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Best Thai in Albany PLEASE!!!!

Snow or no snow I've GOT to get some really good Thai food soon or who knows what will break loose.
What I love - Duck in red curry, tod mun, pad thai, any great fresh spicy seafood dish
Not fancy and expensive because that's never been what's it's about.
Thanks in advance and
Happy Holidays!

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  1. The only Thai food I've had in the Capital Region was at a place on Lark Street and it was okay. I was at Yono's for a dinner earlier this week and someone mentioned the Thai restaurant on Central Avenue (apologies, I don't remember the name). This long thread mentions Thai:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/349608

    3 Replies
    1. re: financialdistrictresident

      Blue Spice, without a doubt! Sushi Thai is about as inauthentic as you can get.

      1. re: gerchak198

        I've been to Thailand several times and didn't find Sushi Thai that Westernized . . .

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          edit: post should read Sushi Thai Garden, NOT Sushi Thai.

    2. If you do a search of this Board by Thai and Albany these restaurants come up:

      1. Capital Thai, Central Ave.
      2. Noi's Sushi & Thai Food, Central Ave.
      3. Sukhothai, Lark Street

      I also remembered Sushi Thai Garden on Phila in Saratoga Springs which was quite good the last time I went.

      For what it's worth, Metroland rated Capital Thai best in 2009:

      http://www.metroland.net/guides/2009_...

      2 Replies
      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        Noi's is long gone. Capital Thai or Blue Spice are your best bets.

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          The yelp perspective on Capital Thai (only looks like a few 2009 comments) and a dated chowhound thread re: Capital Thai:

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/capital-thai-...

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/448520

        2. Had an errand in Albany yesterday and decided to check out The Blue Spice instead of Phoenician's (Lebanese) for lunch. The Blue Spice markets itself as a "modern gourmet Thai restaurant." Service was very good. Now on to the food. We had:

          Thai iced teas - very good

          Blue Spice Noodles - I had a taste, very fresh

          Masaman Curry - menu had beef, they kindly made the dish with chicken for me. The dish had a side salad on the same plate with the curry for a more gourmet presentation. I'm used to this dish with peanuts and it was served with cashews. Another modern gourmet touch.

          Tom Kha (chicken, galanga, coconut milk) and Tom Yum soups were not on the lunch menu. Maybe they are available if you ask.

          Our lunch came with a tofu soup. The tofu and cilantro were the best parts of the soup. The soup was very salty and tasted like boullion. Our server asked about the soup (SO finished his and I didn't). She asked me if I wanted something else instead. As mentioned previously, service is very good at The Blue Spice.

          The Blue Spice has more ambience than Sukhothai on Lark.

          We will go to Phoenicians the next time we are in the area.

          1. cowgirlinthesand, so where did you end up? How was it?

            2 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Thank you so much for your recommendations and opinions! My work schedule is nuts until after the holidays (and I live in the Berkshires so it's more than a 10 minute drive).
              I'm printing this and keeping it in my car and plan get eating in January.
              Happy Holidays!

              1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                cowgirlinthesand, January's almost over . . .

                Any reports?

            2. I've had some difficulty finding decent Thai food since I moved out from San Francisco. This seems to be a common lament, and I don't understand why a better restaurant than Capitol Thai or Sukhothai hasn't opened in the region. Please let me know if you find better options. :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: caravan70

                caravan70, probably because the population won't support more . . .You haven't heard "smallAlbany" yet? The food choices in Saratoga Springs and Albany are a big improvement from when I grew up in the Capital District. There was a cover story in Metroland about a year ago where the writers discussed all the cuisine choices here . . .just not a lot of restaurants for each cuisine.

                You won't find the sushi and Asian choices, fine dining you had in SF here. There's also a Thai place in Schenectady (haven't been) and 2 in Clifton Park (just okay). When we want Korean we usually go to Little Korea in the city or the Korean restaurants near the GW Bridge.

                There's a good Asian market on Central Avenue.

                You might want to try Phila Fusion in Saratoga Springs (not too far from Albany) if you haven't already.

                The Capital Region is at the center of everything - only a few hours from NYC, Montreal and Boston when you need a big city food fix.

                1. re: caravan70

                  I tried Blue Spice's new location in Clifton Park (near Hannaford & Superior Cleaners) for lunch recently. It's a large space. Service is very friendly. They even offered to make me a lunch size portion of spicy basil with chicken. I also had pad thai.

                  It's nice to have more dining options in CP. That said, I have yet to find Thai food here I really like. Best I've had is Sushi Thai Garden at the Saratoga location. Have not tried Capital Thai yet . . .

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    FDR, do you have a preference between Sushi Thai Garden and Sushi Thai at the Park? Do you find a noticeable difference?

                    Sukhothai also operates two separate locations in Albany. I wonder if there is a noticeable difference between those two.

                    Bangkok Bistro and Martini Bar in Schenectady is also rebuilding and close to opening a second location in the original Colonie Blue Spice on Central Av.

                    That said, between Saratoga (2), Clifton Park (2), Schenectady (1), Troy (1), Delmar (1), Colonie (2) and Albany (4) there are now 13 restaurants serving Thai food.

                    -----
                    Sushi Thai Garden
                    44 Phila St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

                    Sukhothai
                    62 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206

                    Blue Spice
                    19 Clifton Country Rd, Clifton Park, NY 12065

                    1. re: Roger K

                      I liked Sushi Thai Garden in Saratoga better.

                      Capital Thai is supposed to be the best of the lot but I haven't tried it yet.

                      I don't think the Asian food here compares to SF. Though the duck at the Asian market on Central Ave. comes pretty close to Kamman in Chinatown . . .

                  2. re: caravan70

                    Caravan70, in my reply to FDR, I've pointed out between Saratoga (2), Clifton Park (2), Schenectady (1), Troy (1), Delmar (1), Colonie (2) and Albany (4) there are now 13 restaurants serving Thai food. Have you tried one yet that you prefer?

                  3. I have been to all three of Blue Spice's locations and have never had anything but fantastic meals! Last November they had a two-year anniversary dinner that they invited my family to (since we go often) and they had special appetizers, different than what they normally have. It was fantastic.

                    The only dish I had there that I didn't like was the Massaman curry. The green, red, yellow, panang curries, pad Thai, pad see ew, and ga praw are all fantastic dishes. One thing i love is Kao Soi (not sure of the spelling). It's basically yellow chicken curry with linguini done 2 ways - boiled normally, and deep fried, yielding a mix of soft and crispy noodles. Very delicious dish, with interesting textures and great flavor.

                    For dessert, their fried ice cream is to die for! Don't leave without sharing one for the table!

                    -----
                    Blues Spice
                    1614 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12205

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: d2thelhurst

                      Also, I have been to Sushi Thai Garden, and it is not nearly as good as Blue Spice. Sukothai in Albany I thought was also very good, both locations.

                      -----
                      Sushi Thai Garden
                      44 Phila St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

                      Blue Spice
                      155 Delaware Ave, Delmar, NY 12054

                      1. re: d2thelhurst

                        @d2thelhurst have you tried Kinnaree yet on Lark Street?

                        1. re: Roger K

                          I haven't even heard of it, how is it?

                          1. re: d2thelhurst

                            I find it very good. It's at 196 Lark. Street where A Taste of Greece once was located, across from The Wine Bar and Bistro. It opened in January and there are a couple dozen reviews on Yelp.

                            -----
                            Kinnaree Asian Restaurant
                            193 Lark St, Albany, NY 12210

                            1. re: Roger K

                              Just noticed a typo... shb 193 Lark. The CH link is correct!

                            2. re: d2thelhurst

                              I forgot to send you this link from the Times Union.
                              http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehoppi...

                              -----
                              Kinnaree Asian Restaurant
                              193 Lark St, Albany, NY 12210

                              1. re: Roger K

                                So now there are 2 Thai reastaurants on Lark? I've been to ? and it was okay when we went . . .

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  Yes there are 2 on Lark. I've been asked to curb my enthusiasm for the newest one and I've done my best to comply. But as you can see, few people on CH are aware of it.

                                  1. re: Roger K

                                    Thanks. I had no idea there was a second Thai restaurant on Lark. We'll be eating in Albany more once track season starts . . .

                                    Sometimes Yelp has a better pulse on what's new. Might be a younger, hipper demographic than CH. That said, based on my experience I trust CH recs more.

                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      If the last time you had Thai on Lark was more than 6 months ago it would have been Sukhothai.

                                      I understand your comparison of CH and Yelp. During my interaction with both I've noticed a difference in the comments, the operation, and the philosophy of both. Each serves a purpose and a different clientele.

                                      IMO, Yelp may serve a wider cross-section of the demographic which necessitates taking that fact into consideration when evaluating a review. CH members put more of an emphasis on the discussion aspect of restaurants which leaves open a greater opportunity to offer an opinion or to ask a question of the members (rather than "search" as you so nicely remind people with a smile).

                                      A good search should not be limited to just CH. Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google, Zagat, TVFoodMaps.com, and others are valuable resources if you take the time. Additionally, CH does not appear to be as "new technology" oriented. I don't think you can find someone saying "there's an app for that" when you want to reference CH through a smart phone.

                                      Maybe that fits with your theory that those who don't use CH are younger and more hip. If you go to CH Restaurants and don't fill in the name of a restaurant (or simply enter a cuisine) and enter Albany, NY for the location, you will see a listing of 547 restaurants. Start scanning through these and you will notice most have 1 or 0 ratings and any that have discussions may require you to read through numerous comments, as in-depth as some may be, before you can make an assessment about that particular establishment. This is not to say it is not useful. It may simply be more time consuming than asking a question of a member.

                                      I also believe that CH members are more inclined to stick with what is familiar to them, whether it be the restaurant or the chef. This helps to add to the credibility
                                      of their opinions since there seems to be a strong, welcomed consistency.

                                      Hopefully, I haven't ruffled too many feathers with these comments.

                                      1. re: Roger K

                                        Yes it must have been Sukhothai. Okay for a quick lunch when I'm in the area. Nothing special.

                                        Thanks for your thoughts, Roger K.

                                        I also find menupages.com helpful if I'm looking in an area I don't know well or am learning before I reach out to hounds . . .

                                        As to new technology, I remember seeing a California restaurant's sign at the host's desk advising to kindly refrain from using cell phones in the dining room. Of course that was long before texting and "Hamlet's Blackberry."

                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                          FDR, I don't know if you ever made it to Kinnaree Asian Restaurant, but I saw that the TH blog had posted an anniversary special that they are offering.
                                          http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehoppi...

                                          You can also check out their menu at http://www.kinnareeonlark.com/Menu.html.

                                          -----
                                          Kinnaree Asian Restaurant
                                          193 Lark St, Albany, NY 12210

                      2. Just a quick addendum on Blue Spice. Had lunch at the Colonie one this afternoon. First time for me. Unfortunately, my stomach has been out of sorts, so I stuck to bland (not my preference in Thai.) Had to agree with many that have posted here that the service was delightful. The food was just so-so. Had the spring rolls-very disappointing. Tiny little rolls with virtually no filling, way too much wrapper--and the very worst thing, they were egg roll wrappers, not rice paper! I don't care for egg rolls, and found the appetizer very unappetizing.
                        The pad thia was OK, though there was something too sweet in it that I couldn't identify. Tasted like overly caramelized onions. Maybe an odd fish sauce? But was certainly edible.
                        And when the server noticed I was picking out the bean sprouts (one of the most likely culprits for unwanted organisms in your food) they immediately offered to get me a fresh order made without sprouts. I declined, but appreciated the attentiveness.
                        Will go back and try some of the curries sometimes, but not in a rush to do so.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: mjoyous

                          Although not a Thai restaurant, as such, Thunder Mountain Curry quite often makes great Thai food. They are found in the student union at RPI and usually on Saturday at the Troy Market. Some of the best Pad Thai I've ever had; always makes it fresh and to your desired spice level. Often will do other Thai dishes as well as great Indian and Pan-Asian food.

                          1. re: markabauman

                            I've always heard good reports about TMC. Do you happen to know if they use "fresh" rice noodles? Or are they using egg noodles?

                            1. re: Roger K

                              Quite sure Mike makes it with rice noodles, not egg. I also realized that the question was asked of Albany; I figured Troy isn't that far away for it to be considered as well.

                              1. re: markabauman

                                I agree with you on location. I guess I was also trying to ask if they use "fresh" rice noodles that are soft before you even begin to cook with them vs dried noodles that have to be reconstituted in water. I understand the fresh are more expensive and typically are shipped up from NYC. Some restaurants don't want to pay the higher price for them because they don't keep very long if you can't sell them quickly.

                                1. re: Roger K

                                  I will have to pay attention, as I actually often watch him cook the dish a la minute. It's possible they are dried, then rehydrated as opposed to truly fresh. Will let you know.