Sripraphai for the novice -
I have been poking around the board and I see many a list of "must trys" for the seasoned chowhounder, but I am going tonight for my first time and I am wondering if there are some staples for the not overly adventurous. What are the great dishes for a beginner? Thank you!
as long as you don't mind a certain degree of heat, i think a good many of sripraphai's dishes are novice-friendly. i'd skip the catfish salad (the texture can put people off) and steer clear of jungle curry or anything "sour," but beyond that, i'd say you're good to go. try the drunken noodles, the pork leg and the fried chicken dish for sure -- the papaya salad is also pretty ace if you don't mind a little funk from the dried shrimp (it's not overwhelming, just a little sea-tasting in the mode of an anchovy in my book). three words to remember,though: No Pad Thai!
and enjoy your visit.
the drunken noodles and fried watercress salad are the popular items and i enjoy them very much.
im hard pressed to find an entree that stands out though...the duck leg, the pork, they all taste the same to me.
my favorite dish is pretty simple, Pork seasoned with garlic and pepper over rice. 0-7 I think? It's just nice pieces of pork with a delicious almost candied flavor. Not spicy at all, though it comes with the little bowl of chili oil. I usually get this and a drunken noodles with chicken and share the two dishes. I'd recommend both of these to the pickiest eater...and I'm pretty picky. (I didn't eat chicken off the bone untill a few years ago!)
Get the papaya or mango salads and one of the curries with some rice (I like red and massaman, but tastes differ). I also love their simple fish cakes. If you like fish, and don't mind picking them apart (which seems to bother some people) I would definitely go for one of the whole fish preparations.
I really love the curries. My current favorite is the sauteed pork with string bean (no coconut milk). I also love the masaman, penang, and green curries. Definitely get the fried watercress salad too. I was there today, as it happens. I go about 3 times a week. It's awesome.
I would say, get the fried watercress salad, the beef panang curry, and any one of their whole fish dishes--maybe basil and chili would be best for not being overly adventurous. I think the fish and the panang curry would be slam dunks and the watercress salad would be stepping gingerly into full-on, flavorful Sripraphai flavors. I bet you will like it. I also love their Thai iced tea.
I think the whole fish is a good dish to order thai spicy (very spicy) because the curry, which is more of a paste and not really a coconut curry, is on the bottom of the plate and since you can flake off pieces of fish and sort of dip them you can control the heat. But basil and chili sauce is yummy too. I also like the chicken with red curry and sour bamboo shoots and the duck with green curry. That pork dish which is really, really crispy is usually very good but sometimes it's a little over-cooked.
Not being terribly adventurous, and having eaten there for many years, before it was "discovered"...I would recommend the following: shrimp with garlic and pepper,-not over rice but with cucumbers, coconut rice, iced tea, shrimp with green curry but specify VERY CAREFULLY only with bamboo shoots and coconut milk or you will get thai eggplant or some combo of that with pineapple which is awful....Drunken noodles with beef is excellent, order it mild and it will still have kick to it, watercress salad is very good, and I get it only with shrimp and squid, and ask them to leave out the chicken, --the chicken satay is excellent, not at all the peanut buttery incarnation you see elsewhere------------there's a start............enjoy! Oh, also the soft shell crab specials are good if you like that sort of thing...Papaya salad is tasty as well...
I compiled this list for our first trip there, based on recommendations on this board. Needless to say, we didn't try everything, but I loved the crispy watercress salad, the soft shell crab dishes, the duck in green curry - don't remember what else we've tried. I agree w/the comment to ask them to leave out the pineapple in any dish that contains it.
Crispy watercress salad
A special northern-Thai-style curry dish combines a fiery red sauce, evocative of Burmese curry, with ground pork, spareribs, and rice noodles;
the tom yum pork-leg broth, once you get past the huge, glistening lobes of pork fat, proves to be delicately sour and peppery.
The meat salads are so superb, with their interplay of heat and chill, that you might happily construct a whole meal from them.
The roasted-duck salad is particularly revelatory, its luscious slices of meat immersed in a riot of flavors, including cilantro, mint, lime juice, and slivers of spicy red peppers.
Noodles with chili and basil
BBQ beef appetizer
Duck in Green curry
Tom-Zaap soup with beef offal or seafood
Clear soup with lime juice, makrut leaves, galangal and chilis (ask for spicy)
Panfried mussel omelet (hoi tod … order “krob krob” or extra crispy)
BBQ chicken/green papaya salad/coconut rice combo (best for solo diners)
Beef and pork jerky
Kao soi soup
Kow moo daang (roast pork on rice with tangy sweet sauce)
Panang curry with beef (topped with coconut cream and shredded bergamot leaves)
Any grilled meat dish
Bean thread, papaya, tripe grilled beef salads.
Big, tender, flavorful mussels in a broth full of lemongrass and basil flavor, and they came to life with the green minced-pepper condiment
Anything with the green mango sauce is usually good, as is the pork and string bean curry.
penang curry beef or pork
green curry with duck.
softshell crab appetizer that comes with green mango salad
stewed tendon soup
crispy watercress salad (i always have them leave out the chicken)
moo pad prig khing (pork & long beans)
fish cake appetizer
pan fried mussels
kra tiem (pork with garlic sauce, or order it with shrimp)
31. soft shell crabs
32. crispy pork & chinese broccoli (tends to be super-salty though)
33. tom gha gai (although i usually get it without the chicken and with tofu)
34. shrimp with green curry and coconut milk--although I tell them to leave out the thai eggplants, and just put peppers, and bamboo shoots only..you have to specific though or you'll end up with pineapples in there, which is just yukky in my opinion...
35. coconut rice,
36. chicken satay(it's great there)
37. shrimp with garlic and pepper
38. drunken noodles with beef, or shrimp, or chicken, all good..and it's always spicy
39. squid with chili peppers (not really on the menu exactly, but it's very good)
40. -the thai iced tea is also a must.
41. ..we've also had very fresh sauteed vegetable specials
"agree on the shrimp cakes, didn't like them...and the curry spaghetti is awful...papaya salad is very good also---"
"I think curries and salads based on grilled/bbqed items (bbq beef salad; moo manao, which I think translates on the menu as pork with chilies and lime; pla goong or shrimp salad--though Zabb's is better) are Sri's formidable strength"
Again - I thank everyone for the help. It was much more of a mainstream restaurant than I expected. Both the food and the vibe reminded me of Nha Trang down on Baxter Street. (cleaner and more american) Anyway, Drunken Noodles with chicken was off the charts. I think that was the favorite. We tried the Soft Shell Crab special, but I am not a good judge of those. (all taste the same to me) Pork Seasoned with Garlic and Pepper (0-7) was a little bland, but good for the picky folk. We had a BBQ Pork App which was great. Still moist and sweet. The Watercress Salad was solid and accessible to all at the table. We did not get a whole fish, but everyone else in the place had one and that will be on the agenda next time. The Beef Penang Curry was wonderful as well. It was an easy trip and parking wasn't a problem at all. (gotta love getting 30 minutes for a quarter) It took less than 30 minutes from the UWS and less than 20 on the way home. Thanks again -