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Sripraphai Revisited -- Downhill?

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Sripraphai Revisited -- Downhill?

Simon | Nov 30, 2008 08:02 PM

Since returning to NY after a year in Asia (including 6 months in Thailand), i hadn't been back to Sripraphai til last week...

While the meal was better than anything Thai in Manhattan, it contained some pretty deep disappointments...but i'll preface this by saying that Thai food is by far the cuisine i am most picky and exacting about...

-- somtam Thai...on the positive side, it was made w/o sugar (per my request)...but on the negative: a) it had only two (2!) of the tiny dried shrimps...literally two...b) most of the chilis were not chopped, but left whole...i asked the waitress about this and she said they don't chop the chilis because it's too spicy that way for most people and this way it's easier for them to avoid eating the chilis...huh??...then what was that whole convo we'd just had in Thai about how i wanted the somdam very very spicy, Thai-style, etc???...was tempted to send it back, but instead i just hacked up the chilis myself w/ fork and spoon...

-- tom yum kha moo...sour-spicy soup w/ stewed pork leg...i love pork cooked that way and hadn't had it in a while, but the soup was too sweet and not very spicy...

-- Southern-style curry...normally their hottest dish, but was mild despite the long convo in Thai about how everything should be real spice levels, etc...tasty, but too mild...

-- laab plaa duk...broiled catfish salad...one of my fav things on their menu and something which few restaurants do well, even in Thailand...decent, but too much rice flour and not enough fish meat...

-- shrimp w/ carmelized garlic...delicious...fresh...the only dish that was truly top-notch...

Overall, an enjoyable enough meal since i'd been miserable the last couple months masochistically eating Manhattan Thai food...but the faults were glaring...

but the real bummer was afterward: i got an order of supnormai (bamboo salad) and an order chicken w/ cashews to go, since i don't go to Queens very often and figured i'd be craving chilis the next day...the supnormai was fine...the chicken w/ cashews was so awful that i'm embarassed for the restaurant...when i ordered it, i'd asked for it to be made w/ red chili paste...the (very nice) waitress told me that the chef can't do that: that he could either make a chicken w/ basil and red chili paste, or a chicken w/ cashews and add some dried chilis...i found this odd, since chicken&cashews stir-fried up w/ a mess of red chili paste is a pretty standard and easy dish to make, one which i've eaten all over Thailand (and NY and LA, etc)...but i told her to make it anyway they wanted, as long as there were cashews and high spice levels involved...big mistake: what i found when i tried it later was something along the lines of an overcooked General Tso's Chicken...it did have some dried chilis in it, but was sickeningly sweet and tough and heavily breaded: it tasted like Crackerjacks that had been thrown in the fryer at a Chinese-American takeout shop...so bad that i threw most of it away...if i'd ordered that on my very first visit to Sripraphai, i would have never returned...

Could be that the normal chef was off that day (it was Thanksgiving) but i've decided to start hunting for other places in the neighborhood...

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