Papaya Salad
Fried Boneless Pickled Pork Spare Ribs
Roast Pork Chili Basil (C17)
Whole Fried Fish
Coconut or Lychee Ice Cream

With a trip to Thailand on the horizon in November, I've made a point during my last few visits to Srip of trying some new dishes that I've never had before. To varying results...and to be honest, nothing that I'd come out and order again:

Fried Pork w/Chinese Brocolli (greasy and bland)
Some sort of Catfish chunky curry (tasty, but too many bones in that there catfish to make it a fun eating experience!)
Chicken with Pineapple (this was very chinese-food esque...very unremarkable...hey, it was the waitresses recommendation)

So chime in here y'all, and share your favorite dishes for the mutual benefit of the CH community!

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  1. The Massaman Curry is good. Not good enough to get regularly (too much to try!), but good enough to have changed my notion of what Massaman Curry was supposed to be.

    For dessert, I've sometimes had a "Palm Sundae" with coconut sticky rice, coconut ice cream, peanuts, palm nuts, a sort of white coconut syrup, and maybe a little toasted shaved coconut. Amazing.

    1. I LOVE the ground meat with chili and basil -- I choose pork, and get it with their amazing coconut rice.

      1. I love the chu-chee curry, which is a dry-ish non-coconut milk curry. I get it with tilapia filet, fried. And coconut rice, you gotta eat it with coconut rice. I always get the green mango salad too.

        Unfortunately, I get SEVERE and DISABLING intestinal cramps from the curry, but it might be worth it.

        1. Penang curry is great and of course the beef yum/salad. The softshell crab salad w/papaya is great too.

          1. I am shocked and dismayed that someone said that the Massaman Curry was anything less than sublime. Let's not forget the stellar green curry variations, and a perenial favorite: the sauteed pork with string beans (a dry curry with no coconut milk, very underated). And of course one of their greatest dishes: fried chinese watercress with chicken and squid. Anyone who does not like these dishes must be directly confronted and accused of a less than sincere position. HA!

            4 Replies
            1. re: NYJewboy

              Sorry; I worded my response incorrectly. In nominating the Massaman Curry for special mention in a thread about favorites at Sripraphai, I certainly intended to suggest sublimity, if that's the word I'm looking for. However, I've only been there about a dozen times, and I merely meant to say that, as good as the curry was, it was not so good that I am driven reorder it every time. I am still exploring their vast menu, and I have a long way to go. Rough life, right?

              1. re: ratatosk

                I love the fact that it even comes up. Isn't Chowhound great? Where else could 'sublimity' be seriously mentioned in relation to spiced chicken?

              2. re: NYJewboy

                Not to shock and dismay you, but i don't think the massaman curry at sri is particularly good. i admit to not being a big fan of massaman curry in general (i like my thai food thai and my indian food indian--go ahead, give me grief for that inaccurate throw away line) but the couple of times i have had massaman at sri i wasn't blown away. but then, i don't like the green curry there much either, and other people rave about it.

                what we like to order:

                the fried watercress app
                the softshell crab with green mango sauce
                the pork, peanut, and ginger salad
                the pork with string bean curry or the penang curry (the two best curries imho, besides the southern, which i like but rarely order because most of the time i'm eating with people who can't take the heat)
                drunken noodles (my son's fav)
                chicken with cahsews (but you have ask for it spicy spicy)
                the larb
                tom kha gai (i'm the only one who likes this, so i usually get it to go and eat it the next day. if you like this soup, i think sri's version is delicious)
                chicken with ginger and scallions (sometimes)
                the fish cakes

                There are others but i can't think of them at the moment.

                Uberchef, you are going to have a great time eating in thailand. Like italy, it is one of the great eating countries of the world. I go every year or so to visit my family and literally start planning my meals (and salivating about them) a couple of weeks before getting on the plane.

                1. re: missmasala

                  NOTE TO ALL CHOWHOUNDS: always listen to missmasala. Her suggestions have never steered me wrong yet.

              3. i just visited thursday for lunch. i had the tofu soup w/ minced chicken. sublime and herbal. i also had my standard, the broiled catfish salad. incendiary and addictive. here are pics from my thread no one seemed to notice :(

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445589

                2 Replies
                1. re: mrnyc

                  "here are pics from my thread no one seemed to notice :("

                  I missed it the first go-round, so thanks for posting it again. Nice pix.

                  I don't love the fried catfish salad, don't know why except that I don't like catfish. Or tilapia, bleh. But even that photo made me hungry.

                  For some reason I get locked into A 17 (bbq pork topped with garlic--!--,chili and lemon juice) and A-32 (fried, seasoned & marinated pork strips with spicy sauce). Neither dish is particularly complex, but I can never resist biting into those bird chilies and taking the top of my head off. They are so hot they make my ears ring, but they have such a wonderful, delicate and sweet taste. For a second.

                  If I had to pick a favorite dish, it would probably be the Kao-Soy curry egg noodles, really rich and wonderful. But a word in praise of the Saute drunken noodles--it is a nice, nice dish. Sly, subtle heat. Absolutely delicious.

                  I suspect that uberchef will enjoy his trip to Thailand. I loved it to death.

                  1. re: Deb Van D

                    (i dont wanna go to rehab) no, no, no deb!

                    sorry couldnt resist - lol!

                    but seriously, the catfish pics are not of the fried catfish dish (a-8), i dont get that one. i get the other one (a-14), which is the broiled, shredded and seasoned catfish meat. that's the one -- no fried stuff for me i gotta watch the cholesterol! but that one is my standing order when i get lazy with the menu.

                    i know many folks dont really like catfish.....truthfully i really look at it as just a fish-based spice delivery vehicle.

                    i do love the way they make steamed fish tho.. the ginger, lime and chilis really ratchet it up to another level for me.

                    the curry egg noodle dish that you mentioned is one i have also enjoyed (i am quickly drawn to curry dishes on any menu).

                    ps -- they have a lot of soft-shell crab variations on the specials currently.

                2. Here's my post with pics...
                  http://www.chowhound.com/photos/73118

                  1. My favorites are the jungle curry, duck curry with pineapple, ground meat with holy basil and chiles, soft shell crab appetizer, coconut rice and drunken noodles. They've always been spot on.

                    NY Jewboy will have to call me crazy because I'm not a fan of the watercress salad. It's too greasy for my taste. I would prefer it if there was less fried watercress and more squid, etc. I'm also not a fan of the papaya salad -- I think because I had the most delicious renditions in Thailand made with a salted crab mashed into it. From my recollection, the one at Sriprapahi did not have the crab -- it makes all the difference in the world.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      not having the salted crab is still authentic. those are two different salads, the som tam with the crab and without. i don't think sri does the crab one, but i'm pretty sure Zabb down roosevelt does, if you crave it.

                      i, too, rarely order papaya salad in this country because it's never that good. I'm not crazy about the salted crab, but to me a good one must be made in a mortar and pestle with little pieces of asian lime smashed in. Oh, i'm getting hungry just thinking about my favorite som tam in bangkok right now.

                      1. re: missmasala

                        Ayada, on Woodside, imho makes the best papaya salad in the nabe. Their green mango salad has salted crab in it and it is delicious. The salted crab there was the cleanest freshest looking salted crabs I have ever seen. It is salted blue crabs and vibrant looking. I am not sure that is very authentic since I remember seeing a pile of salted crabs in Bangkok that looked distinctly grayish, but that could be down to the type of crab used.

                        -----
                        Ayada
                        77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                        1. re: ferdia

                          yes, thanks for the rec on the green mango with the crab; it is so different than their som tam with crab; I have been ordering the green mango one exclusively since your rec.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        Yeah, I wish there was a bit more squid and chicken sometimes too....

                        1. re: NYJewboy

                          that's funny, i feel just the opposite. i find the chicken, shrimp, and squid a distraction and would actually prefer the dish if it was just the watercress, cashews, and sauce/dressing or whatever it is.

                          I don't find the the watercress greasy because it's usually crisp and fried well, but on an off night i suppose it could be grease laden.

                          1. re: missmasala

                            there are two things you can do...there's the mysterious SPP vegetarian menu which has a veggie version of the Watercress salad which has tofu instead of the chicken/shrimp/squid, or you can ask for the regular version but with mock meat instead of chicken/shrimp/squid which ends up much better then the "vegetarian" version, even though it aslo vegetarian. Not all of the waiters know what you mean when you ask for the mock meat, so you may have to explain! It's really good that way though.

                            1. re: Widmark

                              hmm, thanks for the tip. i might try that. really, i want just the watercress so the crispy pieces and crunchy cashews play off the sauce and the dish is simpler in its tastes and contrasts. but the mock meat would still be an improvement.
                              of course, the only reason i've never asked for just the watercress is that my dining companions usually like the chicken, shrimp, and squid in the dish. not sure they would go for the mock meat, either.

                              1. re: missmasala

                                I'm not generally a fan of mock-meat, but this is pretty tasty almost spam style stuff. I kinda love it.

                        2. re: Miss Needle

                          I have to agree. i just added a review of my first visit and I'm so glad to see that at least one person agrees with me that the Watercress Salad is just way too heavy and greasy. We really disliked it, and I'd read so many rave reviews. Maybe it's for the American palate. By and large, though, we had a pretty delicious visit and I'm looking forward to going back sometime. The menu has about 5,000 dishes on it, so there's a lot to explore.

                        3. Crispy Watercress Salad .... I hope that's the right name. Also have enjoyed soft shell crab dishes there.

                          1. fried mussel fritter/pancake is good, but its sorta large for two; good for a group though.

                            1. FWIW, here's a link to the list of dishes I compiled from this board before my first visit:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44691...

                              1. Alright y'all! Thanks for the great range of responses...when me and Lady Monica went last week, we had a great meal as per usual. Switched it up a bit and got a big hit coupled with a little miss. But, learned a new fave along the way, a staple from the North of Thailand:

                                BBQ Chicken. Yes, this inauspicious menu item rocked my world. Taste sensation! Juicy chunks of bone-in bird, stained yellow with mysterious marination. Served with a spectacularly spicy dipping sauce. It was fantastic, especially paired with a healthy serving of papaya salad. Zing!

                                The miss was an item off the special list. It was Northern-style curry noodles. There was beef and pork involved along with several fresh/cold ingredients a la pad thai (sprouts, nuts, lime, etc.). In anycase, it was super mild, no spice factor, and really reminiscent of a thai-style italian meat sauce. So weird, and unexpected, and frankly, underwhelming.

                                C-17 Pork leg chili basil was sublime as per usual.

                                We're heading back tonight for some more of that chicken and tom yam! Also, per your requests, will probably try the Penang curry...and the watercress salad...mmmm!

                                Adios amigos~
                                Uber.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: uberchef

                                  This just fired a memory of another very favorite dish. It’s an odd-sounding plate and as a result it took us awhile to get around to trying it. But I’m really glad that we did. A-31 Sweet sausage with cucumber, onion, chili and lime.

                                  It’s a nice contrast of temps, textures and tastes, the salad crispy with green chili peppers that can take the top of your head off. And the sausage is sweet and spicy and served warm. The balance is perfect, the sweetness of the sausage with the lime, onion and chilies, the warmth of the sausage with the cool, crisp salad. Really just so fine.

                                  I don’t love the C-17 pork leg dish, though. Not interesting to me. So I’ll leave the rest of that for you.

                                  1. re: Deb Van D

                                    The sweet sausage salad is my favorite food in the world these days.

                                2. I read this thread carefully, determined that more people mentioned the pork with string beans than any other dish, so I went to Sripraphai today and ordered it. It was wonderful. I'd never thought of ordering it before (such a blah name!) and I wouldn't have today if not for you. So thanks to all!

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Brian S

                                    Same here. I'm craving that dish right now argh.

                                    1. re: janethepain

                                      try that same dish at chao thai, I dare say its even better; called crispy pork in prik king curry, and delicious.

                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                        Not to shift the focus to Chao Thai, but I have to second this crispy pork green bean curry recommendation. But I'll order anything with crispy pork in the name.

                                        At Sri, I think that the crispy pork with chile and basil beats the roast pork version (which I accidentally ordered once and was still pleased).

                                        http://www.project-me.com/2007/02/cha...

                                         
                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                          Ooo really? I've seen prik king stuff on other restaurant's menus and never gave it a second glance.

                                          1. re: janethepain

                                            ya its a dry curry, almost a stir fry, but concentrated flavors of spice, coconut, and not sure what else. goooooood stuff.

                                      2. re: Brian S

                                        So I've read and re-read this board a few times in the past couple weeks. I've been to Sri twice in the past week-- they were my first visits there and there was no disappointment. The first time we had green mango salad, soft shell crab with chili and basil, massaman curry with chicken and pork with string beans. The second time we had crispy watercress salad, green curry with duck and soft shell crab with green mango. I've loved everything (esp massaman, pork with string beans and all soft shell crabs) although found both salads slightly too pungent for me. Anyway, I'm going back tonight (3 times, 3 weeks!) with my dad. He is a more cautious eater than I am-- though I can likely convince him to be somewhat adventurous.

                                        I was thinking of trying one of the whole fish preps tonigh and was wondering which was best? Also, any other recommended dishes? Otherwise, I will rely on this board to pick out some others. But a fish dish would be really appreicated-- thanks!!

                                        1. re: jdream

                                          we had the whole fish with ginger. It was so flavorful & succulent. I could spend hours cleaning off the bones!

                                          1. re: jdream

                                            you MUST try penang curry.

                                            1. re: jdream

                                              I kinda like their sour curry a lot; haven't been able to order it from other restaurants, but its a very soupy shrimp curry with lots of sour and preserved vegetables, and really good. oh, and I like the mussel pancake/fritter too.

                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                So on trip 3 in as many weeks we had:
                                                -shrimp salad: think i decided the salads just aren't my favorite, still too pungent for my tastes
                                                -whole red snapper with ginger: yum, wonderful, terrific
                                                -drunk noodles with beef: so much better the this dish when i've had it elsewhere, not as heavy, great spices, really enjoyed it
                                                -chinese broccoli with crispy pork: this was my favorite dish. SOO good, great broccoli fresh and crisp mixed with the salty crunch of the pork and managed to not be greasy.

                                                I'm a total Sri convert and tonight I managed to convince my otherwise conservative father to venture off the UES... and he was thrilled! yay

                                          2. I haven't seen it mentioned much, but I really like the the pork w/ thai eggplant. I order it 'thai spicy' and it is quite hot.

                                            1. Based on what Miss Masala wrote above, I ordered the Southern curry today. I'm glad I have a big bottle of Pepto-Bismol near the computer... but I am also glad I ordered it. It was incendiary... and fantastic. It doesn't slam you with heat; there are swirling textured nuances of flavor. Sharp clear flavor of nam pla, basil, lemongrass etc etc. I scraped my plate clean, and the waitress was very surprised.

                                              Here's a question. If there's a choice of meat, and there's no one meat that's traditional for the dish, the way that beef is traditional for panang curry, which meat (beef, pork or chicken) do you like best? I think I prefer the pork.

                                              -----
                                              SriPraPhai
                                              64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                Depends on the curry. For the Southern, I like pork.

                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                  It sounds fantastic, but what is the spice factor. I just cannot handle spice (so sad!), but you make it sound really lovely...

                                                  This is how bad I am: I took a bite of a friends steak sandwich and it had jalepenos on it. Felt like my mouth was on fire and tears were streaming down my face. For the next 20 minutes.

                                                  Is there anything on this menu with a red star that I can eat???? I generally just pass over those bits. I can take a mild curry but that's as far as I can take it.

                                                2. Pork Leg with Mustard Greens. I believe it's O-1. My absolute favorite. Slow braised fatty pork leg, fall apart tender, in a flavorful broth with mustard greens and half a boiled egg. Effin' delicious.

                                                  1. I've never had a bad meal at Sri, but these are the classic stand-bys:
                                                    Vegetarian versions of the papaya and crispy watercress salads
                                                    Any hot and sour fish soup offered on the specials menu
                                                    Red curry with tofu and vegetables
                                                    Pad see ew with tofu
                                                    Penang curry with tofu
                                                    Coconut rice

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: cmoore618

                                                      the green curry duck and the fried watercress salad are always among my dinner plates at Sri

                                                    2. Two recent meals, both on Monday afternoon. Two new (to me) dishes, both excellent. A week ago I finally tried the roasted duck salad (A13) so lovingly described three years ago in Frank Bruni's review
                                                      ( www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/dining/03R... ) and while it didn't give me the epiphany it gave him, it was pretty darn good. I'm glad I finally ordered a salad; it's a whole different world of flavors from the curries.

                                                      Today I had sauteed sliced tilapia in spicy curry with eggplant (C19B). Now that dish WAS an epiphany. It looked like a heap of boring fish... but it was slathered with swirling flavors, so many different sharp clear flavors. I loved it!

                                                      And there I sat, eating the food, hearing the soft sussurations of Thai spoken at the tables around me, and halfway through the meal I was hit with the sudden and total conviction that I would finish the meal and walk out the door into the soft Bangkok night, past street vendors and strolling people and monks clad in saffron and radios playing those sad Taiwanese ballads they often play in Thailand. There would be watery sounds too, soft ploshes as people threw buckets from the wooden Thonburi houses into the klong, maybe the plash of a passing rowboat taking vegetables to the night market.

                                                      But it didn't happen. I walked out into Queens. And as always I stopped for dessert at the Uruguayan-Paraguayan bakery on Roosevelt between 68 and 69th street. Where else can I go from Southeast Asia to South America in little more than the blink of an eye? They have great miniature pies about 4 inches in diameter for only $1.25.... and full size fruit pies for only $5, as well as mate and everything else you'd expect.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Brian S

                                                        I'm definitely going to order that next time I go. I never noticed tilapia on their menu before. Thanks for another great report!

                                                        1. re: janie

                                                          thank you! Some of the $17 whole fish dishes are available for $9, made with tilapia filets.

                                                        2. re: Brian S

                                                          I love the empanadas at that place.

                                                        3. Crab/pork roll appetizer
                                                          Crispy watercress salad
                                                          Green papaya salad
                                                          BBQ beef with chili, mint, onion & lime juice
                                                          Panang pork
                                                          Pork with stringbeans
                                                          Tofu in red curry sauce
                                                          Drunken noodles with ground chicken
                                                          Khao soy noodles in curry broth
                                                          Chicken broth rice

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: milky_girl

                                                            Thanks for all the recommendations, everyone! Had the best meal I've had at Sripraphai yet tonight—Soft shell crabs with green mango sauce, sweet sausage with cucumber/onion/lime, green curry with duck, drunken noodle, and pork with stringbeans. It was toward closing time, but service was friendly (and they were good at keeping our water glasses full), food was spicy and fragrant and lovely. Quite a crowd there waiting outside around 8:20 when we arrived, but they post the numbers they're calling on an electronic board outside.

                                                          2. Finally went to Sripraphai after hearing the hype for ages, and was not disappointed one bit.

                                                            I ordered the Chicken w/ cashew nuts and some chinese broccoli and was blown away. sooo good!!

                                                            Looove this place, gotta go back some more.

                                                            1. watercress salad

                                                              unbelievable!!!!!

                                                              1. Other faves that have not been mentioned here:

                                                                Kanon jean nam miao (not sure how to spell it phonetically but I think it is N-11) - rice noodles served with a bowl of pork rib stew made with roselle flower, pickled mustard greens, bean sprouts, chopped onion, and lime. I mix it all up like spaghetti.

                                                                Eggplant with ground pork and chili basil sauce - homey yummy dish

                                                                Sa-tor bean with shrimp - sa-tor bean (stink bean, "petai" in Malaysian restaurant menus) is an acquired taste but if your palate wants something new and tasty this could be it. This is a pretty spicy dish.

                                                                1. I can't get enough of the panang curry and the bbq beef salad there.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jdoo

                                                                    I went to Sriprapha on the weekend for the first time after much anticipation and thought I'd post a few thoughts. We were excited to try the Watercress Salad w/Seafood, but while you'd expect it to be light and crispy, the batter was thick and chunky and we couldn't figure out why so many people recommend it. But we did love the Steamed Chicken Dumplings and the Ground Pork with Chili & Basil. There was a real freshness to the flavours, esp the ginger. The Papaya Salad was good too, but not outstanding. Frankly, I'd have preferred it all more spicy but I guess you need to specify that when you order, so my bad. Prices were reasonable as well; we paid around $70 for two, inc. a cocktail each. It's clear that Sripraphai's better than your average Thai restaurant, and we're looking distantly forward to making the 1-hour trek back from Manhattan to explore the menu as I suspect there are gems there I've yet to discover that will help me understand why people say their cooking is as good as the food you eat in Thailand.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    SriPraPhai
                                                                    64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                                                                    1. re: pork_buns

                                                                      Must rave about the fish cake appetizer. Huge portion and the fish cakes just burst with flavor. Order it just about every time I´m there. Penang curry is unusually good too but a bit rich. By the way, you can have EVERY dish at Sri with mock (vegetarian) duck instead of meat at no additional cost. They are very liberal with the mock duck.

                                                                      1. re: pork_buns

                                                                        it sounds like you had a good amt. of dishes but $70 for two, cocktails, etc.; that is HIGH for what should really be a down-home queens meal. if you make the trek back to queens, consider the other queens thai joints: Chao Thai, Ayada, Thailand Center Point; you will find better food at much better prices.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Chao Thai
                                                                        85-03 Whitney Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                        Ayada
                                                                        77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                                          Was not impressed by Center Point or Ayada. Their management and staff are both lovely and friendly so I am loathe to criticize but most of the dishes I've had at Sripraphai are superior to their counterparts at either.

                                                                          Getting back to the original thread: I do not care for the crispy watercress salad, the batter is too thick and there is too much batter to enjoy the otherwise delicious salad. Watercress should have more of a focal role as opposed to being a vehicle for fried batter.

                                                                          The satay and pad thai are undistinguished. There is a mixed seafood/poultry/pork bowl that is the color of pepto bismol and tastes disgusting.

                                                                          Favorite dishes are the penang curry, pork leg with basil, softshell crab with mango salad, roast duck kao soy, green mango salad with catfish, curry puff with cucumber, crispy whole red snapper with basil & lemongrass.

                                                                          For dessert, the steamed tapioca with coconut and corn is delicious.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          SriPraPhai
                                                                          64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                                                                          Ayada
                                                                          77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                                            First, I don't really share all the love shown Ayada, though I wish I did. I'm very often within a block of the place, and the many of the customer-facing staff are extremely kind. The food's never seemed that great though apart from a few good meals a year or so back.

                                                                            Second, I take vigorous exception to attributing "much better prices" to the listed restaurants (apart from TCP - I've never been and would be very pleased to hear it was an outlier on price). The OP's dishes would come in around $30. Ex-ing out the watercress salad and subbing scallion/chive dumplings for steamed chicken dumplings in the interest of comparability, the ticket comes in at $20 for both SriPraPhai and Ayada. It'd be $23.40 at Chao Thai.

                                                                            SriPraPhai is a tremendous value in my book.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Chao Thai
                                                                            85-03 Whitney Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                            Ayada
                                                                            77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                                            1. re: cnut

                                                                              $70 for dinner for two at a thai restaurant in woodside (not trying to knock woodside). it's high, simple as that. certainly due to cocktails or wine by the glass, etc. but yeah, it's high. it could be higher of course, and it could be lower, but it is what it is. $70 for 4? that sounds a lot better.

                                                                              regardless, I'm providing options in the lovely borough of queens; it can't all be about one place, right?