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Woodside/Elmhurst Thai


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#1 Lex

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:02 PM

We’ve been trying to broaden our Thai horizons.  Last year we finally got around to eating at Chao Thai 2 and loved it.  Then, about a month later, the chef returned to Thailand and the restaurant closed.  That was a big loss.

 

In the intervening year we’ve reloaded and now have 3 new Thai restaurants on our radar.  They’re all in Queens because, well, that’s where most of the good Thai places are.

 

This time around we visited Spicy Shallot on a rainy Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  It’s in a familiar location – right across the street from Ayada.  Here’s the view from our table.

 

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It almost felt like cheating to forsake an old favorite and start a fling with someone new.  But sometimes you have to make hard choices.

 

Going to Spicy Shallot was a bit of a roll of the dice.  It bills itself as both a Thai and Japanese restaurant.  Normally this would make the place radioactive to me.  As a rule restaurants that claim to do two things do neither of them well.  Of course there are rare exceptions.  Legend in Manhattan is one of them.  Spicy Shallot is another.

 

Décor is a small step down from Ayada and perhaps another small step above Sripraphai.  (We were sitting by the window near the cash register to get away from the considerable draft created by a large group that held the door open for almost 15 minutes.  The main dining area is more attractive than our location.)

 

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On the positive side natural light makes for good food pictures.

 

We ordered 4 dishes and wished we could have managed to order more.

 

Sweet Pork jerky

 

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The name is a bit misleading.  “Jerky” implies dry – these pieces were quite juicy and just a bit sweet.  There was also a touch of sourness and an undercurrent of chili heat.  The accompanying chili dipping sauce added as much heat as you could want.  The pork was slightly crispy and the portion was beyond generous.  It could have fed two people.  This dish was a winner.

 

Spicy pork larb

 

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This was a nice version with real heat.  Pouring a bit of the vinegar dressing at bottom of bowl over the top gave it even more of a kick. It was very well made and hotter than most versions.  Very good indeed.

 

Spicy Nam Tok Beef Salad - fresh chili, grounded roasted rice, shallot and mint

 

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This is one of those “good … but” dishes.  Like similar Thai salads this one is served at room temperature.  The beef was well cooked but juicy and it packed a medium level of spicy heat which built over time. The rice powder on the beef added crispness and the basil, onion, and lettuce provided a nice counterpoint.  In terms of preparation and spicing this dish was perfect.

 

The issue here, and I’ve found it at a number of other Thai restaurants, is that rising beef prices have led them to use cheaper, tougher cuts of meat.  The results are uneven.  Some pieces are perfect but others are unpleasantly chewy.  I wish they’d either raise their prices and buy better beef or take these dishes off the menu.

 

Pad Se-ew noodle w chicken  - stir fried flat rice noodle Asian broccoli, egg soy sauce.

 

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The chicken had a pleasant grilled flavor with a bit of caramel and the noodles fulfilled their role as a sauce delivery vehicle  This dish is a first cousin of other Thai noodle dishes like pad key mao or drunken noodles.  I like both of them but they can be a bit heavy.  The flavors here were a touch cleaner and lighter.  Another winner.

 

The menu at Spicy Shallot has plenty of appealing choices on it.  We’re going to put this place in the rotation and look forward to trying them.

 

Extra points.

 

Spicy Shallot serves Sapporo beer which is terrific with Thai food.  I love its astringent dryness and find that Thai beers are a bit too sweet for my taste.

 

If you’re driving, metered street parking is $2.00 for two hours and there’s plenty of it.  You can be a sport and spring for the meter.

 

At a lot of Thai restaurants they serve the entire meal as quickly as the kitchen can turn the dishes out.  That can be a little annoying at best and at worst can result in a seriously overcrowded table.  When we were there our 4th dish didn’t come out for about 20 minutes after the first 3.  When I finally asked about it the server said he’d noticed the table was full and was waiting until some of the other dishes were finished so there’d be room for the last dish.  The kitchen cooked our Pad Se-ew noodles in about 4 minutes and it was served fresh from the wok.  Wouldn’t it be nice if this type of thing catches on.

 

Spicy Shallot is on the same block as the Woodside Dreamhouse.  I never get tired of saying that name.

 

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Spicy Shallot

77-01 Woodside Ave.

Elmhurst, Queens

 

 


"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#2 joethefoodie

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:33 PM

I've been wondering about this place on our last couple of visits to Ayada.  Isn't there also another Thai place on the same side of the street as Ayada, but on the next corner?

 

Thanks for the report, though I don't know if I can go somewhere else than Ayada, since there are a few dishes they just knock out of the park.



#3 AaronS

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:39 PM

khao kang, which is a block closer to the train, can be very good and is well suited to solo dining.

#4 Lex

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:42 PM

"... though I don't know if I can go somewhere else than Ayada, since there are a few dishes they just knock out of the park."

 

I know what you mean.  I feel the same way.  We've learned to work around this by visiting Queens more often.  That way you can hit new restaurants while still visiting the old standbys.

 

We've changed our routine for these visits.  Normally we have drinks and then dinner.  For Queens Thai we have a big late lunch and then have drinks at different bars we like.  Normally we're a little hungry later in the evening and we either have the leftovers from the afternoon or eat a light meal elsewhere.  (We're not like LiquidNY who has the appetite of 4 normal people.  I envy him.)

 

Yes, there's another well regarded Thai place on the corner.  It's a steam table restaurant and the dishes are unlabeled and the staff speaks minimal English.  If they start labeling the food I'd give it a shot.


"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#5 AaronS

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:46 PM

their english is fine. if they say something is spicy it really is.

I only eat there because I'm usually alone and you get three things, which doesn't really work at ayada. I'd pick ayada every time as a party of two.

#6 Lex

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:52 PM

their english is fine. if they say something is spicy it really is.

I only eat there because I'm usually alone and you get three things, which doesn't really work at ayada. I'd pick ayada every time as a party of two.

 
I guess I was going by the description in the NY Times -
 

If you ask, the patient people at Khao Kang will identify the dozen unlabeled dishes on the steam table for you, but this will not necessarily help. Their one-word descriptions (“shrimp,” “chicken” and, repeatedly, “pork”) tell nothing of the layers of flavor, surprises and comforts to be found here, in one of the sincerest Thai restaurants in New York City.

 

 

I believe I've read similar descriptions on Chowhound.

 

I guess things have changed.


"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#7 AaronS

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:56 PM

the times has always had that wrong in my experience. I went because of that review, maybe it changed a while ago.

#8 splinky

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 05:58 PM

They definitely speak English there, problem was having a hard time with questions about specific ingredients in dishes I wasn't familiar with. Not their fault that I'm a hothouse flower, of course

“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no!', I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.”
~Jack Handey

*proud descendant of cheese eating surrender monkeys*

 


#9 Lex

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 06:02 PM

Maybe we'll drop by and give it a shot.  If we don't like what we see we can always hit Ayada or Shallot.

 

I'm sure it's a good place but I really prefer to know what I'm ordering.  I find I have more success that way.  For example I avoid the crispy pork at Sri because to me it seems like I'm chewing on small pieces of bone.  Deb, OTOH, loves it.


"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#10 johannabanana

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 03:16 PM

We went back to Khao Kang on Saturday for a quick lunch and it was fantastic. Plenty of milder-spiced dishes, as well as the very spicy ones, friendly service. We preferred the meat to the fish dishes, with the exception of the very good fried fish dish they've had each time we've been.



#11 joethefoodie

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 07:46 PM

We’ve been trying to broaden our Thai horizons.  Last year we finally got around to eating at Chao Thai 2 and loved it.  Then, about a month later, the chef returned to Thailand and the restaurant closed.  That was a big loss.

 

In the intervening year we’ve reloaded and now have 3 new Thai restaurants on our radar.  They’re all in Queens because, well, that’s where most of the good Thai places are.

 

This time around we visited Spicy Shallot on a rainy Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  It’s in a familiar location – right across the street from Ayada.  Here’s the view from our table.

 

26436564192_43087219d2_z.jpg

 

 

 

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#12 joethefoodie

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 07:52 PM

We cheated on Ayada today, and lunched at Khao Kang.

 

Everything johanna says+ even the fish dishes were spot on - we were early and the stuff hadn't suffered any steam table blues yet.

 

I was told I wouldn't like the seafood/bamboo shoot curry due to heat level; thought it was great.

 

Bare in mind, this is not a "restaurant" like Ayada is a restaurant, with table service, etc.

 

But at $8.50 for 3 + rice, a damn good deal.

 

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#13 Lex

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 09:50 PM

Funny. This afternoon we drove right past Khao Kang on our way to try Nussara Thai over on Broadway.
"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#14 joethefoodie

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 03:16 PM

Funny. This afternoon we drove right past Khao Kang on our way to try Nussara Thai over on Broadway.

And where does it fit in the pantheon of Woodside Thai?



#15 Lex

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 03:23 PM

Worth a second visit.  Out of 4 dishes one was truly outstanding, the rest were pretty good.  I'll write the place up.

 

We've been trying new places lately hoping to find a real gem.  Unfortunately the one place that really stood out, Chao Thai 2, closed about a month after our visit when the chef returned to Thailand.


"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China