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Ayada Thai Woodside


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#1 Eatmywords

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:14 PM

It’s hard to point out anything specifically negative about Sripraphai. Until you’ve had a meal at Ayada. The differences are minimal but they exist. The flavors at Ayada this past Sunday jumped off the plate in a way they haven’t (for me) at Sripraphai (the only place wortrhy of comparison) in a long time.

Attention to detail, concise menu, ingredient qlty, different citrus/vinegar/fish sauce profiles, herbs and execution? -I’m having a hard time putting my finger on it, what with all the components in every dish.

A feeling of less restrain, obligations to cater to ever increasing western palettes? Don’t know. We were accompanied by a few other MF’rs and sig others. Total of six though one of us had only soup.

This seems like a lot of food, and it was, but little (very little) was left on the table:

(Maybe missing a couple):

Raw shrimp - excellent quality, balance of garlic, green chili, lime, soft, melting in the mouth. Highly rec

Larb Salad – Lime juice, mint, chili, basil ground pork. Traditional, good, not exceptional.

Catfish Salad – a familiar rendition and combo of ingredients, citrus, abundant flaky catfish and big flavors. Very good.

Fried Watercress salad with chicken, shrimp, squid spicy lime dressing – flash fried watercress lightly battered in a rice flour. Perfect crunch, enormous and delicious.

Northern Thai Sausage – crispy skin but not fried. Like a rustic version, chunky forcemeat and fat. Wonderful flavors. Somehow better than all the others I’ve tried. A must.

Bbq pork with jeaw sc – tender strips, nice char, thick peanut jaew sauce with much ch complexity. Sauce would be good on anything

Pork leg over rice with boiled egg and mustard green – the most tender piece of meat braised with some kind of 5 spice concoction. The best rendition I’ve had with it being over the rice to soak in the sauce with the greens.

Massaman Duck – beautiful coconut base the color of polished copper. Rich, sweet and savory, cinnamon, plenty of moist duck coming off the bone and little inedible fat

Drunken Noodles with pork larb, chili and basil. Just fine, nothing revelatory. Chopped tomatoes offset the richness of the dish well.

Black egg with basil and ground pork. You would think from looking at it that it would have a strong preserved/salty quality but it’s just the opposite. The egg (hardboiled) is very delicate yet textured with a panko like flour and fried on its outer skin before adding to the pork and basil. This is a must order.

Sticky rice in coconut milk with mango – very nicely ripened mango, rice, not too sweet, played well together

Deep fried Tarot sticks. Crispy, lightly sweetened batter. Nothing great (comped)

Service was quick, efficient and very friendly. Dishes were paced nicely with one or two apps at a time followed by entrees in two batches. Not the haphazard bombarding of plates that is often par.

The space is small but warm with dark woods, mint walls, some offerings and old family pictures. Seats aprx 40. Make a res for sizable groups.

Best Thai I’ve had in NY. Go.

Ayada Thai
77-08 Woodside Ave
Elmhurst, NY 11373
718-424-0844
http://ayadathaiwoodside.com

#2 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:24 PM

My friend who haunts the ethnic places in that part of the world agrees with you ranking it above Sri. I drove by it last week on my way to taste good. Really upset we didn't go now.

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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:41 PM

I have nothing to add to what eatmywords said. I never expected to think this place was better than Sri. What a pleasant surprise.

OK, one thing to add. Both the ingredient and cooking quality of the proteins make this place stand out among inexpensive ethnic restaurants. Take the duck in that massaman curry. It was meaty, of decent quality -- and cooked perfectly. Who'd expect that in a storefront Thai curry?

Let me reemphasize one of eatmywords's points: DO NOT fail to order the black egg.
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#4 Jesikka

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:53 PM

As the person who selected most of the dishes based on having previously tried them (the black egg being an exception and a fantastic new dish to order), I would add that those dishes are only some of a much longer list of truly great dishes at Ayada. They also do an exceptional job with fried fish (the NY Times picked up on the fried fish with basil sauce I believe and in general Ayada does a fantastic job with frying things). I would like to hear more from someone who has experimented with the noodle category more as I've ordered the good but not outstanding drunken noodles several times. There are also often really interesting specials which are very much worth ordering.

A shorter menu than Sri by about 50% and better for being pared down. I ate at Ayada twice this weekend and both times the food was exceptional.

#5 Stone

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:56 PM

Don't you think the food at Sri becomes less spectacular once the novelty of going to an unknown little dive in way-the-fuck-out-there land wears off?

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#6 Jesikka

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:01 PM

Don't you think the food at Sri becomes less spectacular once the novelty of going to an unknown little dive in way-the-fuck-out-there land wears off?


No. Especially given that Ayada is like 10 blocks away.

#7 Stone

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:04 PM

Well, that's my point.

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#8 Jesikka

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:13 PM

Well, that's my point.


I don't understand your point. You think I can't taste the food as clearly at Sri versus Ayada because I've been to Sri too many times?

#9 Stone

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:15 PM

No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.

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#10 oakapple

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:19 PM

No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.

That's very chowhoundish of you.
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#11 Lex

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:20 PM

No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.

I agree.

That doesn't mean that Ayada isn't good, it's just that Sri isn't new any more.
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#12 g.johnson

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:21 PM

Carved carrots?
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#13 Orik

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:25 PM

No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.


Two changes at Sri that have happened over the past year have been a dramatic reduction in portion size coupled by increasing reluctance to serve properly spiced food to white people. These have nothing to do with novelty value and prior to them it was pretty much stable, and pretty great for as many years as we've been going (six?). I reject your suggestion.
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#14 Daisy

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:32 PM


No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.


Two changes at Sri that have happened over the past year have been a dramatic reduction in portion size coupled by increasing reluctance to serve properly spiced food to white people. These have nothing to do with novelty value and prior to them it was pretty much stable, and pretty great for as many years as we've been going (six?). I reject your suggestion.

I agree with Orik. I took a couple of friends visiting from Edinburgh there recently (at their request, also at their request we went to Izakaya Ten and Ushiwakamaru) and one of them who had last been there a couple of years ago remarked to me on the dimunition of both portion size and spiciness. And yeah, even though we asked they were rather mulishly unwilling to give two blonds and a ginger the level of spicness we had requested. :rolleyes:
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#15 Jesikka

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:33 PM


No, I'm suggesting that Sri was so great because it was novel, a dump, and in Queens, and now that it's no longer novel or a dump, it doesn't taste as good. So we move on to the next one.


Two changes at Sri that have happened over the past year have been a dramatic reduction in portion size coupled by increasing reluctance to serve properly spiced food to white people. These have nothing to do with novelty value and prior to them it was pretty much stable, and pretty great for as many years as we've been going (six?). I reject your suggestion.


What Orik said. I completely disagree with you, Stone. Sri hasn't been novel for a very very long time and it is still clearly the only other Thai place of interest to me. I didn't ever think that Rhong Tiam was better than Sri and it was novel and far more convenient to me. Maybe you should taste the food at Ayada and then provide thoughts on how it compares.