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SRI closed for vacation and I need an alternative pls

I have a bunch of chowhounds traveling to NYC this weekend for some meals and a principal reason for the trip was a large dinner at SRI. We will be about 8 people, maybe 10.

Anyway, of all things ---- SRI closed this week through early next week for vacation. Of course, I didn't have the foresight to check their vacation schedule a month or two back. The folks coming know Thai food well, and travel to Thailand often. So, my options are . . . ?

Chao Thai? I was there once and thought the food was great, at least most of it. Soup was better than at SRI, and red duck curry as good, or better. A couple of dishes though, we thought, were not as good. And, Chao Thai is tiny tiny. Likely though they could take us with a reservation. Still it just isn't such a comfortable spot for a large group.

Maybe Southern Spice for Indian?

Any other great Thai spot you might recommend? Thanks.

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  1. Ayada might fit the bill:
    http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-01-2...

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    Ayada
    77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joe MacBu

      strong rec on this joint; planning to go there with a group of 6 pretty soon; nice strong flavors. regarding poodam, I only had the som tam to go there so that's my only point of comparison; I prefer ayada's, esp. since they have a version with raw marinated crab. yum!

      1. re: Joe MacBu

        Thank you for they Ayada recommendation. I had read the Village Voice review awhile back but then promptly forgot about it, and mostly went back to SRI. I made a reservation for ten people at Ayada and will report back. The curries look great and the person on the phone was very welcoming. Thanks.

        1. re: comiendosiempre

          not too much experience with the curries but definitely check all the recs from the reviews and boards. the whole steamed fish sounds intriguing and I've been itching to try the raw shrimp as well. i wonder if they have some good "banquet"-y style dishes, larger platters for a group as big as yours.

          and another bonus (you may want to call to confirm): the joint is BYOB! perfect for a large group I think and the grocery across the street (not sure if there is some cross-business going on) should stock some thai beers/bevs.

          just went by the place again tonight; typically sparse on a tuesday night but I'm really pulling for the place and hope that more people go there.

      2. I liked my meal at Poodam's Thai Cuisine a lot. Siestema reviewed it.

        1. Chao Thai is good but I think you might have difficulty getting seated with 8-10 people. Its a cramped restaurant.

          Ayada is very good, I enjoyed it a lot. Some of the local Thai people trash talk the place, but I think that's a result of Ayada being a dollar or two more expensive then the other Thai restaurants in Woodside/Elmhurst.

          1 Reply
          1. re: deam

            and even then, it's *still* dirt cheap!

          2. I think Nusara is a close second to Sri

            1. Boy, I'm hoping Ayada comes through food wise. If not, I'm in the doghouse.

              For Sunday brunch, perhaps in Little India in Jackson Heights, is Jackson Diner a good option? I know it is hotly debated but we have bee to their weekend brunch and thought it was pretty good. Any other spot that might come to mind? Thanks.

              4 Replies
              1. re: comiendosiempre

                Where are your friends visiting from? That would give a reference for what they might find to be better in NYC.

                1. re: Joe MacBu

                  Boston area, mostly. But they know Asia and South Asian food well. Its mostly an Asian food visit to NYC. So, maybe dim sum on Sunday but we will likely go for Chinese Saturday night.

                  1. re: comiendosiempre

                    Your suggestion of Southern Spice wouldn't be bad (skip the buffet and order the southern specials off the menu).

                    If you want to do Jackson Heights, I'd skip Jackson Diner or anything Indian/Bengali. Not that they're necessarily bad, but I imagine your friends might want something more unique/interesting. I'd recommend Nepali instead at either Mustang Thakali Kitchen or the recently renovated Himalayan Yak. They're especially good for organ meat eaters, but I think they do most of the Nepali dishes well (I skip the Tibetan selections as they tend to be bland. Except for the momos, of course).

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                    Mustang Thakali Kitchen
                    74-14 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                    Himalayan Yak
                    72-20 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                2. re: comiendosiempre

                  Dehli Heights is good if pricey if you're looking for your indian classics plus chinese-indian. Their weekend buffet isn't too expensive though.

                3. Do any other Thai restaurants have crispy watercress salad? (I think it's called yum pak boong krob in Thai, or something like that.) We almost always get that at Sripraphai but I don't think I've seen it anywhere else outside of Thailand.

                  1. We wound up at Ayada tonight. Ten of us. Thank you Joe for the recommendation.

                    We thought it was terrific. I will write up a complete summary under the Ayada listing. Yet, suffice it to say, at least as good, and better, than SRI on a number of dishes. The shredded mango salad, the red curries, the eggplant. All excellent. The steamed dumplings about as good as SRI. It is much more intimate than SRI. And, different dishes, specialities. Also, no duck as a curry option. Whole fish is about twice the size of the one served at SRI. You do get the feeling that the chef is cooking only for you. And, in view of the size of the place, he/she is. Owners very nice. BYOB. All diners were very impressed. Doesn't mean we will abandon SRI, but this too is the place. Thank you again.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: comiendosiempre

                      Awesome.
                      Looking forward to your review.
                      Where else did you eat this weekend?

                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                        The group also went to House of Hunan, on Northern Blvd. Really good, different. We eat mostly Cantonese and the two cuisines are very dissimilar. Will post a full report under the House of Hunan thread. Owners were very nice, restaurant is very clean, tables large. Excellent duck dish with peppers, cumin lamb, outstanding bok choy. Yet, I also wish I could have combined a few dishes with which I was more familiar with these other Hunan dishes. Brunch today likely at Delhi Heights.

                    2. Hiya!

                      Sorry for this (VERY!) late reply!

                      Being down here from Boston myself, I have three or four more ideas -

                      We have virtually no Indonesian in Boston, so the Temple food thingie (if they're intrepid! Seating can be difficult...) (not in Elmhurst, that was incorrect in the latest thread, it's in Astoria/LIC) or a sit down place in Elmhurst would be a great change-up for them!

                      Ballfields! For great Latino street food - also not easily available in Boston...

                      Chinese street food in Flushing - and/or Szechuan or Hunanese...

                      And - several people are gathering for Wenzhou food in Flushing today (at noon) and more are welcome! (fine to have a couple of tables...) Click on my profile and write me before 9:30 AM, or try calling me....

                      Have fun!