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thailand's center point - delicious

finally had a chance to try this place and I think it's been slowly remodeled over time; the last time I ducked my head in it was looking scrubby but now, looking legit. the other half of the place is still a comprehensive grocery with freezer cases and all manner of goods but . . . on to the food! I had two items on the chalkboard (but I think they are also on the menu)

+ crispy green papaya salad with seafood
+ herbal soup with seafood

yes, you saw that right, friggin som tam . . . but deep-fried. taste it to believe it, but this is unique, delicious and genius. slivers of green papaya, battered in bunches, served with great amounts of funk. all the ingredients simple, well-cooked; an entire garlic clove but bashed in half with the long beans and the thin-skinned thai red chilis, very very good.

the soup I can't quite remember what else the name was except that it cost $8; it was a deeply flavorful spicy clear soup full of fresh vegetables; I'd call it squash two ways because it contained chunks of zucchini as well as chunks of pumpkin; the soup was completely made to order so the vegetables were raw when added to the pot it was so clean and refreshing. full of mushrooms, basil, seafood as well.

they asked if I wanted it spicy and (I know this is a constant "debate" on the boards) I said, make it local and indeed, a perfect amount of funk and taste; "five chilis in your salad!" the woman boasted. dishes were hot. order rice with your som tam.

there seemed to be 3 generations running the joint and the daughter who couldn't wait to close up was very very sweet. she rec'd their crab meat fried rice which, I will try next time. they also have a dish that is battered and fried thousand-year-egg (maybe quartered or halved) which is then returned to the pan and cooked with sauce; crazy! one of the untranslated specials turned out to be a squid/shrimp/salt egg dish that was described as one of thailand's most beloved dishes, a creamy rendition which also sounds crazy.

the people are very sweet, the place deserves big bidness; they definitely have some funny items on the menu and I can't wait to go back.

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Thailand's Center Point
63-19 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

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  1. I second TCP. We used to go there when Sri had a line, but we liked the food and family so much that we switched. Good review; they deliver, btw.

    1. I had a great roast duck noodle soup last year.
      I'll revisit soon for the fried som tam for sure.

      1. Do you think this place would accommodate a group of 6-8 diners?

        Any further recommendations?

        From the name I am guessing it is Bangkok style food, right?

        2 Replies
        1. re: erica

          the place is small, with mostly 2- and 4-tops but they can definitely put it together; I think one side has a big row of tables so it can definitely take the seating; the place seems somewhat starving for customers but I would make a reservation if you're gonna bring a bigger group; should be no problem and as some people have noted, they also receive Sri spillover on busy nights.

          I was asking them about their particular style and indeed, it is supposed to Bangkok-style but I'm not sure the implication; I guess I wouldn't necessarily for the isaan stuff that I usually love; their specials definitely sounded interesting, or even "cosmopolitan" in some ways. a large group could do some damage for sure; I remember also on the menu they had some whole fish preparations; the daughter I was speaking with was very good with recommending dishes so I'm sure if you put yourselves in her hands, order from the board, and convince her you want some funky stuff, it would be a great meal. the other recs are the ones I listed above; at least those sounded interesting. I would imagine their hot dishes are quite good. I couldn't find a menu online but they definitely had a handful of interesting items. She said their soups are very good and indeed, I enjoyed the one I had.

          and, for the nerdy ones, the grocery store built into the restaurant would make for some very good souvenirs!

          1. re: bigjeff

            Jeff: Many thanks for all the helpful info! And the grocery store is a tempting lure as well! I will put this place on my short list..

        2. The "family" aspect of Center Point is really charming. First time I ate in we had a question for the girl taking orders and she said "I don't know, let me ask my mom". I've also had delivery and I can swear the mother/cook herself brought the food and asked "do you like my food?" or something along those lines. Once we had delivery and it just wasn't as good as every other time...maybe somebody else was in the kitchen that day, who knows. But we've mostly enjoyed it.

          Rumphool also has untranslated dishes on their menu. It really surprises me...with the success of Srip you'd think places would play up their authentic dishes, but maybe they figure non-Thais aren't going to be interested.

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          Rumphool
          57-17 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

          1. I love this place; it's my personal favorite in the city. WAYYY better than Sripraphai down the street. That herb soup is unbelievably good. I love the crispy green salad with batter fried watercress (??? - i think), the use of celery in the yum, the pork leg over rice, and the thousand year egg.

            The prices went up a little recently but it is still very cheap. The E-Sarn combo (listed as an appetizer) gives you a 3 course meal -- papaya salad, sticky rice and chicken -- for 7 or 8 bucks. BYOB doesn't hurt either.

            Also this is the only place in NY that I have found that serves the DIY leaf wrapped snack Mieng Kham (if there's anywhere else that serves it please let me know!)

            It's a lot nicer than you would expcet from a restaurant in a grocery store, and its a pretty fun place to hang out. One time I went the restaurant was full with various friends and family watching a bootleg DVD of Avatar. Good times.

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            SriPraPhai
            64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

            Thailand's Center Point
            63-19 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

            3 Replies
            1. re: cousincole

              I've seen it for takeaway from many places, like Sugar Club but even at Sri; not sure if they have it on the menu though but it is in the refrigerated cases.

              I do like this place a lot and can't wait to go back; the e-saan combo sounds great too. thanks for the tips!

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              Sugar Club
              81-20 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

              1. re: bigjeff

                It's not on the menu but is in the fridge at sri. I like to bring it home--it makes a great tv snack.

                1. re: missmasala

                  Same thing at Thailand Center Point: it's in the fridge. But if you ask for it they'll take it in the kitchen and plate it for you.