HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

thailand's center point - delicious

bigjeff Apr 10, 2010 05:58 AM

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.

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. p
    Paulomet RE: bigjeff Apr 10, 2010 07:45 AM

    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. Joe MacBu RE: bigjeff Apr 11, 2010 08:12 AM

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

      1. erica RE: bigjeff Apr 11, 2010 09:11 AM

        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
          bigjeff RE: erica Apr 11, 2010 12:20 PM

          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
            erica RE: bigjeff Apr 11, 2010 01:37 PM

            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. w
          Widmark RE: bigjeff Apr 11, 2010 02:58 PM

          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.

          -----
          Rumphool
          57-17 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

          1. c
            cousincole RE: bigjeff Apr 29, 2010 07:43 PM

            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.

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

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: cousincole
              bigjeff RE: cousincole Apr 29, 2010 11:38 PM

              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!

              -----
              Sugar Club
              81-20 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

              1. re: bigjeff
                missmasala RE: bigjeff Apr 30, 2010 07:26 PM

                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
                  c
                  cousincole RE: missmasala May 5, 2010 04:37 PM

                  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.

            2. Puppimus RE: bigjeff May 2, 2010 01:19 PM

              I was there 2 nights ago and also can't wait to go back. They made the best pad khee mao I've ever had, I think I could easily become obsessed with it. The woman who runs the shop does the cooking herself and is very kind and concerned with your enjoyment. It only seats 12 people (something to keep in mind if you want to go with a big group) and is now open until 11 (used to be 10).

              1. Polecat RE: bigjeff May 2, 2010 05:07 PM

                Very fresh squid and shrimp on the som tam - nice mix of flavors and textures with a residual heat. The AC, however, was blowing everything, including my cash and check, off all nearby tables. Nice little joint, good friendly service, bad air conditioner.
                P.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Polecat
                  bigjeff RE: Polecat May 2, 2010 08:28 PM

                  are you talking about the fried som tam?

                  1. re: bigjeff
                    Polecat RE: bigjeff May 3, 2010 04:08 AM

                    that's the one. quite good.
                    p.

                2. d
                  dietndesire RE: bigjeff May 5, 2010 05:12 PM

                  So Bigjeff(and any other well versed in the nearby Thais), where do I go if I do this Thai dinner on Saturday? TCP, Sri, Ayada or Chao Thai? Will be takeout. If you had to choose. I would try to be specific with dishes but I really do not know what I will choose, right now.
                  Thanks

                  1. Polecat RE: bigjeff May 7, 2010 11:52 AM

                    Brought the wife here for a proper lunch today. Another very good meal. The proprietress was on her own when the place opened. She took our orders and then cooked them on her own.

                    We started off with the herbal soup, which was refreshing and about as close to health food as I'll ever get. Fresh shrimp, oyster mushrooms, pumpkin, bits of crab meat and Chinese watercress in a soothing, light broth, a combination of herbs, a dab of fish sauce and a residual heat. This dish worked for us today, but we could easily see it fitting the bill in the dead of winter as well, chipping away at what ails you. Next up was Pad Kee Mao, also quite good. These guys use a lot more lard than other places where I've had it, also a tad more sugar. The considerable heat combined nicely with the nam pla and the sweetness here to form a satisfying and tasty whole. For the finale, we ordered the Crispy Thousand Year Egg with basil sauce, which was more on the savory, salty side. The deep fried eggs were topped by a bed of spicy minced pork and crispy Thai basil leaves. To get the full effect, I made sure to top off each bite with a sprig of that basil. Three for three.

                    It was a beautiful day, so - thank goodness - she kept the A/C off. We enjoyed a nice breeze blowing through the store as we finished up with some ice coffees. For our next visit: a crispy fried whole fish - maybe a snapper or sea bass, with chili sauce. I have to admit, I'm also curious to try the "Salmon Hawaii."
                    p.

                    1. d
                      dietndesire RE: bigjeff May 9, 2010 06:16 AM

                      Was underwhelmed. What I would call average. Not the average that is available, that is pretty poor. Better than that, more like what I consider to be average. Last Thai meal was Nusara which I thought was better. Y, maybe did not get the dishes I should but had enough problems ordering with the lady. See no need to return with the other big Thai hitters around the area.

                      -----
                      Nusara Thai Kitchen
                      82-80 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: dietndesire
                        erica RE: dietndesire May 9, 2010 06:34 AM

                        I think it would be helpful if you let us know which dishes you ordered. Many thanks.

                        1. re: erica
                          d
                          dietndesire RE: erica May 9, 2010 07:03 AM

                          Honestly, I am going to get flamed for what I ordered. Not the "best" they do or the usual.
                          Also, I had what I did because it was so difficult communicating with them, I just gave up.
                          Had crab fried rice, pork pad ginger.
                          Tasted the roasted chicken, too, maybe called Thai roast chicken, not sure.
                          Go on, go on, kill me, fine. My feeling is that even if they do better than this for certain dishes, I do not see it being good enough in quality, quantity,value or really anything to go there again instead of one of the others. Again, not bad, if I had to eat there, I would and that means something since I just refuse to go to almost anywhere.

                          1. re: dietndesire
                            Polecat RE: dietndesire May 9, 2010 11:37 AM

                            "Go on, go on, kill me, fine"

                            No need. If it's on the menu, it's fair game. I disagree with you on the "average" point. The dishes I had (see above) were hardly what I would consider average - their execution and complexity was on a level with the "heavy hitters" as I've experienced them. In two trips, by the way, I have been served by two different people, and have had no problems communicating.
                            P.

                            1. re: dietndesire
                              Puppimus RE: dietndesire May 10, 2010 01:45 PM

                              How was the crab fried rice? I was planning to get that next time I went.

                              1. re: Puppimus
                                d
                                dietndesire RE: Puppimus May 12, 2010 08:28 AM

                                Nothing special though not bad. Real crab, not so much of it. I guess the price dictates that, not a huge complaint of mine.
                                Again, I see no reason to return.

                              2. re: dietndesire
                                bigjeff RE: dietndesire May 14, 2010 08:47 AM

                                this was takeout? I was gonna suggest to your earlier post that with that option, you could do a driveby pickup from all of them! I would have suggested ayada just because . . . I love ayada. and an even better hot tip with takeout; always stop by Ally's which is the thai grocery diag. across from Ayada for a box of their fried banana dessert. it is killer.

                                with TCP, ya I think they have some interesting stuff that I've not seen elsewhere, but that certainly doesn't let them off the hook for the standards which should be executed just as well. I've never had a good thai roast chicken but I did want to try the crab fried rice as well. now, if you had ordered a pad thai then maybe, maybe, I would say, well, all pad thai sucks in NY so you can't judge a place on that dish!

                                Polecat, glad you tried the thousand year old egg dish, that sounds pretty damn good. and the herbal soup was great right?

                                I will hit this place again and try some more of the unique dishes.

                                1. re: bigjeff
                                  d
                                  dietndesire RE: bigjeff May 14, 2010 09:08 AM

                                  I would have been much happier if you had posted that so I avoided this place.
                                  Maybe the herbal soup is good, I don't know, I needed something more than nothing to eat. I don't really get why people need to have multiple places in the directory when one or some are certainly inferior. This place is certainly not as good as others. One dish, two, originality? I never really buy all that.
                                  If you can survive on thousand year eggs and herbal soup, well, I cannot.
                                  Yes, all pad thai sucks, I am not so much of a fool.
                                  Sampled a cross section and only did not order a special because the lady was either a pain about adjusting it or just did not understand. Either way, I do not care to deal with that.
                                  The crab fried rice was really nothing special, not bad, it was fine, maybe good even. If you tell me you try it and find it grand, I admit, I would seriously have to reconsider your overall advice.
                                  Anyway, next time Ayada or Nusara or Sri but not this, unless you are buying to convert me, then I am in. And will give an honest retraction if they blow me away in that case.

                                  -----
                                  Nusara Thai Kitchen
                                  82-80 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

                                  Ayada
                                  77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                          2. l
                            LTSomma RE: bigjeff May 10, 2010 09:27 AM

                            We had dinner here on Saturday night after seeing this thread. My wife and I are Sri vets having gone there for the last 8 years. Sri had a huge wait so we thought we'd give it a try.

                            We had the crispy green papaya salad with seafood and we were underwhelmed. The papaya was so heavily fried that it was almost tasteless. We also had the mango/papaya w/fried fish salad which also left us wanting. The fish tasted like a frozen fish patty. The mango/papaya was good however.

                            We tried the oxtail soup which we thoroughly enjoyed. Warming and nicely spiced on a cool, windy evening. We also enjoyed the green curry duck which was well prepared and better than Sri's version we thought.

                            Over-all, we still prefer Sri, but if one chooses dishes carefully, one can have a very nice meal here. We will return to try out other dishes and we felt that it was well worth further exploration. A great and convenient alternative to Sri, especially if the line is long or its a Wednesday.

                            1. g
                              Glendale is hungry RE: bigjeff May 18, 2010 11:12 AM

                              Hello Center Point fans, detractors and perpetual contrarians!

                              I ate here the other day and thought I’d chow in with my experience. What this place reminds me of most is what Sripraphai was like about 10+ years ago—except that Center Point has actually made an effort to decorate right from the beginning.

                              Way back in the Pre-Zagat Time during the Clinton Administration, Sripraphai had amazing food (still does, in my opinion), a teeny space with utilitarian cafeteria-type tables and diddly squat on the walls.

                              Center Point has made the most of its miniscule space with some very smart use of paint and minimal décor—probably bought at IKEA. Even the specials on the chalkboard are fun in how they’re written—“8’s” in the prices made to look like butterflies or filled with beautiful spirals.

                              The young woman who waited on us was very nice and helpful. She seemed truly happy we were there and we had no difficulty communicating.

                              What we had:

                              A salad (can’t remember the name) of roasted ground rice, beef, herbs, chiles, lime juice, and red onion. C’est magnifique! The beef was tender and succulent and the roasted ground rice added a cornmeal-like texture, which was surprisingly welcome in this very spicy, very delicious mélange.

                              Duck Curry – I was a little afraid that the duck would be either too fatty or bony (which I prefer not to have to deal with in a soupy dish – I know, I’m an ugly American, oh well...). My fears were unfounded, however, as it was boneless with a good amount of meat and just enough fatty skin to make it fun. Yum!

                              Crispy Papaya Salad – I don’t know if this is Center Point mimicking Sripraphai’s crispy watercress salad but it’s wonderful! I especially enjoyed encountering the occasional stray piece of starchy raw green bean. What a marvelous interplay of textures and flavors!

                              And then there’s this…

                              The angel on one shoulder kept whispering in my ear telling me not to, but on my other shoulder was Dick Cheney yelling, “What ARE you, some kinda commie?!” And so yes, I did it. I ordered the American Fried Rice.

                              American Fried Rice consisted of a scoop of some very mellow fried rice with peas and golden raisins in it, a battered, deep-fried chicken leg, a few cucumber slices, and a hotdog. The hotdog had been cut up into three pieces and each had been sliced longitudinally on each end with an “X.” The pieces were then deep fried so that the ends splayed out resulting in what as kids we used to call a Napoleon Blownapart.

                              Essentially, American Fried Rice is a dish for fussy tots reared on KFC and McD’s.

                              I shoulda known better than to listen to a Dick.

                              In spite of that last item, I really LOVE this place! I'm definitely going back for more!

                              Ciao,

                              Glendale is hungry…

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Glendale is hungry
                                missmasala RE: Glendale is hungry May 18, 2010 01:01 PM

                                Ok, your review has pushed me over the edge. I will try this place soon. Is it open on weds when sri is closed? That would be useful.
                                I think Thais must view hotdogs as the quintessential american food (tho there are plenty to be had in Bangkok, often cut and fried as you describe)
                                I remember once years ago when we were in Bangkok for a family visit, my son was going to preschool with my (half-thai) nephew for International day. Each kid was supposed to bring a special food from their country. My SIL had gone to a special place on the outskirts of bangkok and bought bamboo tubes of delicious sticky rice with beans for my nephew. When I wondered what my son should bring, she said, "Don't worry, I've already taken care of it. I ordered hot dogs from the 7-11 around the corner!"

                                1. re: Glendale is hungry
                                  bigjeff RE: Glendale is hungry May 18, 2010 05:13 PM

                                  glad you liked it! and . . . . I will still be headed to the raw place in your hood soon!

                                2. m
                                  micheal RE: bigjeff May 29, 2010 10:45 PM

                                  Had the crispy papaya salad - delicious as reported. Nice to see mother and daughter and some older Thai folk.
                                  As noted, the comparison with the crispy watercress at SRI.
                                  But note only 2 pygmy shrimps, and 2 pygmy pieces squid - I was downright surprised!! Not happy.
                                  The watercress at SRI is a genuine filling meal even if it's listed as appertiser. And it's the same price nearly. Definitely on portion size SRI is major winner here although taste it's a draw. I suppose BYOB definitely needs to factored in as well.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: micheal
                                    c
                                    cousincole RE: micheal Jul 16, 2010 05:52 PM

                                    I would try the crispy green salad (i guess this is like sri's crispy watercress) over the crispy papaya salad.

                                    One thing I think TCP has over Sripraphai is the fact that it's smaller (I've had good food at sri but it's just not consistent). Plus I like the BYOB, the general friendliness of everyone there, and never having to wait helps too.

                                    I had the duck curry and it was okay, but I would suggest ordering the green curry with duck instead. It blew me away recently, especially the thai eggplants that looked oddly like tomatillos.

                                    I like Chao and Ayada a lot too, and I'm planning to try Nusara. Any recommendations on what to get from there?

                                    PS TCP is expanding the restaurant into the grocery space. Not sure if that will mean any big changes to the menu.

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

                                    Nusara Thai Kitchen
                                    82-80 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

                                    Ayada
                                    77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                  2. Elaine Snutteplutten RE: bigjeff Sep 6, 2010 03:23 PM

                                    Tried this place today for the first time. Super super delicious and the family ho runs the place is too cute.

                                    The crispy papaya salad was a home run -- very much reminded me of flavors enjoyed in BKK. We also had a fantastic hoy tod (mussel pancake served over crispy bean sprouts), which is a favorite first eaten at Lotus of Siam in LV -- we didn't see it on the menu but my friend asked, and they said they had it, so... yum. Green curry hit all the right notes -- kaffir lime leaves, thai eggplants, lots of lovely red thai chiles and no gloppy sweet taste (the curse of all Thai in brownstone Brooklyn). We made a small mistake in ordering our pork salad -- we meant to order larb, but messed up on the ordering and got slices of pork, dressed like larb with red onions, spicy lime sauce, and mint, but somehow not as tasty as having the pork minced. This grew on us though,especially as the mint was truly fresh and delicious.

                                    Total damage including tax and tip was $44 (4 dishes total + 2 diet pepsis) -- the kind of wonderful meal that really makes you question: a) why you regularly pay 3-4 times the price for mediocre food a bit (but not that much) closer to home and b) why you don't live in Jackson Heights or Woodside!!!

                                    I don't eat at Srip often enough to do a valid comparison of the food -- but I loved the simple unhassled atmosphere of this place and the warmth of the service. Highly recommended.

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: Elaine Snutteplutten
                                      bigjeff RE: Elaine Snutteplutten Sep 7, 2010 04:15 AM

                                      dang, I wish I had known to order that mussel pancake dish, one of my favorites from TCP's famous neighbor one block over. had a dinner for 9 last night and will report later on the dishes. when did you eat yesterday?

                                      1. re: bigjeff
                                        bigjeff RE: bigjeff Sep 7, 2010 06:00 AM

                                        okee-dokee, before I forget our meal: a surprise birthday for my sister, nine people and just one tip: if you bring the guest of honor through the grocery store entrance instead of the restaurant entrance, it really adds to the surprise. but on another note, the restaurant may actually be expanding their dining room into that grocery area, so, that's good news as well.

                                        we share a ton of the specials, many salads, and many mains and entrees and the food was enjoyed by all. total was around $150 all told, which is amazing. we had:

                                        + chicken larb
                                        + pork larb
                                        + squid salad
                                        + two orders of the crispy papaya salad
                                        + steamed fish special
                                        + thousand year egg special
                                        + salt egg with seafood special
                                        + curried soft-shell crab special
                                        + sour curry with fish
                                        + penang curry with vegetable
                                        + duck noodle soup
                                        + spaghetti with basil and seafood
                                        + might have missed a couple more

                                        overall, pleased with the meal although there were some dishes that were better than others. the salads were all great, uniformly so; I wish I had ordered a different meat salad instead of twin larbs, maybe that sliced one mentioned above, just as a change. was that the namtok salad? I saw they have that for beef as well. the steamed fish was a striped bass served with steamed veggies on the side that was good, but not particularly improved by the special sauce, which was basically a variation on all the salad dressings we got (lime, fish sauce, basil, onion, toasted rice powder, etc.). tasty, but not transcendent or "special". the thousand year egg dish was kinda crazy but good, the salt egg with seafood had a surprise kick; very "xia-fan" both of those. the sour curry was great, the penang was always a hit but I think this place undercooks the vegetables just a tad bit. I like it, but it was noticeable, especially with the hunks of kabocha served in the penang curry as well as with the fish.

                                        the crispy papaya salad was a hit, the the soft-shell crab was amazing: curry powder in the batter, and then served with eggs and veggies all stir-fried and just tangy and delicious. the spaghetti was a lot better than it is described, and also quite spicy. duck noodles I thought was a dry dish, but was actually just noodles with duck in a nice herbal soup (similar flavors to ayada's tendon soup, but not as rich). it was alright.

                                        I'm really happy to support this place: I called ahead to make the reservation knowing how small they are and they were good with it, I also ordered a bunch of dishes beforehand so they could prepare and make sure that stuff was available but we also added to the meal throughout, gauging people's appetites. we all left stuffed, but probably because we killed almost 4 big bowls of rice that was served family-style: many people couldn't handle the heat although I'm sure they toned it down for such a large group: it would be hard to please everyone I think but if you went by yourself or just a smaller group, I'm sure they'd be more liberal with the chilis. service was great, the entire family was helping out (there were two more daughters that I'd never seen; I had seen the lady gaga-humming one once, she was very nice) but overall, I love the size, scale and service. I think the food was really good, with some unique offerings I haven't seen at neighboring thai places in queens but . . . I still like Ayada better. And, I probably still like Chao Thai better as well but I think the restaurants offer different things. If this food is really the BKK-style then, I will come here for BKK-style stuff, but stick with Ayada for really pungent northern-style stuff.

                                        anyway, hope everyone indeed checks this place out; I love to stick with the underdog. the place is cash only, btw.

                                        1. re: bigjeff
                                          Elaine Snutteplutten RE: bigjeff Sep 7, 2010 08:16 AM

                                          Hi Jeff, we were there for a late lunch around 3:00 -- the only diners there at that odd hour, so we missed your group. I'll ask my friend what the pork salad was called -- and let you know. Appreciate you and others in this thread bringing this delicious and charming restaurant to my attention.

                                          1. re: bigjeff
                                            missmasala RE: bigjeff Sep 7, 2010 08:41 PM

                                            that crab curry, was it mixed with egg and scallion? that's one of my fave thai dishes (tho usually made with regular or dungeness crabs, not soft shell) but have never seen it on menus here. or maybe i just haven't known what it was.

                                            I'll have to get there to try it. Just tried ayada for the first time--was about to post my review.

                                            1. re: missmasala
                                              bigjeff RE: missmasala Sep 8, 2010 06:08 AM

                                              ayada and TCP are all great; I will read your review of ayada next. I had some really stupendous meals there when it first opened; my last meal was a big group meal that had a couple misses (raw shrimp dish was so-so) but a return visit with 3 people was slammin'.

                                              The soft-shell crab was deep-fried, with a batter that incorporated curry powder, and yes, the whole mess was then cooked or topped with egg, onions, peppers, etc. really delicious, very good. it's not like the cantonese lobster prep that also uses ginger and egg sometimes; this was pure bone-less, shell-less delight. I highly recommend ordering from their specials, some interesting stuff.

                                              1. re: bigjeff
                                                missmasala RE: bigjeff Jan 15, 2011 08:21 PM

                                                All this talk of TCP on the Sri thread made me curious, so tonight I finally made it there. We were 9 people, 5 adults and 4 kids, and we pretty much shared the small space with a table of thai (or perhaps Lao) men who were noisily watching the football game and having a great time.
                                                I loved this place. Thought the food was v good and liked the whole ambiance. we had:

                                                2 orders of pork larb--one thai spicy and one not. The spicy one was not that spicy but it was good. the not spicy one needed some spice, even the person who requested it that way agreed. Think ayada's larb nudges this one out by a hair

                                                thai sausage--this was the best i've had in nyc, tho i do like the sai oua at chao. I'm pretty sure none of these places actually make this sausage themselve, but this version was cooked perfectly, with a crispy skin and juicy stuffing. This will be a regular order here.

                                                crispy papaya salad--i liked this but wasn't bowled over by it. prefer the watercress salad at sri when it's made well

                                                regular papaya salad--best version i've had in nyc. truly excellent--great balance of sweet, sour, and fishy

                                                chicken sate (for the kids)--seemed fine. I don't eat sate in the US

                                                glass noodle salad--didn't love this one. shrimp was too raw and it needed more spice.

                                                green curry--this was good, but by the time it came out we were too full to enjoy it. fortunately curry keeps well, so will have it tomorrow

                                                fried shrimp with herbs and sauce--this was good, but a little chewy. I loved the flavors of the fried lime leaf and lemongrass etc, but not sure i would get it again.

                                                drunken noodles--made with egg, strangely. not spicy enough. prefer the ones at sri, when they are made well.

                                                finally, we had two things that are always on my family's table when we eat out in thailand but that i don't see that much here and rarely order: crab fried rice and thai omelet. Both were excellent. We always get them in thailand because they are great dishes for those who can't eat spicy food (like my dad) but also because they balance the spicy dishes nicely. Both are simple but really round out a meal.

                                                I could happily go back and make a great meal out of the sausage, the larb, the papaya salad, the crab fried rice, and the omelet.

                                                And I will go back. I'm looking forward to exploring the menu further.

                                                1. re: missmasala
                                                  w
                                                  wew RE: missmasala Jan 16, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                  "thai sausage... I'm pretty sure none of these places actually make this sausage themselve..."
                                                  There seems to be different guesses on this. Is there anything beyond the ease of buying a made sausage vs the work of making them inhouse that directs your thoughts. Thai sausages have become a, " that's my weakness now" habit.chowhound.chow.com/topics/756983

                                                  1. re: wew
                                                    missmasala RE: wew Jan 16, 2011 08:43 PM

                                                    I think the sai oua (the wide, loose sausage with the chiffonaded lime leaves in it) they serve at chai thai must be made in-house, because i've never been able to buy that at any thai grocery here. But the sausage we ordered at centerpoint i'm pretty sure is the one they have frozen in their grocery dept and i guess i just assume that the other places also buy it frozen and cook it. Perhaps they don't. Worth asking, I guess.

                                                  2. re: missmasala
                                                    driggs RE: missmasala Jan 17, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                    I finally made it here myself; I have given up on Sri and moved to Ayada.

                                                    As someone else mentioned on this thread, it reminded my of Sri about ten years ago, with more ambiance.

                                                    Compared to Ayada its a push. Nice to have both available.

                                                    Thanks to everyone for pushing this place.

                                                    -----
                                                    Ayada
                                                    77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                                                    1. re: driggs
                                                      a
                                                      AubWah RE: driggs Mar 31, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                      anyone been here recently? favorite dishes?

                                                      1. re: AubWah
                                                        m
                                                        megc RE: AubWah Mar 31, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                        I was in a couple weeks ago. I love, love, love the pork larb! It's so flavorful and has all the elements I love in larb, amplified. I also really enjoyed the tamarind fried rice with the sweet pork and salty egg. Sour curry with duck was super delicious. The appetizers seem fairly pedestrian to me, though.

                                                        1. re: AubWah
                                                          j
                                                          jdf RE: AubWah Apr 8, 2012 04:18 AM

                                                          I went on Friday based on the generally positive reviews here and a desire to branch out from Sriphaphai. Overall, we were fairly disappointed. Everything was ordered medium thai spicy, but nothing came particularly spicy or even containing an interesting depth of elements. The pork larb was the best of the bunch. The green curry with duck was a lesser version of Sriphaphai's with little curry flavor and much more of a creamy, one-note flavor. The pad kee mao was bland with a discernible lack of chilis and the noodles lacking any char, which I like. I did like that the beef was actually chunks, not ground, and tender. Finally the pork pad kra pow was fine, but nothing special.

                                                          Overall, I'm glad I tried branching out and still need to try Chao/Ayada, but if its a 2 block radius, I'm sticking with Sri. I am curious, though, as to other recent comments since this is a fairly older thread as I may have hit it on an off-night or chosen items that are not their best.

                                                          1. re: jdf
                                                            a
                                                            AubWah RE: jdf Apr 12, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                            sounds like the pork larb is worth a shot

                                                      2. re: missmasala
                                                        p
                                                        Pookipichu RE: missmasala Apr 13, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                        Re: Missmasala

                                                        Have you tried the crab fried rice at BKNY? Really good, but their stunner is the whole steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf and stuffed with herbs.

                                                        1. re: Pookipichu
                                                          a
                                                          AubWah RE: Pookipichu Apr 13, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                          What is bkny?

                                                          1. re: AubWah
                                                            Polecat RE: AubWah Apr 13, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                            Frances Lewis Boulevard, Flushing. (Fresh Meadows)
                                                            P

                                                            1. re: AubWah
                                                              p
                                                              Pookipichu RE: AubWah Apr 13, 2012 11:19 AM

                                                              It's a Thai restaurant that's not near a subway so it never gets discussed. It has a few dishes that are truly phenomenal and equals or surpasses what I've had at Sri, Ayada, Zabb, etc. Their banana leaf wrapped fish is their signature dish.

                                              Show Hidden Posts