I'm still on a high from my first time trying Sripraphai's pork with string bean curry, and lo and behold, the Times Dining section prints a review of another Thai restaurant that sounds like it prepares Thai food as close to authentic as you can get in nyc. Anyone tried this place? I just did a search, found nothing. How can Peter Meehan have scoped something out before any of us??
I've eaten at Nusara's several times since its opening in August. And I must agree with Peter Meehan, the food is consistently great. I'm a big fan of their khao mon gai (the thai version of haianese chicken) The rice is never hard ,unlike Chao Thai, and the sauce and soup is so much better than Sripraphai, which tends to lean towards the salty end. Their crispy pork with chinese broccoli is also outstanding. Very crispy pork skin and tender pork accompanied with broccoli that was all cooked to perfection. I was told by the waitress that they make the crispy pork themselves.
I asked for it Thai-spicy, and received off-the-meter spicy. Try the pad krapow. I usually get the pork version. True, the peppers were still crunchy, but i actually preferred them that way.
Other dishes I really enjoyed-
tod mun pla (fish cakes)- imho, it's freshly made, not the frozen, pre-packed version
chicken satay- white meat (hurray!) i love Penang's but theirs is dark meat
crab fried rice- i saw lots and lots of real crab meat
beef penang- tender strips of beef, coconut milk and kaffir leaves
3 flavor crispy fish- fish was not soggy; had a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and HOT
I love how they serve their rice in adorable shapes! So far, I've gotten the teddy bear and the goldfish. I must also say, their sticky rice is good too. It's always soft and aromatic, never hard which I have found to be the case at some Thai restaurants.
And I usually rate a Thai restaurant by their iced tea. Not sugary sweet; you can tell it's brewed. I asked for it milky and got it milky.
As for when I'm going back- this weekend, just so i can get rid of the salivation.
I believe the Pad Krapow is what I ordered, and for me aside from not being that crispy, the pork wasn't all that tender either.
I did actually use the term "Thai-spicy" and was even going to say like Sripraphai, and thought the better of it, I guess I wasn't very convincing. The waitresses all seemed to be quite attentive and nice, that's for sure.
I still want to try Chao before I'd go back here, I've never been there yet.
Chao is amazing. Be careful with the Thai spicy designation there. I don't find any of their food to be nuclear or deadly, but just about everyone I've brought there has. Hell, I say a Thai guy eating next to me once stop in mid chew, open his mouth a bit and mutter "F--- that's hot" sooo...
What are Nusura Thai's specialties?
I just had the tom yum noodle soup at Nusara, and it was quite a revelation. The fish cakes and fish balls were simply excellent - freshly made, tender, with a sweet aftertaste. They were wonderful! The tom yum noodle soup also unexpectedly came with slices of boiled liver. An unexpectedly good dish, with the sweetness of a typical noodle soup dish in Thailand.
I went to Nusara twice and I have to post my review here (considering the reviews here are what drew me to the place)
In my experiences, the service was insufficient considering the ratio of waitstaff-to-customer... One time it consisted of one over-worked yet caring waitress,a ditzy 'in one-ear-out-the-other' waitress, one wonderfuly perfect waitress, and constant a mama-san looking lady who gave me dirty looks the few times I exchanged eye contact with her, much less the one time I signaled for her assistance.. They all seem busy, but you can't figure out on what.. It still takes work to get what you want when you want it with the sincerity it deserves... Diner quality service.
Now the juice,
The food was in all honesty, disappointing.
With the exception of the shrimp and (tough) squid, you could tell that the shellfish was frozen-cooked... And even a few of the vegetables, particularly mushrooms in the soup, were from cans.. This is by no means how a place that is 'in the rankings' of best Thai should be cooking.. c'mon..
For a take-out place, or just 'that cool place that's next to pho bac and more attractive and better than most thai spots'.. it's good.. but it by no means lived up to it's hype on here or yxlp, the other (inferior!) ny foodie site..
The Hoy Joe is blah, not bad but far from exceptional (or acceptable to order again)..
The fried calamari is freshly fried, *thumbs up* ..but chewy. so there that goes.
The Tom Yum broth is very good, and the 3 shrimp inside were great , however there was only canned mushrooms, a few snips of lemon grass and a cilantro garnish to keep those shrimp company.. It lacked all the other elements of a well-balanced tom yum.. and though the broth was exceptional, I've had better over-all tom yum eats at thai spots i've stumbled upon rather than sought out in this city..
The salads I've eaten, again, blah.. the sausage in the Yam Mur was a nice off-beat style of cured pork.. but the rest of the ingredients were just run-of-the-mill.. It was unbalanced by means of proportion as well as taste.. And with the perhaps the least remarkable of all thai salads I've had in ages.
The pad-thai was definately above average, perhaps there noodle dishes are special>?
The seafood kra pao was, well, good.. The sauce as someone mentioned on here before was good.. and the spice was strong as it should be! They earned points for that.. but the frozen mussels and chewy shellfish really killed what could have been a good plate.. They could have dolled it up with some eggplant chunks or green leaf.. but as it was, kra pao seafood.. it was a disappointment..
Now the silver-lining.. and one real ray of hope for future dining..
the Tod Mun... was quite literally, the BEST I've ever had outside of Thailand..
I don't know what their story is.. but this was as if it came from a whole place than the rest of food...
The bottomline.. and what that Tod Mun taught me, is that you have to know what to order here... (any educated recommendations?)
I will have to give it a 17 for food, 21 decor and an InExpensive for price..
I won't be making it back there anytime soon.. but when I do, it will be Tod Mun and nothing else seafood at all.. Perhaps I'd try their Som Tum, and something unique (and meat based!) from thier specialties~
Though, I am in no hurry back.
I would definately recommend this place~ Great place *to dine*...Just come with less expectations than the well-intending foodies on the web stuff in your shirt pocket~
P.S. It is no longer BYOB
P.P.S. other comparable/ superior alternatives in Queens:
in Woodside/Jackson Heights (7,E,F,V,G,R to 74th/Broadway)...
Yajai -in Astoria (N train to 30th ave.)...
And truthfully, although it's not much to sit in..Chao Thai has better food..
Yeash, Chao Thai has better food in most areas. And to back up HaveTaste I have to say that the first coupla times I went to Nusara--where service can be slow despite its attractive decor--I was disappointed (even as it's better than Sri). But now I've discovered a few dishes...here's one more: the striped bass in lemon chili sauce can be quite amazing. check it out.