Sripraphai Lunch Hours and BYOB Status
Amazingly, I've never been to Sri. I'm trying to go this saturday, around mid-afternoon. I've seen some posters comment on what appears to be different cooks at different hours resulting in varying degrees of satisfaction . Am I short changing myself by not going during prime time saturday night when I would imagine the "top" chef(s) will be cooking? Or is this a silly myth?
Also, what's the current alcohol situation? Liquor License? BYOB? Corkage fee?
In my experience with SPP, the food is best when it's the least crowded...lunchtime or early in the evening early in the week, like a tuesday at 6pm or something. The food always seems to be a touch better, larger portions, more subtelty, and of course faster service. As far as consistency and the "chefs", at least with one or two of the dishes I usually get, they often come one of two ways, both ways being fine, but I get the sense that I'm getting different people, or maybe everyone makes those dishes one way accept one particular cook. I dunno and haven't figured out an rhyme or reason to it! And I'm not talking better or worse, just a bit different.
I always have lunch during the week at about 2:30. Excellent Service. I'm a big time water drinker especially when the food is spicey which could easily be 5 glasses. Never seen the glass reach empty. Any waiter (not just the one who took the order) who walks by with a pitcher fills the glass. Very little noise and it doesn't take very long to get your order and you can sit where ever you like since the place is usually close to empty. Truly relaxed dining.
Saturday at lunch is a very good time to go. Actually, a little past prime time would be even better - 1:30 to 2:00. The do a ripping business and when the place is full the sound level can be a little punishing. There's a tile floor and the sound is magnified.
I've always found the kitchen at Sri to be very consistent although to be fair only a few of those visits have been in the evening. I'd take those reports of inconsistency with a grain of salt.
Sri hasn't been BYO for a couple of years. They serve beer and wine and their list is pretty decent by ethnic restaurant standards. I prefer beer with spicy foods and was delighted when they added Sapporo to their list last year.
Unless you're into macho games (and I know you're not) order things medium spicy. That's the equivalent of "Thai spicy" at most other places and you'll be assured of being able to properly appreciate the food without numbing your tongue.
Don't be fooled by the difference between appetizers and starters. The apps are as substantial as the entrees so order what appeals to you and not by category.
We were just there last Saturday and I can strongly recommend a dish which rarely gets mentioned - A31 - sweet sausage with cucumber, onion, chili, and lime. While the sausage isn't spicy the light vinegar sauce that's mixed in is plenty spicy. This is a great dish.
I recommend that you don't order spicy items for every dish. It's good to take a break from the heat once in awhile. A nice change of pace is N5 - the sauteed drunken noodles. It's not particularly hot but it's very flavorful. Your taste buds get a chance to rest up before you go back to the spicy dishes.
Another dish that flies under the radar - O6 - ground pork with chili and basil over rice. This one is spicy; the menu description is simple but the dish itself was excellent, the spicing level strong and complex. The rice helped keep the heat level tolerable. Sometimes the spice level of some dishes at Sri can be overwhelming - you enjoy the flavor but each bite takes a toll. With this dish the balance was perfect.
Here's the full menu:
(Note that this menu is a bit old and doesn't have the beer and wine options listed.)
They also sell wine - another poster posted yesterday on this - I believe saying that they discouraged bringing your own and that the corkage fee would be prohibitive. The wines are wll priced. I've only eaten there on a weekend evening, so can't speak to the different chefs etc.
I recall getting beer from the menu when I was there in July. I don't know what that means in New York State in terms of a full liquor license. (In California just about any eating place can get a beer and wine license but a full liquor license in much more difficult to come by.)