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Jul 20, 2009 09:37 PM

Finally, a good place for Thai on Long Island

Chaopraya, 11 Cedar Swamp Rd. Glen Cove NY 11542 (tel 516 801 1450, 516 801 145) opened just 14 days ago.

Chaopraya is good Queens Thai food, and indeed, one of the the owners told me he also owns Arunee in Jackson Heights. The kitchen still has a few kinks to work out, but this is miles better than any of the rather over-Americanized Thai restaurants in the Nassau area.

Tonight we had: Excellent pork krapow (basil stir fry); not-well-pounded (big pieces of garlic) but excellently flavored som tam (papaya salad) which for some reason had no dried shrimp; nua yang (BBQ beef) with a sauce the equal of Sri Pra Phai's if not better; very good Tom Yum Nua soup; steamed-to-order khao niau (sticky rice). Really a fine meal, and for Long Island, amazing.

Sri Pra Phai and her son told me they will open a branch in East Williston which the son will manage, but they seem still to be having problems actually opening. That will be great. But for the moment, we now at least have one good Thai place. Go to Chaopraya and check it out.

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  1. That is actually going to be in Williston Park. Unfortunately for East Williston, we don't have any commercial properties. That being said, not surprised that they are having problems opening, Williston Park is a very difficult village to work with, but it looks like the restaurant is moving along.

    1. I like Jai-ya in Hicksville. It's a branch of the one on 3rd Ave in Manhattan, rocks. Not listed on the menu, Prawns with Garlic Sauce is like nothing you'll eat anywhere else. Jai-ya Special Fish is whole fried in an excellent red curry. It's not Sripiphai, but it's consistently great. Sri is better, and if they'll be in Williston Park that's cause for celebration.

      4 Replies
      1. re: dude

        Sri Thai on New St. in Huntington is very good, too.

        1. re: mcf

          Yes, Sri Thai is miles better than Thai USA in Huntington. Nicer place, too.
          (And I've been to Thailand...)

          1. re: antipode12

            Thai USA has been horrid for a few years now. We gave up after getting inedible food on two occasions.

            1. re: mcf

              I second the comments on Sri Thai. A great addition to huntington since Thai USA just doesn't cut it in any way.

              Now if we only get a vietnamese restaurant in huntington....

      2. I stopped in today The pork larb was excellent - I asked for medium spicy and it had just the right amount of heat. Also tried the pad thai, which was fragrant and lush, and the Thai dumplings, which I'd rate as average. My only wish is that they served beer and I forgot to ask if there would be a problem if I brought my own next time...I will definitely be going back.

        1. Good news indeed - can't wait to try it considering the dearth of decent thai restaurants in the area.

          5 Replies
          1. re: philw66

            Went to Chaopraya with the family tonight. Happy to report that there is finally a good Thai restaurant in Glen Cove. We had the pork larb - nice texture with noticeable fish sauce. Beef satay and spicy chicken wings for the kiddies. Pork with basil and Chicken with lemongrass were both good as well. Called ahead to confirm that it was BYOB so we brought in a bottle of Gewurtz.

            The only negative is that the location is not the greatest and there are only a few tables. It was the location for the shortlived Sean's fusion, and I believe a Chinese takeout prior to that. All in all a very good experience - will definitely go again...

            1. re: philw66

              I went here tonight, easily the best thai food i have had in Nassau or Suffolk, I don't think anything in these 2 counties is even close. I split 3 entrees with my wife and we didn't have any appetizers, soups etc., we had the pad kee mao(i'm sort of wondering if the noodles were freshly made, as they seemed uneven in size and shape), the fisherman's curry and the most amazing duck with basil. The portions were very big, the prices were pretty reasonable. I noticed a lot of people seemed to be ordering salads, and the soup and appetizer portions i saw other tables getting were very large portions as well. Not that the portion size is that important, its all about the taste and the taste was the best i've had outside of queens or lotus of siam in vegas. I also had the thai ice tea, honestly i don't think i've ever had one i don't like, but this one was very good. The service was ok, nothing special, but very friendly.

              Whats with all the new thai restaurants opening in Nassau? We all are anxiously awaiting Sripraphai, i tried Galangal in syosset, which was good but not great, lemonleaf has another location in mineola now, and this place. Plus didn't somebody mention a new one in East Rockaway on this board a few weeks ago.

              1. re: jpf1980

                Can you tell us more about your experience and what you had at Galangal? I've been very curious about this new place.

                1. re: synergy

                  Galangal was very nice inside, very well decorated for a LI restaurant in its price range. I don't understand why a thai restaurant needs a sushi bar. Didn't have the sushi.

                  At Galangal, the wife and i split the duck roll appetizer, which was very good, lots of flavor and nice duck taste that popped through and good textures.. We also split two entrees, this is about a month ago so I don't remember which meats or seafood we had in each one. But we had the Pad Kee Mao, which i remember being very good, and thought at the time was as good as my favorite Long Island preparation of this dish at Thai Table in Rockville Centre, but Chaopraya has now blown both of these 2 places away when it comes to that dish. We also had the roasted cashew stir fry, which was very very bland. I don't think i have ever had a thai entree as bland as this dish was. I actually don't think I would go back. Prices were too high for this type of thai food, i rather go sit in the hole and the wall that Chaopraya was and get blown away by each plate I order.

                  1. re: jpf1980

                    Thanks so much for describing what you had. I won't be running there. :-)

          2. We went last nite. We ordered pork with basil leaves (T01), Pad Thai with beef, Green curry with chicken and Pad Prik Khing (TO3).

            I'd give it a mixed review. In no particular order comments around the table were:

            All the proteins were hard to cut into bite size and were somewhat tough to the chew.

            Presentations were well done

            Some fire but a tad too sweet overall. (Why does Thai food become sweet when it hits the Queens/Nassau border?)

            Given the choice to drive to Elmhurst/Jackson Heights or eat in GC, I'd have to decide between the longer drive/better food vs shorter drive/average food. My wife opted for the longer drive. We're in E. Meadow.

            Portion size was good, especially for Thai food. Prices were fine. Most dishes were $10.

            The issue, I think, is that L.I. is still not ready to support really authentic South and Southeast Asian food. The fact that Asian Fusion is out is my proof. The only reason that the Orient can stay successful is b/c while they serve authentic food, it's Cantonese and Americans are very familiar with that regional food and its not, as a rule, spicy.

            I know Sri is going to open in Williston Park. I wish them luck.

            11 Replies
            1. re: toby1355

              Repeat visit yesterday. Agreed that the food is too sweet, but they will adjust the heat if you ask. That said, I'm local and this place is easily a cut above anything in the area.

              1. re: philw66

                Ugh. "Too sweet" is a dealbreaker for me.

                1. re: Scott_R

                  I would not say any of the 3 dishes that I had when i was there was too sweet. I would especially say that the fisherman's curry and the Pad Kee Mao weren't sweet at all. I guess there was some sweetness in the basil duck, but some more heat would have balanced it out. I don't really understand what the complaints are about the sweetness at thai restaurants are. Srip cooks sweet too, they just know how to turn up the heat to balance it. I'm sure if you told Chaopraya to really turn up the heat it wouldn't be a problem with the sweetness. I actually didn't ask them to make it very spicy because i was splitting dishes with my wife who can only handle medium heat.

                  This is from wikipedia: Thai Cuisine is well-known for being hot and spicy and for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal - hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and bitter (optional). My point is, that it is supposed to be a balance and even if the dish incredibly spicy, it can still be very sweet. People who can't handle the heat can't taste the sweetness.

                  Either way, this place is by far the best i've had in Long Island. Patiently waiting for Srip to open.

                  1. re: jpf1980

                    I love spicy--I've never had a dish that was too spicy for me. But very spicy and very sweet is--to me--still means too sweet. It's not that I hate sweetness, but that I can't abide it in the quantity that a main course would entail.

                    Still, if it's on a dish-by-dish basis, I might be able to wing it if I ask the waitstaff. I've been to places I've liked then ordered that one dish that I couldn't finish due to its sweetness.

                    1. re: Scott_R

                      me either, even though i havn't done it in a few years, i used to eat habenero peppers straight on a dare. I got my bottle of Dave's Ultimate insanity in the fridge. I just don't get to use it as much as i like. But for example the last time i was at Srip i split the papaya salad with 2 other people, their faces and tongues were burning off and i couldn't believe how sweet the salad was.

                    2. re: jpf1980

                      I also would not say that my dishes were sweet. I had pad prik king, pad thai, bbq beef, green curry. none were sweet. I was delighted to get tasty thai in glen cove

                2. re: toby1355

                  Well, I gave it a try for lunch, and I wasn't so keen on the experience.

                  The conversations here in mind, I mentioned that I liked spicy but wanted something less sweet. I was told they could add less sugar to anything; there was some difficulty communicating that I wanted a dish that was NORMALLY less spicy (rather than adjusted that way), but there you go.
                  I ordered the Thai Red Sauce, described as "chicken w/ Thai red sauce and mixed vegetables" based largely on the fact it's different than what I usually get at a Thai place, and, it had the pepper next to it indicating hot and spicy. I asked for the tofu soup choice.

                  It didn't start auspiciously. The tofu soup had a broth that tasted instant or canned--that salty lunchroom taste. No matter what else I decide about this place, I won't order this again.

                  The main course wasn't spicy at all. Worse, it was rather insipid. There was a definite sweetness to the sauce; if this is the less-sweet version, I'm very glad I asked them to reduce the sugar. I'll admit to perhaps being atypical in my dislike of sweet dishes; as it came, the sweetness made it less than ideal for me--distracting--but not cloying like the dish I had at Lemon Leaf in Hicksville.

                  I asked for and received hot pepper flakes, which took care of the lack of spiciness and at least hid the blandness.

                  I hate to form an opinion based on a single dish. Were I to go back, I'd at least order something I've had at other places, dishes I've liked, and compare.

                  In retrospect, I wonder if the apparent blandness of the dish was an aftereffect of that soup, that overpowering salty/instant bouillon mix taste that lingers on the tongue and makes it harder to taste other things.

                  1. re: Scott_R

                    Hey Scott,

                    I was thinking about what you read here and i am slightly confused, why did u order a dish that is "NORMALLY less spicy" but then request hot pepper to make it spicier?

                    Also, you made a comment about a pepper being next to the item to mark that it is hot and spicy. I had remembered that there were no such marks on the menu, so I pulled out the copy that i had brought home with me and I was right, and then i noticed the lunch menu. The lunch menu puts the pepper symbol but the rest of the menu does not. Now onto the part that i think should make you reconsider and give it another try. Both items you ordered are not even on the dinner menu.

                    There seems to be at least several of other discrepancies between the dinner and lunch menu. The lunch menu has Yellow Curry Chicken and Guay Tiew Kie Mao and a few other items that they don't serve at dinner. I'm wondering if its because they aren't as complicated of a dish with the spices and ingredients used and therefore they can keep the prices down for lunch. Also, never once have i ever really enjoyed a soup that comes as part as a thai lunch at any restaurant. I'd bet the hot & sour soup that was your other choice is Chinese Hot & sour and not Tom Yum.

                    1. re: jpf1980

                      Sorry, my mix-up: I meant a dish that was normally less-sweet, rather than their changing how they would make it. My thinking is that I wanted something that was designed with a particular balance of tastes.

                      LIke I said: love spicy, don't like sweet. Re-read what I wrote substituting "NORMALLY less sweet" and the whole thing ought to make more sense. :)

                      Re: the soup. I've had Thai lunch soups that ranged from OK to awesome, but this one was bad. I cringe a little at writing this--having held back from these words in my previous post-- but it was like the sort of broth you get as a hospital patient.

                      Do you mean ordering from the dinner menu for lunch? I don't mind spending more to get a really fine dish, but I'm not so thrilled that I may *have* to do so when I've had better lunches at other Thai places. At least, based on a single meal .

                      BTW, where do you park when you're there? The street seemed to be 30 minute parking. I then parked in the lot at the back (uphill) and was told that it was OK when I asked, but found my car blocked in when I went out. I was wondering if I missed some obvious parking spot.

                      1. re: Scott_R

                        i understand now about the mix up.

                        I am saying order dinner at dinner time. or i guess order dinner at lunch, but if u go at dinner time u won't have to worry about the parking. I can't remember, but the 30 minute parking rule ends at either 6pm or 7pm, so it wasn't an issue for me the time i was there.

                        Luckily i've never been a hospital patient, so i will just take your work on it being bad.

                        Also, is it possible they made the dish sweeter because they didn't understand what you were asking.

                        I'm actually looking forward to a return visit, and i will not be going at lunch time.

                        1. re: jpf1980

                          Oh, she definitely understood about the sweetness; that much was clear--I'm certain that sweetness was reduced rather than increased.

                          I doubt I can make it dinner time, so I suppose I'd order a dinner item at lunch time but take it out so I don't have to worry about parking.