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Spicy Mina and SriPraPhai

Will be eating at these two restaurants in the next week and would like some suggestions for our meals - appreciate recommendations for appetizers, diner and dessert - thanks to all

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444697

    start with the thread above for many posts detailing their favorite dishes at SRI. Do a seperate search on the outer board for Spicy Mina and you will come up with tons of info on her best dishes...but be warned it is highly inconsistent. Try to avoid SRI on the weekends, it's a madhouse, and it's also closed on Wednesdays.

    12 Replies
    1. re: janie

      Spicy Mina's is SO inconsistent that I don't think it is worth it. I have been there about 14 times and had only one great, and about 3-4 good meals. The rest were inedible to mediochre.

      1. re: NYJewboy

        What were you ordering? I've been there 8 times and I have 7 good meals sticking to only Bengali or fish specialties (and during Ramadan I only ordered stuff that I knew would be made because it was Ramadan like Halim.) The 8th was so bad that I sort of don't want to go back. I can cook half of that stuff and spice it my own way anyway, but even ignoring that, Jackson Heights is regarded as the cheap place to go by Bengalis. My ex-GF was Bengali and she was appalled by Mina's prices. She liked the fuska there, but that's about it. The prices really blew her away. Her mother cooked waaaaay better anyway.

        In the end I like Mina, but going back is eh... I honestly enjoy my meals at Ghoroa more. Even the time I accidentally ordered heart, kidney and liver curry (it was excellent) because I was practicing my Bangla and she wasn't with me.

        BTW, my 8th meal was an embarassment to mustard fish. I could honestly have made a better whole tilapia than that. I was really not a happy camper. Every other one was pretty damn good though.

        My ex also regarded Ghoroa and Sagar as being more authentic, more home style and closer to her mother's cooking (oddly enough.)

        1. re: JFores

          funny
          the few times I've been to Mina(enjoyed it each time) I found the cooking to be very much like my mother in laws cooking.She's Guyanese.
          Yet my wife doesnt like Minas, go figure

      2. re: janie

        I went to spicy mina's for dinner in July with my boyfriend. Totally disappointed. I prefer the great buffet at Indian Taj. Also, really disappointed with SriPraPhai (though would give it another chance)...if you can stand spicy (i mean SUPER spicy) food, try Zabb Thai. Delicious.

        1. re: ainslie

          what did you order at Srip that disappointed you?

          1. re: janie

            it was a while ago...but i think i ordered massman curry or perhaps a jungle curry.

            1. re: janie

              usually im more adventurous but im vegetarian and there was not much for me on the menu...i have many more choices at arunee and at zabb.

              1. re: ainslie

                SPP has an entire vegetarian menu, just ask for it. They have veg versions of their famous watercress salad among other things, using a really tasty fake ham. It's hard to beat Zabb's mock duck though, I get the real duck but often dine with people who get the fake duck and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

                1. re: Widmark

                  Do they use soy sauce instead of fish sauce for their vegetarian items?

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I'm going to guess yes only because they're pretty aware. Like when I've seen people order Veggie Pad Thai they ask if egg is ok. Still, it's worth asking.

                2. re: ainslie

                  Wouldn't shrimp paste be essential in a jungle curry, hence making it non-vegetarian?

                  1. re: JFores

                    I don't know whats in a jungle curry or if jungle curry is on their vegetarian menu, I'd ask for the menu and ask them...

          2. "Will be eating at these two restaurants in the next week and would like some suggestions for our meals..."

            Eat at Sri twice and skip Mina's.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Bob Martinez

              A rarely disagree with Bob M. but I do so here. I think that mboxermd was looking for a variety of tastes that chowhounds have recommended. I think that Spicy Mina is worth it and that the one would have two good but different experiences even if the second meal at Srip was better than SM. At SM have the Samosa Chat and any of the following: the Tilapia, the Palek Paneer, the Dal Fry, the Achar Goat.

              1. re: bobjbkln

                Thanks and I will let the hounds know what I think!!!

              2. re: Bob Martinez

                Ha! I'd say the exact opposite. I've never had a bad meal at Mina's (lucky I guess...), and 2 boring ones at Sri that left me wondering what all the fuss was about.

                mboxermd -- def do report back!

                1. re: oolah

                  "I'd say the exact opposite. I've never had a bad meal at Mina's (lucky I guess...)"

                  Wow. I've had 7 meals at Mina's that were solid "OKs" but nothing more. Let me explain. It was actually one meal last March but I went with a seven member CH all star team - people who've been posting on the boards for 5 or 6 years. Heavy hitters. We ordered a ton of food and the plates were passed around continuously. Nothing was bad, most dishes were solid but not particularly special, and one or two were sort of nice.

                  After about 90 minutes we were done eating; we all just sat there and I finally said what a number of us were thinking - "Is it just me or was that meal just OK?" It turned out I wasn't alone although one member of our party thought it was a bit better than that.

                  We went there expecting to be struck by culinary lightning. "My God! This is wonderful stuff! I'm going to come back next week and bring 5 other people!" Nope. It was too bad because we all really wanted to like it.

                  As for Sri, I must have eaten there 20 to 25 times and have always had great meals. Most of the time we go on Saturday or Sunday afternoons at around 1:30 when the lunch crowd begins to tail off. Perhaps the kitchen does better when it's less stressed? On the other hand I've eaten there 4 times in the evening, twice on weekends, and had good meals every single time.

                  Inconsistency is a constant theme in posts about Mina's and some posts are even more negative. Sri occasionally gets dinged for the same thing but much less. Based on that and my own experiences that's why I suggested hitting Sri twice.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    I'm probably a little biased because I love Indian food and not as crazy about Thai in general, but it could also just be my luck.

                    I've been to Mina's about 4 times and enjoyed every visit -- always very delicious food that tastes miles better to me than any other Indian I can get elsewhere in NY -- just extremely well-crafted food with subtle spicing and flavors that really pop.

                    Meanwhile, the stuff I've had at Sri has never risen above standard Thai fare when I've been there. Slightly spicier maybe, but nothing exciting.

                    I don't at all doubt your experiences, rather it sounds like both places have inconsistencies and we've just had different luck! My advice would be to not give up on either :) I'll def be back for more at both places.

                  2. re: oolah

                    hey, me too (like mina's / didn't like sripraphai)! i was starting to think it was just me...

                    at mina's, the saag paneer is WAY different and WAY better than any other restaurant's version. it is made with fresh spinach and little chunks of paneer rather than the usual pureed stew. i thought it was awesome.

                    there are two dishes on the apps menu that i dream about, but i'm sorry i can't remember their name. one is samosas in a yogurt sauce... the other was a chaat-type thing.

                2. At Mina, for appetizers I like the samosas, the chicken lollipops and most of all, her chicken soup (kind of like egg drop soup with chicken, cilantro and spicy peppers). We usually order the chicken tikka masala, beef curry, shrimp dopeja, dal fry, palak paneer, and/or whatever eggplant dish she is making that day. For dessert, she usually brings out little bowls of her yogurt-y rice pudding - very tasty.
                  I've never had an inedible or mediocre meal there, fwiw - we did have some samosas once that were a bit off, but we talked to Mina about it and she made new ones for us that were fine.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JulesNYC

                    We must have had 12 dishes at that meal. I refuse to believe that we just ordered wrong. Look, I'm not saying Mina's is bad. Far from it. But for a really long time there has been a sizeable minority of posters who have reported decent but not stellar experiences there. I'm just adding my voice to that group.

                  2. I love Spicy Mina more than I love Sri, which I think is not much different from other decent Thai places except for one dish--the crispy watercress salad, an oustandingly delicious revelation that is different from any other food I've ever eaten. It's probably worth it for that one dish, especially since the rest of the food is fine. I've never had a bad meal at Mina (been there maybe 8 times over the last 2 or 3 years) and have found that the most surprisingly delicious and carefully made things have been the vegetable dishes. Sometimes there are special veg dishes if you ask. Do give it a try.

                    1. Any report? I've had some bad dishes at Sri and never Mina but both are excellent restaurants. At Mina, order a vegatable dish and the mixed grill or the same grilled fish that is in the mixed grill.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: KateC.

                        I've never liked Mina's vegetarian stuff actually. I just stick to very Bengali or very North Indian items (her halim is quite good for ei.)

                        1. re: JFores

                          See I'm no huge expert, but what sold me on Mina's was the veg dishes. I didn't think the meat dishes were anywhere near as interesting, full of spice complexities. I would therefore advise anyone going there to steer veg, and perhaps as others are saying, fish.