The upgraded chow choices at Rockaway Beach are a huge summer hit, but somewhat lost in the early buzz about arepas and frozen bananas was the charmingly named Thai eatery Ode to the Elephants. Seasoned Thai hand mary shaposhnik says it deserves some buzz of its own. Its yum neua (beef salad) is shockingly good, the best she’s had in years in this country. “Everything about it was just right—the right sear on the meat, the right heat for the flavors, very well balanced and extremely, extremely good.” Also recommended, if they turn up on the daily-changing menu: deeply flavorful moo ping (grilled pork) and mango with sticky rice. “Someone in the kitchen clearly knows Thai food very, very well,” mary concludes.

As we mentioned, there’s plenty more to eat at this endless summer smorgasbord. Anyone who’s not overly concerned about maintaining bathing-suit trim can nosh on Latin snacks at Caracas Rockaway (from the owners of the Caracas Arepa Bars in Williamsburg and the East Village); grilled corn and chips with guacamole at Rockaway Taco (from the owner of the nearby stand); fried fish and frozen bananas at Motorboat & the Big Banana (from an owner of Vinegar Hill House); vegan sweets at BabyCakes (a seaside outpost of the Manhattan bakery); and hamburgers and hot dogs at Rippers (a collaboration of Roberta’s and The Meat Hook). Even Ode to the Elephants has gotten into the beach-bites spirit, offering its own burgers and dogs—Thai style, naturally, with fixings like papaya, lime, chile, and pickled mango sauce.

Ode to the Elephants [Rockaway Beach]
Shore Front Parkway at Beach 96th Street, Rockaway Beach, Queens

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