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anyone else try poodam's thai in astoria/lic?

Just discovered Poodam's on 46th and Broadway. I only recently moved to the neighborhood, but I hear there's been a chain of unsuccessful Thai restaurants at this location. Looks like they've finally hit their mark- I've eaten there a few times and have been thrilled! Really spicy, authentic Northern Thai cuisine. Try the duck with chilis off the specialty menu- might be too spicy for some, but I loved it.

Since it's a new place kind of off the main drag I wanted to spread the word- don't want this one going out of business!

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  1. Strange. When I went in to have a look when they first opened, the woman working up front told me it was the same cooks and mostly the same staff as the vile, horrible Thai Spice that preceded it. I did notice the Esan menu in the window, though. I guess I'll have to give it a shot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hatless

      I'll be darned. It may look like the dreaded Thai Spice, but it sure isn't. We had duck with basil and the "three buddies" salad, and asked for them spiced Thai-hot. Both were very good, the duck crisp, the flavors bright, fresh and balanced, and there's some unusual stuff on the menu I'll want to try now that I know it's good (intenstine, duck tongues...). As long as you order like you might at a place like Zabb ("salads", chili/basil, etc.) it seems like you'll do well. Presentation was nice, too.

      The prices are higher than Zabb, Sri and Chao Thai, most dishes running $9-13 here where they'd be $7-10 at other places, but certainly nothing outrageous. It's a very big space, so their rent's probably higher than it should be. I'm worried they might not be able to fill enough seats, especially given the rep of the place that was there before, so I suggest Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside people give it a shot.

    2. i live right around the corner so my bf and i recently tried it before a yankees game. we had the papaya salad which was a generous portion and delicious! just to note that it didn't have any meat. we also had the ground duck which is on the specials page. very spicy, comparable to Sri's spice levels. was a little confused as how to go about and eat this dish, but it was pretty good. We also had the basil duck which was good, very crispy skin and flavors were good. Chicken pad thai as the noodle dish was so-so. Not a very large portion and the flavors were bland. I think this place is pretty good, def no huge crowds and dare i say that the food is on the same page as Sri's, but the menu isn't as extensive. Give it a shot

      1 Reply
      1. re: liveloveat34

        Catfish larb this afternoon...absolutely wonderful. Comparable, if not better than the larb dishes I've tried at Zabb (duck and pork). It was also, in addition to being complex and filled with a nice charred catfish flavor, very well presented, with sprigs of mint and basil and some deep fried lime leaves. I'm looking forward to trying out some other stuff.

      2. I was going to go after I read the big review in the Village Voice but I thought it might be too crowded!


        44-19 Broadway, Queens, NY 11103

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brian S

          It has never been crowded, not even close. The place that was there before was so horrible that I think most people in the neighborhood are afraid to try it. In the past week or two it has gone from one or two tables occupied to maybe four, and when we were there last week there was an encouraging amount off takeout happening, mostly by Thais, so it looks like word is starting to get out.

        2. We went recently. Had been warned to say "NOT SPICY". Friends of ours told us how great the food was but ohh man, how hot it can be. So when ordering we made a big deal about keeing it mild. The squid salad tasted perfect but woooo boy! did that spice turn your mouth and tongue into a numb, tingly fire pit. Still, I'f go back in a sec. Maybe learn some Thai first to get my wimp ass needs taken care of.

          1. Their green papaya salad is the best I've had anywhere so far. The flavor is just a little more complex, maybe because they toast their peanuts a little extra, and the dried shrimp are extra large (somewhat to the dismay of my strictly-vegetarian boyfriend). It's plenty spicy, right up to the edge of being too much without going over.

            The "Hot Morning Glory" was a little disappointing, because it's just sauteed greens. Turns out the "hot" refers to the temperature, not the presence of chili peppers. The morning glory is good, but not $10.95 worth of good.

            The yellow curry with vegetarian duck is good but not great. I'd have to say that the combo of vegetarian duck (which is has a five-spice thing going on) and the yellow curry (which also has a five-spice thing going on) was a lot of five-spice. But that combo was our choice and we can live with it.

            The Thai ice tea is also a little better than average. You can taste a little of the tannic edge that tells you there's some actual tea leaves in there somewhere under the condensed milk.

            Based on the tastiness of the papaya salad, I'd guess that their larbs are good too. I'll try one of those when I go back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: megatron

              I looked at their menu after eating at nearby Walima, and that $10.95 dish was one of the cheapest items. Prices seem 50% more than Sripraphai. Is it worth it?

              And what's with those wood-paneled cavernous restaurants nearby that offer upscale Manhattan-type dishes (e.g. salmon, halibut) and also provide hookahs?

              1. re: Brian S

                The Esam menu is kinda pricey. Their regular menu seems on par with other Thai restaurants... $8.95 for a curry, for example, and the papaya salad is $7.95. They also have larbs made with ordinary chicken, etc, which are in that price range as well, and cheaper than their specialty larbs. But I've never been to Sripraphai, so I can't give you a cost:tastiness ratio comparison. As I've mentioned, the papaya salad is certainly worth it. The morning glories, not so much.

            2. i've eaten there twice and my boyfriend has once, and based on our limited experience we don't think it's nearly as good as thai pavilion on 30th ave btwn 37th and 38th (i think), although thai pavilion has been a little off the past two times i've eaten there...which i must admit are within 7 days of another.

              both times i've eaten at poodam's have been late meals where i just wanted something quick so i've only had the pad thai...i tried the calamari with my first order, too, and it was unappetizingly rubbery. they do have some more exotic items than thai pavilion, but pad thai is crucial.

              2 Replies
              1. re: brookeleigh

                Thai Pavilion is one of the most boring Americanized Thai places I've ever been to. I enjoyed my meal at SEA in Williamsburg a whole lot more. As for Poodam, and the meal I had there, it was light years ahead of Pavilion in terms of complexity, spice, and general deliciousness.

                Pad Thai may be crucial to you, but you can't fault a restaurant like Poodam for not having good Pad Thai. That's like being angry at a Northern Italian restaurant for not having good Baked Ziti.

                1. re: PAL

                  I'm going to Poodam tonight. Any recent picks? I have had the papaya salad which was fantastic, but the pad kee mao (sp) wasn't that exciting and I know there are some rules for ordering there and at other Northern Thai places...?

              2. Had the duck basil on 2/18/08 and am sorry to report that it was a bit dry, which seems like a difficult thing to do with duck. The seafood papaya salad, on the other hand, was easily worth all the hoopla. It's a very rare thing, I think, for squid to not be overcooked in a restaurant. Poodam's is one of only three or four places in the entire City where I found it cooked just right.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kimcheater

                  Went by Poodam's last night for dinner. Hardly a soul in there, but the food was quite good. I had the duck larb, which was exceptional and, also, the spiciest thing I've ever been served in my life by a pretty wide margin. (The waitress tried to warn me...) The vegetarian duck jungle curry was a big hit, as was the duck basil. We actually weren't crazy about the seafood papaya salad—might be a hit-and-miss dish. In any case, I hope business picks up for them—it's a welcome and highly interesting addition to the neighborhood.

                  1. re: jmat

                    Poodam's is very good spicy food . they make real thai spicy I like it !!! Any one try new thai on steinway yet? Red basil thai kitchen please tell how's taste

                    1. re: jmat

                      Just returned from Poodam's. Had the catfish larb, the sour sausages, and the duck basil - all were really good (especially the catfish), my BF asked for not too hot, dishes were not too hot. The service was outstanding, since we were unfortunately the only patrons for the first hour. I wish more of you chowhounds would patronize this place! I don't want them to go under! I think Poodam's and Walima are our favorite restaurants in our neighborhood.

                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                        Ratgirl - I'm going to do take-out from here. One of the weird things about Poodams (because I drive by it almost daily) is that it always looks like it's closed because the lighting is so DARK in there.

                  2. I saw the recent write-up in NY Mag's Cheap Eats, and started searching other sites to see if the recent reviews had helped spread the word. I was troubled to find this review on Yelp (third review down)- has anybody heard about it changing ownership??

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: laura24

                      I went there Saturday night. The servers were definately Thai.

                      Our dinner was very enjoyable. They have yet another distinct version of Som Tom, it was a highlight. They were kind enough to serve me gnam sausage which was not on the menu by itself. I would have preferred to have waited for freshly grilled sour sausages rather than be served very quickly what that must have been pre-cooked, still they were tasty. The pad see eww was on the sweet side when I would have preferred it to be more savory.

                      It was our first time going there and will be returning. When we left there were 2 other couples eating as well as a steady stream of take out. Definately not too busy for a Saturday night.

                    2. randomly got a yum-woon-sen to go (found it randomly, post-indonesian food bazaar); for a takeout salad, it was pretty damn good! nice seafood, nice pork, a little too sweet but I think if we ate in, we could probably ask/tune the flavors better. I'm not in that area very often but next time, happy that it seems to be a pretty decent place.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: bigjeff

                        Very sorry to report that Poodam's has gone out of business. It is now Sumran Thai and is apparently being run by the same people who run (the extremely crappy) Yajai Thai over on 30th Avenue. Really a bummer - they were a great restaurant.

                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                          wow, that sucks. outside of elmhurst, they were leading the way for me.

                          1. re: Jeffsayyes

                            Your comment suggests there is something in Elmhurst that is on par with Poodam's. Chao Thai is the only thing I know that comes close. Is that what you had in mind?

                            EDIT: Ohhh, you must be thinking of Ayada? They make a straight up Isaan som tam.

                            1. re: guanubian

                              yes, I do like Ayada, but I have yet to be majorly turned off by any of the thai in elmhurst. Ploy thai, sabay, ayada, boon chu, my thai... arunee is a little soft, but still pretty damn good. Actually... arunee was the closest food I've come to what I had at the royal kathin festival last year.

                              I'm not one for superlatives as it is, but poodams was in the upper tier level... something not many thai are outside of elmhurst.

                              Coco I'm not a huge fan of.

                              1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                i have a soft spot for My Thai; it ain't the best but for some reason, it's endearing. Arunee is an oldie but . . . . . . ya it's purty good! Still wanna go to Thailand's Center Point (down the block from Srip).

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  I went to spicy shallot this weekend. didn't blow me away, but very satisfying stuff. and it has an "it" vibe. they were crowded on a saturday night, while ayada was nearly empty. kinda sad.

                                  1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                    ya, they got a bar scene at spicy shallot. what did you have there? I recall, don't you live across the street from Ayada, or was that someone else who used to say they would look out there window to see if they were open before going down to eat there?

                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                      I thought that was you who lived across the street. maybe it's the third Jeff. I wonder if that person lives in the Woodside Dreamhouse? That place has always been a residence of joke with my friends.
                                      I went with someone who didn't like it spicy, we had the fried rice with sausage and massamon curry w/ beef. pretty satisfying stuff. Now, if you have massamon across the street, it's got some nasty heat. here, it wasn't hot at all... but very satisfying.
                                      I pass by shallot many times after midnight and it's a steady crowd. The people are a lot of different cultures, probably half thai. they get a good hospital crowd too for lunches.

                          2. re: ratgirlagogo

                            This is such a foul crime. Poodam's was a cultural treasure.