Author Topic: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom  (Read 20105 times)

Offline toddg

  • Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 3883
  • Lived here since: 2002
Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« on: December 01, 2014, 10:38:17 PM »
Chopsticks and Marrow features a new Thai restaurant in Elmhurst called Plant Love House.   It sounds great.  Di Stefano writes that "Woodside and Elmhurst have blossomed into a Little Bangkok," and I think he's absolutely right.  At this point, I'm feeling overwhelmed by the number of new Thai places I haven't been able to try yet.  As the first step in my therapy, I thought I'd try to make a list:

Arunee Thai, 78-23 37th Avenue., Jackson Heights (Yelp)
Ayada Thai,77-08 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst (Yelp)
Black Thai, 81-16 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights (Yelp)
Boon Chu Thai Place, 83-18 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Chao Thai, 85-03 Whitney Ave., Elmhurst (Yelp)
Coco South East Asian Cuisine, 82-69 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Dee Thai, 46-17 Queens Blvd. Sunnyside (Yelp)
Eim Khao Mun Kai, 81-32 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
I Am Thai, 49-08 43rd Ave., Woodside (Yelp)
Khao Kang, 76-20 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst (Yelp)
Kitchen 79, 37-70 79th St., Jackson Heights (Yelp)
Nusara Thai Kitchen, 82-80 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Paet Rio, 81-10 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Plant Love House, 86-08 Whitney Ave., Elmhurst (Yelp)
Playground Authentic Thai Cuisine, 71-30 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights (Yelp)
Ploy Thai, 81-40 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Sabay Thai Restaurant, 75-19 Broadway, Elmhurst (Yelp)
Sila Thai, 57-17 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside (Yelp)
Spicy Shallot, 77-01 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst (Yelp)
Sripraphai, 64-13 39th Ave., Woodside (Yelp)
Suki Thai Shabu, 60-15 Woodside Ave., Woodside (Yelp)
Sweet Basil, 39-28 61st St., Woodside (Yelp)
Zabb Elee, 71-28 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside (Yelp)

That list seems to dwarf our famous neighborhood's "Little India" offerings.  Did I miss any?

Which are your favorites?   And who's going to try them all first?

Offline Shelby2

  • Global Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *****
  • Posts: 4945
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 11:38:15 PM »
I've only been to four of them.  I can see I have my work cut out for me.  Thanks for the list!

Offline Superclam

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 607
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 07:22:07 AM »
I've also only tried 4, and ranked in order that I liked:
Sripraphai
Arunee
Kitchen 79
Black Thai

The last 2 will deliver to me, so I get from Kitchen 79 the most. It's serviceable, but Sripraphai is the one that really stands out.

Offline lalochezia

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 634
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 08:26:31 AM »
*Drools uncontrollably*

Offline Jeffsayyes

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 1815
    • Jeffrey Tastes
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 09:06:41 AM »
wowww, that is crazy. I think Elmhurst is the core, with the ones in sunnyside and woodside also-rans. but...


You can add some that aren't proper restaurants:
ThaiThai Grocery (next to that bar, read ahead)
Thai Grocery
Thai liqour store next to ayada (though the thai selection is very limited)
That bar across the street from khao kang
that coffee shop across the street from that bar


Restaurants:
Thailand Center Point (sentimental favorite)

Every one I've been to knocks even the highest regarded manhattan places out of the water. The 4 or so times I've had thai in Manhattan, I just thought it was the most ridiculous thing. Like I was cheating on Kathy Ireland with Kathy Bates.


Offline Lilybell

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 1211
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 02:30:30 PM »
Jeff, don't you mess with Kathy Bates!

My favorite out of this great list is Ayada, hands down. 

Offline cultartist

  • Activist
  • *****
  • Posts: 138
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 04:10:08 PM »
I hate to have to choose between Ayada and Zabb Elee (though I make that choice at least once a week and choose differently each time).  Both are amazing and--I agree with Jeff and his Kathy conundrum--better than anything I've had in Manhattan.  Oh, and that Thai bar--it's called Pata Paplean--is fantastic.  Stunning and freaky decor, potent exotic drinks, nice staff and actually pretty good food. 

Offline daisy

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 314
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 11:28:33 PM »
I would also dare say that the Thai food gets better once you cross into Elmhurst.  Not sure why, but the food is spicier, much more flavorful, and tastes more authentic than what's on Northern or 37th.  Thanks so much for putting up this list!  I'll have to check them all off!

Offline puri

  • Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 55
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 01:51:34 AM »
I have tried almost all on the list but some in Sunnyside and Woodside. I think you also miss Chao Thai Too which specializes in Thai sukiyaki.

I agree that this area serves the best Thai food in the whole NYC area and probably second in the country only to Thai town in Los Angeles (where good Thai restaurants are more spread out) and second in some specialties, say Khao Man Kai to Portland. My personal favorites are Zabb Elee, Khao Kang, and Ploy Thai (not sure about the new renovation though). My Thai friends go to Playground and Sabay a lot for karaoke after (restaurant) work and their drinking food is not bad. Many think food at Ayada is sweet but it's kind of similar to food in Central Thailand.

Personally I like this development, especially if new places focus on different things like Tea Cup Cafe (that corner cafe on Woodside Ave), Khao Kang, or a few new chicken and rice joints. However, I feel strange that many Thai restaurants inside and outside of this area are actually managed by the same team like Zabb and Spice (very bad in my view). And some seem to have strong connections like Spice and Khao Kang or Zabb and Larb Ubol.

Offline toddg

  • Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 3883
  • Lived here since: 2002
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 07:33:28 AM »
Thanks Puri, that was very interesting and helpful.   I think the increasing diversity among Thai establishments is a great development... I'd love to hear any further insights you may have about which places correspond to particular regions and/or styles back in Thailand.

It also seems worth noting that the trend hasn't been limited to Thai cuisine.   There are a fair number of great Malaysian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese places in the mix as well.  I'm not sure whether there is genuinely a broadly diverse Southeast Asian community emerging here, or if we're drawing immigrants primarily from one place, but they are branching out in their development of restaurants.

Offline dssjh

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 4438
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 12:05:43 PM »
likewise been to about a dozen or so, and found some really, really great ones and only one or two duds. CoCo doesn't seem a fit to me (self-described Southeast Asian, it seems more Malaysian to me). we're very lucky to have this bounty -- and i have friends who come from all over the city to eat at quite a few.

Offline Jeffsayyes

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 1815
    • Jeffrey Tastes
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2014, 08:08:53 PM »
Puri, are you saying it is bad when the owners have a second location, when one location is not personally supervised by them? 


Offline puri

  • Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 55
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2014, 09:28:29 AM »
Puri, are you saying it is bad when the owners have a second location, when one location is not personally supervised by them?

To me, it is just very surprising that a good Thai place and a (very) bad one like Zabb Elee and Spice can have the same management. It's like they intentionally dumb the food down in Manhattan, not because they don't have expertise or cannot find ingredients. Maybe I was a bit naive.

Offline daisy

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 314
Re: Little Bangkok / Local Thai Boom
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2015, 09:29:08 PM »
Just tried Nusara Thai Kitchen and it was delicious!  It's tucked away in a plaza on Broadway.  Very good food, nice amount of spice, and friendly staff.  Prices are decent too.  Highly recommend it.  I'm trying to make my way through all of the restaurants listed this year.  It's my favorite cuisine!

Offline wallaby

  • Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 67
some publicity for the Elmhurst Thai scene
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2015, 12:46:43 PM »
just saw this today; lots of restaurants frequently discussed on this board:
http://www.grubstreet.com/2015/07/9-thai-restaurants-elmhurst.html

Jackson Heights Life

some publicity for the Elmhurst Thai scene
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2015, 12:46:43 PM »